Google Docs as alternative to Google Forms

I use Google Drive and related docs pretty extensively. I think they’re pretty good.

I also like data. Normalizing data. Massaging it, making it useful and available.

Google Sheets do a pretty darn good job of being a spreadsheet. But there are times I want an honest database. A relational one. But with all the online editing and sharing juiciness of Google. I push Sheets pretty far in replicating relationality, but it gets pretty hairy.

I also like Google Forms. They’re simple, and they tie very nicely in with Sheets. But they aren’t easy to use as a nice front-end to Sheets. Yes, you can re-edit them, but you have to use nasty looking URLs and scripting.

But I realized this evening that there may be an elegant workable alternative. If you publish a Doc, it has a fixed URL and format. If, within that Doc, you have set tables, those tables can be accessed by index in a Sheet using the IMPORTHTML() call. Then, when the Doc gets updated, the published version gets updated, and the Sheet updates too. It’s not as immediate, but it works. And you can keep your Doc right there in your Drive, ready for editing any time.

So there.

%d bloggers like this: