Use Google Docs for generating live reports on your Ruby scripts

December 10, 2009 at 9:13 pm Leave a comment

I have to transfer and convert a lot of files this week, and in order not to loose track, I created a spreadsheet that summarizes which files are transferred and converted. Because it was a pain to keep the spreadsheet up to date I wrote a Ruby script that monitors the files written and writes the results back to a Google docs spreadsheet.

To monitor the files I use the so-called backtick quote, which reads the output of a command to a variable:

res = `cd /home/thefolder;ls -l`
res.each_line do |line|
  cols = line.split(' ')
  if cols.length<9  #probably a header row
  if File.file?('/home/thefolder/'+cols[8])
    #the file exists, your code here
    #my code writes to a hash called items
To write the results back I used gimite’s google-spreadsheet-ruby gem ( that makes it trivially easy to connect to a Google spreadsheet (just follow the “how to use” on the first page).
def dump_to_google(items)
  session = GoogleSpreadsheet.login("", password)
  ws = session.spreadsheet_by_key("YOURKEYYOURKEYYOURKEY").worksheets[0]
  col = 1 
  row = 1
  ws[row,1] = 'ID'
  ws[row,2] = 'Filename'
  items.each do |id,itm|
    ws[row,1] = id
    ws[row,2] = itm[:filename]


The end result is pretty cool, a spreadsheet that is updated every minute (or whatever interval you decide). You can also create graphs that are updated automatically with the new data:

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