Google Sheets Powers My Restaurant & Jazz Club

Six years ago I did probably the craziest thing I’ve ever done.  I bought a restaurant and started a jazz club. What’s crazier is that I started this club in the small town of North Bend Washington. Never heard of it?  Well, Twin Peaks was filmed here.  That’s probably our claim to fame.  Plus now, Boxleys is rated one of the Best Jazz Clubs in the World by Downbeat Magazine, 5 years in a row.

So here is the deal.  I have a full time job.  This jazz club thing is both a hobby and a passion for me, sharing the music that love along with some great food and wine. People ask me all the time, “why did you start a Jazz club here”.  My answer is simple,  “I live here”.  

Now six years into this endeavor our restaurant is community owned by a non-profit organization called the Boxley Music Fund. That’s pretty cool. But what I think is really awesome is that our venue is managed almost entirely by part time staff using Google Spreadsheets and Cloudward CloudSnippets.  That’s correct. Let me run down the list of things that Boxleys uses Google Spreadsheets for.

Who’s playing at Boxley’s Tonight?

If you visit Boxleys website, the first thing you are greeted by is who’s playing tonight.  This is a rotating banner starting with today and goes through the next couple weeks. If you click on any image, you can make  a reservation for that night.

This banner is a Google Sheet powered Cloud Snippet. (Maybe I should say that the other way around).

Clicking on the banner takes to you reservations for that night.

This content is all managed by a Google Spreadsheet that a part time assistant updates 1 to 2 times a month.  The Spreadsheet looks like this.

schedule.png

All the content is in the sheet.  The images usually come from the musicians website and she just pastes the URL in the right column for them.  The start and end dates determine when the banners show up.

Scrolling through the Month

Visitors on our website can see descriptions of everyone thats coming, on the Music Tab. This is the same format for the data, but in list format not a rotating banner.  Just scroll down the page and see.

Here it is:

http://www.boxleysplace.com/web/music.espx

The cool thing is that my assistant updates 1 spreadsheet and the content is updated in multiple places using Cloud Snippets. Yay!

What’s for Dinner?

Want to know what’s for dinner? Our chef updates the menu every day and he uses a Google Sheet to do that.  

Here is the spreadsheet.

menu-spreadsheet.png

But wait… it get’s cooler.

Our point of sale system is Web Based. Servers carry iPad’s around the restaurant and take orders at the table.  The same menu is loaded into the POS via a snippet we customized.  

Chef updates menu, goes on website and into the point of sale.

Cloud Snippets and Sheets in action. This is Nancy taking an order on her iPad.

Printed Menu’s?

You guessed it.  We made another snippet that outputs the same spreadsheet data so we can print menus.

Awesome? Yeah!

More Snippets… More Sheets!

Other ways we use snippets and sheets.

  • Our Time Clock
  • The staff timeclock is a snippet that saves data to a Google Sheet.
  • Sending payroll to PayChex is a snap!
  • Scheduling
  • The floor manager uses Google Sheets to do staff schedules
  • Special Events
  • Special event requests are a Cloud Snippet that saves to a Google Sheet and sends an email to the special events manager and a confirmation to the requestor
  • Sponsors
  • We are a non-profit and our sponsors banners and advertisements are displayed using Sheets and Snippets just like the upcoming musicians
  • More?
  • Any interim thing that I need done or managed – I use a Cloud Snippet and a Sheet

What Does Dinner Look Like?

So our latest addition is a photo gallery powered by Cloud Snippets and a Google Sheet.  I may change that to just use one of the Google Drive Cloudward Snippets. Regardless, it’s cool.

How Cool is That?

The ability to use Google Sheets and Cloud Snippets makes it so we can have several people manage different content when it’s convenient for them.  These are real time saving and super practical solutions.  Just one example is updating the Point of Sale.  It used to take lots of time. Now it’s only minutes. And the same sheet updates the website, printed menu’s and the point of sale.  Really awesome!

