Build a web service from a spreadsheet

Sheetsu is a great tool to turn any spreadsheet (Google Sheets) into a REST API. It lets you save or query a spreadsheet just like a database.

We do not track customers’ gender in our e-commerce applications, however, it is essential to know who our customer base is. So, we’ve imported the most common first names into Google sheets and turn it into a searchable database.

Google Sheets as a database

Sheetsu lets us search by column name and return results as JSON.

$ curl
=> [{"first_name":"Alain","gender":"m","normalized":"alain"}]

We can then compare customers’ first names against our master list and provide statistics, such as:

male: 25 (25%)
female: 65 (65%)
undetermined: 5 (5%)
no match: 5 (5%)

The beauty of such system is that anyone knows how to use a spreadsheet making super easy to enrich and improve the list. Easy to implement, easy to maintain, everyone wins.