Use Google Sheets as a database to build apps

Gayatri on August 19, 2021

Owing to their easy storage and tabular data manipulation, spreadsheet apps like Google Sheets are pretty common in the business world. Though these apps are not designed to work as databases, Google Sheets are the go-to solution to a lot of businesses for quick and simple data storage where standard DBMS prove to be complex. 

Why use Google Sheets as Database for App Building

Google Sheets is where most internal tools start. It just makes sense. A lot of small and medium businesses use it as their CRMs, HRMS, and Inventory management.

It is among the most popular data storage solutions and for good reason – forever free and unlimited storage, cloud-based, and a short learning curve.

Where it does fall short is when it comes to access controls, business rules and validations, querying the data for advanced insights and data visualizations, and user role-specific CRUD operation rights. 

DronaHQ gives the fastest solution to build custom internal tools on top of Google Sheets.  DronaHQ has built a native integration to drastically reduce the amount of time and effort it takes to configure APIs and start building tools on top of Google Sheets.

Let’s say you keep a log of all your customers and their purchases. When a customer makes a purchase, you can add a new record to the database right from the app. If a customer requests a refund, you can send a personalized email by simply pressing a button. 

If you are using Google Sheets as your database, then keep reading. We’ll show how to use Google Sheets as your database to build powerful front ends and apps from Google Sheets. You’ll be able to build internal tools on top of any Google Sheet in just a few minutes.

Tutorial: Building a sales canvassing app to contact leads stored in a google sheet

Building apps with google sheets as a database is a two part process. First, you configure the Google Sheets API connector in DronaHQ. Second, you proceed to design the frontend of your app. (You can also design the frontend first and then bind the API). 

Let’s say you have a google sheet where you store a list of sales leads and their contact information along with some notes that suggest what action to take or how promising the leads look post a conversation. 

Google sheets canvassing app

Against each lead you store which sales rep is going to reach out to the lead. Without exposing the entire list, you want to assign leads to the sales rep to start reaching out and building a rapport.

 

Before, you’d have to apply filters to the sheet and pass on the leads manually to a rep, then probably take back their inputs and update in the sheet again. But now, with DronaHQ, you can create a custom app on top of the google sheets data to give your sales rep an easy to use interface to look at the leads assigned to them and take an action – send an email, update lead information, add notes, and so on. 

 

Here’s the final app. You can play around the app, click on different rows, and see the different actions a user can perform.

You can connect this template to your Google Sheets and start using it here.

And here is how we built a Google Sheets tool, in under 30 minutes:

Also, here is a step by step text tutorial on how we configured the Google Sheets API connector to DronaHQ using native integration.

Enrich your Google sheets with external data sources

DronaHQ lets you bring all your sources of truth to one unified platform. Say you run an ecommerce website and use Zendesk as your ticket management system. You can pull in the customer concern data by using DronaHQ’s Zendesk API connector and combine it with Customer details in a Google Sheet. You can also integrate with communication tools like SendGrid, Gmail, Twilio (for WhatsApp) to send follow up communication to the customer.

In a different scenario, you can also export data into Google Sheets for analysis using DronaHQ.

Say you are already using Google Sheets for analysis and dashboards. You want to model your customer service performance based on the data you have in Zendesk, you can create a tool to update sheets/rows that power your visualizations. Configure your automation such that, every time you get a new customer complaint, or when the CSR rep marks a ticket as resolved, it triggers a Update Row/Add Row service. The new data will flow to your sheet in an instant while your charts will get refreshed.

Connecting to Google Sheets is available to all DronaHQ users. Log in and start building your apps now.