Check out Boxleys here.

www.boxleys.club

Also, here are some of the snippets I use from Cloudward.

Using Google Docs to manage web pages is just about the coolest thing… ever!

Why I absolutely love how practical this is; using Google Docs to manage web page content.

I keep saying to myself;  “How cool is this? I update a Google Doc and my website is updated…”   It’s absolutely great! And here is why…

#1 – Simple changes are super fast

Need to make a minor change to your website?  If you are using a Cloud Snippet all you need to do is go to Google Docs and update the doc. Bam! Done. Super fast.  

#2 – You want someone else to do it

Suppose you run a small business and you don’t have time to do everything.  So you get a part time assistant that you want to update a page on your website.  And suppose that person isn’t the most savvy when it comes to learning how to use tools to update a website. Use a Cloudward Cloud Snippet to publish a specific Google Doc to a specific page, and share it with your assistant.  Awesome!

#3 – You want someone to update a webpage but you don’t want to give them your passwords

Perhaps you barely know your new assistant, or perhaps your assistant is your mother.  Bottom line is that you don’t want to share your password.  In either case, the solution is the same as above.  Use a Cloud Snippet and share the doc.  Bam!

#4 – You want to delegate

Suppose you run a small business and you don’t have time to do everything.  

Same solution.

#5 – The shoe is on the other foot

You are involved in a local non profit and they want you to update a few pages on their website.  Last thing you need is to remember more passwords and stuff.  You can create a Cloud Snippet in your account, with your Google Doc to update the content; and send them the Snippet Code to paste on the pages you are supposed to update.  From that point on, just update the Google Doc and Bam!

#6 – A group of people need to update the same website

Same scenario but more people involved?  Let’s say you are part of a non profit with different committees.  And each committee has a page on the website that needs to get updated.  Create a snippet for each page and a corresponding Google Doc.  Share those Docs with the correct person, and BAM!  How cool is that?  Everyone updates what they need to and not everyone needs access to the web admin tools.

#7 – Sharing the doc and getting help

I’m writing this very blog post in Google Docs.  Thats cool.  And I am going to post it on a blog that’s a snippet.  Cool as well.  After I do my draft, I will share my Google Doc with someone else to help me proof read the post – then make it public.  All in Google Docs and Sheets.  

#8 – Going Mobile?

Google Docs already has mobile editors for Android and iOS devices.  You can update your doc on the fly or start a new blog post.  Just like I’m editing this post right now.

#9 – My mom can do it

My mom uses Google Docs.

#10 – One doc many pages

If you need to publish the same content on many web pages or websites you can use a Cloud Snippet to syndicate that doc and keep it up to date everywhere.  You can paste your snippet code on as many pages as you want and it works.  Awesome yet again!

#11 – Even YouTube!

I can even embed YouTube videos into my Google Docs and Cloudward Snippets will process them.  I just take the embed code from YouTube and add a Cloudward EASE Tag # youtube where the / iframe is.

Here is the embed code:

Change the tags like this…


And it works… like so!

The bottom line

This is so easy, anyone can manage it.  

For myself I used to blog a lot.  But I fell off the bandwagon years ago because I hated logging on to the website tools to post the blog.  I had ideas to share, but I just wasn’t that motivated to go through the extra steps.  So I would write and write… usually in Google Docs, but stopped publishing. This is so much easier.

For me, using Cloud Snippets and Google docs to manage web pages is just about the coolest thing ever!

Check them out here:

Publish Google Doc by ID with Cloud Snippets

-d

Danny in Tech News: Betanews.com

Original article available here:
http://betanews.com/2015/02/26/cloud-hosted-script-library-simplifies-web-development/


Cloud-hosted script library simplifies web development

 By Ian Barker


Developers often find themselves repeatedly going over the same ground when it comes to adding functionality like forms or product pages.

