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I'm trying to develop a script/software that reads information from a Google Sheet linked to a Google Form and writes specific entries to a table.

The form is used to track when vehicles leave and arrive at certain destinations and when they return to base. All of this information is recorded to the Google Sheet.

What I am trying to make is a something that will visually track which vehicle is going where, how long each vehicle is enroute to its destination and how long it's been there. I want this information in two tables (one for vehicles enroute and one for vehicles arrived) but I am up for suggestions.

The final product needs to be a stand alone application that does not require any installation or permissions and can run on any fresh installation of Windows 7 and 10.

What would be the best language and IDE for me to do this and what would be the best way to go about developing this?

To summarize, the final product needs to:

  1. Read information from a Google Sheet.
  2. Place that information into the appropriate table.
  3. Track how long each vehicle has been placed in the table.
  4. Remove vehicle from tables when it returns back to base.
  5. Require no installation. Can run off a flash drive if needed.
  6. Run on Windows 7 or later. Running on Mac is not needed but would be a bonus.

I am a relative beginner in software development/scripting familiar with Python and C#. I am open to all suggestions. Will be working on a MacBook Pro for the course of developing this project.

  • By “table” do your mean a relational database? If so, do you mean a centralized database server or do you mean a database embedded within your app locally, for a single-user only and without ant network or internet needed? – Basil Bourque Jul 1 at 8:35
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Stick with Python, since you know it and it is simpler than C# (it also has many more useful libraries).

You can also run it on Mac/Linux - although the machine will need to have Python installed, unless you have it on the USB stick.

Think about how you want to display those tables - on the GUI of your app? In HTML, constantly updating?

Is this a chance for you to learn database programming?

How often will you be reading from the Google sheet and updating your data?

I am sure that you want to sit down & start hacking code, but don't. We professionals think about design for along time before cutting the first line of code. Write it all down in a document, explaining just what your program is going to do. If possible, have it reviewed. Find a friend to read it & try to spot potential problems. Even better, if he is a coder, ask him if he could implement the program from your document alone - without asking you any questions. If so, you have a good design.

Good luck


[Update] here's a response to some of the OP's questions in comments.

For a GUI, see https://wxpython.org/.

Personally, I don't bother to manipulate spreadsheets directly, I just manually export from them as CSV and import csv (documentation is here).

However, you can manipulate MS Excel documents directly (I don't know if it will work with Google spreadsheets). There is an free eBook inline, and you should look at the table of contents for other stuff, but Chapter 12 – Working with Excel Spreadsheets might be helpful.

You can also manipulate MS Word & PDF denouements from Python, although that is beyond the scope of your question.

As you say, leave the database stuff for another day. When you do, choose MySQL (or MariaDB) with PDO, or SQLite, according to your needs.

Good luck :-)

  • 1
    Think about how you want to display those tables - on the GUI of your app? In HTML, constantly updating? I don't have a preference but if I'm using Python I would build a GUI. Know any good libs? How often will you be reading from the Google sheet and updating your data? Whenever a new log entry is made (every 10ish secs) or on a timer. Is this a chance for you to learn database programming? I could learn but I don't see how it would be helpful. The Google Sheet is controlled by my manager and I'm just making something to help improve readability based on observed issues. – jHinman Jun 17 at 14:41
  • Glad you think you know how to proceed. Ask any coding questions on stackoverflow.com 1) post code 2) say what it is supposed to do 3) say what is going wrong. When your code works, you can also post it to codereview.stackexchange.com for Code Review & we will help you to improve your coding style. Your best friend if your IDE, and for Python there is nothing better than (the free) PyCharm - get the community edition --> – Mawg Jun 18 at 14:47
  • --> learn how to use the debugger. Set breakpoints, run the code until it hots a breakpoint, when it will stop; examine the call stack and the values of variables - you will solve 99% of your problems and never have to ask for help. Have fun ! – Mawg Jun 18 at 14:49

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