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.

What about Bob? Meet Bob Thordarson

Having coffee with Bob Thordarson is a real treat, and if you are an innovator or entrepreneur and you haven’t met him yet… do it. Bob is dumb enough and nice enough to actually meet with you, even if it’s of no use to him.  Unlike me, where I really don’t like having a meeting unless absolutely necessary.

Bob is quite the entrepreneur with a couple of successes under his belt. Then he discovered web apps and we’ll see what happens.  But he has some cool ideas. I have known Bob for about 10 years and I think he’s a cool web app dude.
Here is my interview with him.  I think we should let him in our little club.
D: Bob, do you consider yourself a web app dude?

B: Yes, I think so.
D: How long have you been working with web apps?

B: 3 years this month actually is when I had the first hair brain idea.
(Sidebar: What’s a hair brain?)
D: What prompted you to do that?

B: I thought it’d be really easy and low cost to get to market.  These things are cheap aren’t they?  Why not?  It turns out that sync across platforms is a really difficult problem to solve and a very complex engineering problem.

(Sidebar: should we tell him that this isn’t really the web part of the app?)
D: Was that the original idea?

B: The original idea was a calendar management teal that we never shipped.  The premise was that it’s really difficult to coordinate with 3 or more people to set a common a time that works for everybody… (blah blah blah) without all the back and forth stuff.  You end up with a communication loop that would go on for a while before reaching a decision on a common time.  The app was going to streamline that process.
D: So how did that lead to what you are doing now?

B: Like many good ideas, several other businesses had that concept all at once.  As we were developing a couple of of other services came to market and beat me.  So we said, what can we do that’s different and utilizes what we did so far?
B: We built an Outlook tool and Google tool and Mac tool and decided that we could build an app that would synchronize cross platforms…  Which lead to Syncacross..
D: So what is Syncacross?

B: Syncacross is a toll that will sync contacts calendars and tasks across your mobile, desktop and web supporting outlook, mac, gmail, google apps and your phone.  Out of Syncacross we have about 1000 beta users and one thing our users said we did really well was to merge contacts and remove duplicates.  So many said that was a great service, let’s spin that off into it’s own service.  And it’s actually the first commercialized product that we are shipping.
D: Sounds like you are shipping multiple things. What ties this all together?

B: What ties this all together is Blucapp.
D: So is that supposed to be some sort incubator and builds apps?

B: Yeah, so we are trying where we have multiple apps all in the productivity space, each has it’s own brand and they are tied together…
D: How many web apps are you working on right now?

B: Two web apps. We have more ideas but I got to be focused.  All of these will be around contact and calendar data.
D: What do you like about web apps?

B: They are fluffy. (I laugh this time) I like them because software is an incredibly creative media to build a vision and bring to life in a very fast way.  Which is malleable, which is a curse.
D: Let’s change subjects…  How much time do you spend at coffee shops?

B: (laughter… which is a sign of guilt). I work at a variety of coffee shops.  Zoka is my favorite. I’m now at a Tully’s and I frequent Starbucks now because they now have free wifi.
D: You didn’t answer the question. Fess up!

B: In a  40hr week, I’m probably at a shop 10 hours a week?  Maybe more… 15?
D: What cell phone do you have?

B: iPhone 3gs – and I’m waiting for the hardware upgrade before I buy v4.
D: What don’t you like about web apps?

B: Wondering when Microsoft (or the web community’s ability to put a stake in the ground) will officially kill IE6.
D: What technologies are you using in your web apps?

B: LAMP Stack + Flash front end
D: What is your app’s business model?

B: Virtual company + Freemium model + engage with distribution partners that

can drive the sales funnel
D: What web apps do you use on a daily basis?

B: Dropbox, Remember the milk, Hootsuite, Gist, Media Piston, MindMeister, Google Trends, YouSendIt
D: What’s your favorite web app? (not your own)

B: Media Piston
D: Qn the personal side of things… What do you call your home town?

B: Seattle, WA
D: Do you use dude speak?

B: Whoa Dude, who doesn’t man?
D: Favorite color?

B: Blue, no red….
D: Favorite car?

B: Yours
D: Favorite book?

B: Catcher in the Rye
(Conspiracy Theory… are you an assassin?)
D: Favorite movie?

B: Totoro
D: Favorite band?

B: David Byrne
D: Favorite type of cheese?

B: Spanish Manchego
D: Favorite quote?

B: Hold your breath, Make a wish, Count to three – Willy Wonka
That’s Bob… He’s in.

http://www.scrubly.com
http://www.blucapp.com