Google Sheets Auto-Import

#1

Rather than manually copy/paste data from spreadsheets, could you link a Coda sheet with Google Sheets, with the ability to update the data each time the Coda file is loaded?

More generally, are you considering other ways to import data from the Internet - similar for example to the ImportHTML and ImportXML functions currently in Google Sheets?

Coda seems to be a decade ahead of its time in terms of working with data in the document, but it is far bahind in terms of being able to import Internet-accessible data. Why?

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#2

Hey there. You can use Zapier for importing exporting data (I’m personally waiting for IFTTT integration) or Embed a Google document within Coda canvas (which works very well!).

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#3

Thank you for the suggestions

Yes the Embed works well - but it is basically an iFrame; the data is not part of the document to manipulate for other views etc.

Zapier does work, but how do you trigger it to pull data whenever the Coda doc is reloaded? It seems more applicable to push data from Sheets to Coda than the other way around. That aside, Zapier is a paid and metered service; is that realistic if the document is shared to many people and auto-loads the data each time?

Coda is a terrific concept. I’m just really struggling with the concept of why there are such limitations or compromises in importing data from the Internet when using a cloud-based state-of-the-art application. I mean this with the utmost admiration for what has been accomplished so far and I really am rooting for this to succeed. But i think unless there is a strong emphasis on importing all sorts of data from the web very easily, the project will fail.

Put another way, All of Microsoft’s and Google’s products already have substantial web integration. Google Sheets has Formulas which import from the web, not to mention extremely robust scripting capability and Add-ons capability for Sheets and Docs. Microsoft products have full Javascript integration via Script Lab. Are users really going to choose coda.io over those if the recommended Import method is manual Copy/Paste?

#4

I think accessibility and connectivity is the theme of some upcoming features, though a team member can confirm or deny (or Glomar, I suppose). The limitations are due to time and resources so far, I think. Also, to your later point, Google’s “extremely robust scripting” is essentially Javascript as well, and they/Microsoft have quite the headstart.

Overall though, the focus has been on in-app uses. We’re also waiting for data import (from SQL for us), but for now copy and paste daily. Zapier is your best bet for now if you don’t want to copy and paste. Use Google’s import functions (which do not perform well with large datasets, I will warn you—Zapier recognizes all data to be new if it takes long enough to update) and then trigger Zapier on changes. You will get about a 15-minute lag in updates, which is not bad at all.

Hope that helps—I’ll let you know if I think of a trickier way to auto-update on load. (Maybe a Zap triggered by Coda and then looking up Sheets…?)

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#6

Interesting ideas - thanks. But your answer essentially confirms the problem. Everything else is so elegantly done in Coda - why make this a hack?

The UI part is obvious and simple: An =IMPORT formula which accepts a Google spreadsheet as a parameter as well as a parameter for the frequency with which to update the Import process

#7

What would you expect to do from there? If you want the data to be mutable in Coda and stable in Sheets, you’ve described copying and pasting. Otherwise you are looking to sync a spreadsheet to a Coda document, which I’m not sure makes sense.

I’m not sure I see the use case for displaying a sheets spreadsheet in Coda.

#8

My suggestion would be that data displayed via =IMPORT be read-only. If you want it to be mutable, coy/paste it from there to another table. But have the fundamental data source be read-only and auto-updated.

I think there are tremendous applications - such as an RSS feed, a movie database, recently published books list, NY TImes bestseller list, recent academic publications on a given topic, and so many more. The Coda document could be set up to have these data sources auto-updated regularly and also to have a comment/commentary/curation section which is editable.