California-based Cloudward is aiming to make life easier for web app developers with the launch of Cloud Snippets. These are cloud-hosted scripts, powered by Google Cloud Services, that allow anyone to instantly add forms, surveys, landing pages, ecommerce product listings, and more using the simplicity of Google Docs, Sheets, and Drive.

Developers can add a Cloud Snippet to any website, including platforms like WordPress, Weebly, Squarespace and Wix, or any HTML page. All they have to do is copy and paste the JavaScript code and publish it. Cloud Snippets also gives developers the code allowing them to make customizations as required.

“Cloud Snippets are important because they allow anybody to easily build an independent, embeddable web app,” says Cloudward co-founder and CTO Danny Kolke. “For the first time, a web designer or developer has the power to build sophisticated web functions without having to know PHP, Python, Java, etc. Small agencies and web designers can use Cloud Snippets to gain big-agency capabilities. Small businesses can easily add complex functionality to their websites. And enterprises gain development flexibility”.

Cloudward has set up a Snippet Store which has lots of free snippets for developers to get started. It intends to open this up as a marketplace for other web designers and developers to build and sell their own custom snippets.

Current snippets include one to create a content slideshow by taking images and tagline descriptions from a Google Sheet and displaying them in a slider, and one to take addresses from a Google Sheet and display each on a map with a marker and an information window.

You can find out more about Cloud Snippets on the Cloudward website.

Photo Credit: dencg/Shutterstock

Danny in Tech News: Geekwire.com

Cloudward launches Cloud Snippets to ease website customization

Original article available here:
http://www.geekwire.com/2015/cloudward-launches-cloud-snippets-to-ease-website-customization/

BY BLAIR HANLEY FRANK on February 26, 2015 at 9:13 am

1 Comment  Share  87  Tweet  30  Share  11  Reddit  Pin

People who want to extend the functionality of their website have a new option to choose from today. Cloudward, a Bay Area based cloud services company that has an engineering office in Seattle, just unveiled a Cloud Snippets product that allows people to take a small snippet of JavaScript to expand what their website can do.

Users can get the snippets, which work in a manner similar to what Google uses for its AdSense and Analytics tools, from Cloudward’s online store. At launch, Cloudward is seeding its snippet marketplace with more than 30 free first-party snippets, but the company also has a system that lets third party developers build and sell their own snippets.

Cloudward CTO Danny KolkeCloudward CTO Danny Kolke

One of Cloudward CTO Danny Kolke’s favorite snippets allows users to insert the contents of a Google Doc into a web page and make the text look like it belongs on the page. It’s an interesting tool for both technical and nontechnical people who work with the web. Using that snippet, people can easily edit a page’s contents without having to wrangle with a content management system, or even worse, actually interact with a page’s raw HTML.

Users who need different functionality from what Cloud Snippets offers off the shelf can build their own snippets or customize existing ones using Cloudward’s simplified EASE syntax. (That language was actually the basis for the system that would become Cloud Snippets.)

The Cloud Snippets service is priced according to how much people use it. People who get fewer than 1,000 hits a month on pages with Snippets will be able to use the service for free, while hardcore developers can sign up for the top of the line monthly plan that lets the manage an unlimited number of snippets for as many properties as they want.

Those limits may sound harsh, but Kolke said small businesses that just want to publish a single doc or power a single form on one page of their site.

“Since this isn’t usually the entire website, those hits go a long way, because it would just be a specific page on the entire website that it’s on,” he said.

Right now, the system is tightly integrated with Google’s stack, in part because Cloud Snippets is built on top of the Google Cloud Platform. But in the future, the company is interested in expanding beyond Google’s offerings, and is also open to working with developers on its platform to expand Cloud Snippets’ capabilities.

“At the end of the day, it’s a JavaScript implementation on somebody’s website,” Kolke said. “So, any developer that knows JavaScript, we can work with them on expanding into other APIs and other markets as we develop this further.”

