Web of data & services

Using web services to build a dynamic, serverless page in 2015

Last week I decided to wite a post aout the Greek economical crisis. While the crisis is discussed every day for the last 5 years in Greece I could not find any solid reference to the parameters that lead to the crisis and their evolution during their crisis. In my other post ( JustTheNumbers – I apologize to my international readers, but the page is in Greek) I focus on the financials parameters (GDP, Deficit, Dept, etc) and their evolution before and during the crisis in this post I will briefly describe the technical aspect of the web page.

My intent was to create a very basic page with some charts, and with a short search I found jqplot. My next issue was the data? How would I store/retrieve the data and be able to manipulate them. Since these where tabular, financial data, the obvious choice for manipulation was a spreadsheet, but then the retrieval was an issue: How to get the data from the spreadsheet to the page – and provide access to the spreadsheet for anyone to be able to validate the data? And since this is going to be an ongoing project I would like to have the option to edit the data in an easy way. After creating a simple table with json and testing the charting I remembered that I have come across an article regarding web-services/json access to google sheet.

So after a quick look on the internet and the google sheet api documentation I found out that any published spreadsheet is accessible via a webservice call in json format – just perfect. After a bit of javascripting I had access to my data (and instant update of all graphs upon changing the table’s data). The client is very simple and anyone can look it/use it (just view source on the page in the first paragraph). After that I decided to add a google analytics and a facebook comment box. Both done in less than 15 minutes just by copy paste.

The web now days offers a huge set of tools, data and services, available for anyone with minimal programming requirements.. and things will only get better…