Day 11: Awesome Table
While working on a project for work this week, I was on the hunt for a way to take data from a Google spreadsheet and display it in a dynamic leaderboard. I know that I could have just spiffed up my Google Sheet, but I was looking for something more dramatic. My other problem was that it needed to be easy to set up and update without a lot of coding. It has been a long time since I have coded from scratch and I did not have the time or patience to teach myself on the fly. A colleague came to my rescue and suggested I try the Web app Awesome Table. So I did. I was rather pleased with the results.
Awesome Table integrates with Google Drive and links to a Google Sheet for the data source. To make the sheet compatible, you might need to tweak the format. The sheet headers must follow the given format (no special characters) and you must include a blank row under your header row. This row is reserved for parameters and filters. It sounds a bit complicated but if you follow the clearly written support documentation, it should be no problem to set up. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was.
I was able to create an interactive leaderboard from an existing spreadsheet in about five minutes. It even updates if my source data changes.
My leaderboard is not really pretty but if you are more tech-savvy than I, you can create an HTML template and Custom CSS to pretty it up. I might shake the rust off of my HTML skills and see if I can make my leaderboard a bit more dramatic.
Awesome Table has other templates for visualizing your data. From creating custom maps, photo slideshows, and data dashboards to visually pleasing announcements, product lists, and people directories. I have not played with these templates but if they are as easy as the leaderboard then I’m excited to give it a try. I’m intrigued by the photo slideshows and custom maps.
I can also take this leaderboard (or any of the Awesome Table views) and embed it in a Google Site or other website. I used the new Google Sites and the app integrated nicely. As I mentioned before, the support documentation is fairly good. It was easy to follow and answered most of my questions. It looks like there is also an active G+ support community.
I know that I have just scratched the surface of what this app can do. I’m adding this to my “Explore Deeper” list. Definitely, one to check out if you want to take your data tables from “Blah.” to “Whoa!” or if you want to gamify your classroom with custom leaderboards. I’d also like to see what a data dashboard might look like. Oh, did I mention it’s free? Yea. That’s 50 bonus points right there.