Blair Hanley Frank is GeekWire’s Bay Area Correspondent. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. Follow him on Twitter @belril and email him atblair@geekwire.com.

Five Nines is Still Not Enough

Originally Published on GigaOm: June 20, 2008 by Danny Kolke

https://gigaom.com/2008/06/20/five-nines-is-still-not-enough/

Danny Kolke, Founder and CTO of Etelos, maker of the Etelos Marketplace and the Etelos Platform, is a thought leader in the areas of software as a service and Web-based applications. Danny works with developers and businesses alike building and distributing Web-based software as a service. Known for his honest assessments and sense of humor, Danny is a regular speaker on SaaS, especially its challenges and opportunities.

For the past nine years, I have spent my energy delivering services to users of web-based applications. In that time, I have heard many different marketing messages targeted toward business users, some of which I react to more negatively than others. One of the most deceptive promises I have heard is delivering “five nines,” or 99.999 percent uptime.

In a calendar year of 525,600 minutes, 99.999 percent uptime means that your services would only be interrupted for five minutes and 15.36 seconds. Does this mean that for the other 525,994 minutes and 45 seconds your service is available? I guess it depends on how you define available.

Pick your favorite Web site or Web application. If that service has been interrupted for more than 5 minutes, 15 seconds in the last 12 months, then it doesn’t have true 99.999 percent uptime. In my opinion, when you can’t get to or use a Web application, it’s not up. Regardless of the reason.

We have recently seen Amazon.com, Amazon’s EC2, Google’s Google Apps, Salesforce, Twitter and others struggle with outages of various sizes and causes. Amazon’s recent outage lasted for more than an hour and Twitter seemed to make news for when it was actually available.

Amazon’s outage was enough to kill 99.999 percent as an average uptime for the next 10 years.

A true “five nines” where services are always available (only five minutes and 15 seconds of downtime over 365 days) is an enormous expense to pursue. And with the most well funded sites on the planet failing to deliver “five nines,” is this possible or even worth pursuing?

For those die-hards who look at this and laugh because you “…have machines that have gone years without a reboot…” I have to ask, how do you calculate uptime?

A server in our infrastructure has gone more than three years without a reboot. But, while this server has remained up, it has not always been available. Recently, planned maintenance interrupted access to this machine for one hour. And even though the machine was up, it was not accessible and it might as well have been off.

Thousands of existing accounts experienced no loss of service because their applications were not dependent on the corporate Web site. Technically, a disruption of service occurred, but it did not affect our existing customers, which is not generally part of uptime calculation. In addition, planned outages that disrupt service are usually not considered outages. However, as a business user, “off-hours” planned outages eat away at available working hours in your application. 1 a.m. Monday in Cupertino is 9 a.m. in London. When an application is not available, that’s downtime.

Another area that may not be considered an outage is slow performance. If a user experiences 15-second page loads 21 times, this adds up to 5 minutes and 15 seconds. Enough downtime to make 99.999 percent uptime impossible. Okay, maybe I am being unfair with that one with 15-second calculations, but what about if you went to a Web site that took one minute for a page to load? Six of those and 99.999 percent uptime is toast. Do you call it up or down?

How about this example: My MacBook Pro can take three minutes and 30 seconds to reboot. Two reboots a year and I have consumed more allotted time than 99.999 percent uptime allows. How about an update that takes 5 to 10 minutes to install? On a machine-by-machine basis, maintenance code updates and services need to be performed. This means that either the machines are running old code, or 99.999 percent uptime is simply unrealistic. I suggest that promising “five nines” is a marketing tactic that is virtually impossible to ensure.

I think you can see that depending on how you calculate it, if the goal is to provide service for your users 99.999 percent of the time; it’s virtually impossible and even the biggest (and some may argue the best) infrastructures are struggling with it.

A true “five nines” promise is an enormous expense to pursue. And, with some of the largest sites on the planet failing to deliver, is it even possible or worth pursuing?