How to Build Automated Dashboards With Google Apps Script and Google Sheets

Dashboards are a powerful way to communicate data to your team. One use for dashboards is tracking the progress of key performance indicators (KPIs). One KPI tracked at Lucid is the ranking and performance of our products in third-party marketplaces. Although there are enterprise-grade products to gather and visualize this type of data, you can generate automated dashboards with only Google Apps Script and Google Sheets.

Finally, create the dashboards from the formatted data. See How to Make a Killer Data Dashboard with Google Sheets for tips and tricks.

I have been using the power of the Google platform more often now. Why?  The power of Google Apps Script, a Javascript-like language with plenty of power and a large ecosystem of developers willing to share.  Mind you this is not easy for the typical spreadsheet user but, if you are a developer then you can rock this easily.  The same thing could be done with Microsoft office using Excel and some VBA scripts.  Most companies I work with don’t allow VBA because of the security issues.  Those concerns mostly go away when you use the Google platform.

Via: How to Build Automated Dashboards With Google Apps Script and Google Sheets




Data Visualization Basics for Data Scientists

“A picture is worth a thousand words”, the old saying goes, and in some cases, a picture is worth even more than that. The human eye is composed of some 30 or more discrete components, and along with the optical nerves and the brain functions that process sight, can take in a contrast ratio of around 100,000:1 (over time) and can distinguish about 10 million colors. That sight-brain-pathway is a pattern-matching wonder and has “regions of interest” that the eye/brain connection focuses on (

Making up one of our primary senses, sight is immeasurably important to conveying information, and it’s vital to the Data Scientist to understand how to best use various visualizations to display and discuss data.

There is a book reference in this article from 2013 that still is a must-read for anyone attempting data visualization at any level.  The best lesson is to look through other people eyes to appreciate how the information must “Look”.  I go by a simple rule, “If my wife, who is not technical or a data scientist, can’t understand the visual it probably needs more work”

Via: Microsoft Developer, Buck Woody

Microsoft ups the BI game


Microsoft is trying to give the other “on-Demand” Business Intelligence vendors a run for their money.  The enterprise folks didn’t give Power-BI a second glance when they leanered the only way to publish was to the cloud.  Cloud = Bad.   There was talk of SSRS being able to be the portal for all things Power-BI and now some if this has come true.

Microsoft has an Azure appliance that you can “play with” while Microsoft tunes things up.  I think this is going to be a look-see for me in the near future.  I will post what I find.

3D Graphics JS Library WhiteStorm is coming


Imagine writing a JavaScript application with full 3D graphics capability.  Sounds simple but when you include the physics of an object, shadows and where the light is coming from it starts to get overwhelming.  This article by Alexander introduces the WhiteStorm JS library.  After going to WhiteStorm website and trying some of the examples there, I can see this as an extension to the D3.JS charts library to create business intelligence charts that have three dimensions that you look at from 360 degrees by just dragging the mouse about.  Whitestorm with some other components is going to be a significant improvement to complex analytics.   Yes,  I know they are touting WhiteStorm as a gaming library but think a little outside the box. I have added this to my review and test list.  New at 11PM.


Business Intelligence – Tableau 9.0 beta rolls out


Tableau is one of the better Business Intelligence tools in the latest NEW BI tools being released that I call BI-Fresh.  It works with many different data sources including some of the larger cloud based databases.  While my experience is limited to Teradata data warehouse with Tableau  I would recommend it for your short list for BI-Fresh evaluations.   Here is a recent review done by ComputerWorld on the latest release 9.0 Beta.

AMCHARTS LiveEditor Prototype a chart quickly


AmCharts is an excellent HTML/CCS JavaScript library for rendering all sorts of business charts.  Thier LiveEditor is an must have tool to add to your Prototyping toolbox.   LiveEditor allow you to import a CSV of your chart values and construct your chart.  Bar, line, column, 2D. 3D. speedo’s and animation along with all of the properties of the chart can be adjusted on-line and you see the results of your changes dynamically.  If you create a free account you can save the results of your efforts and recall them later.  Then you can export the masterpieces you build into HTML and include them in a web page or prototyping tool that allows for HTML.  Take the results of a Teradata query to a Animated Business Chart in less than 5 minutes.

While the LiveEdit is free and a great tool to get the best use our this product you should consider purchasing a license for a server, it’s only $140 which is quite a value.  You can consume data for the charts from a number of data sources including JSON.  Since it is a JavaScript library and uses HTML5.0 and CCS3.0 you can use this library in almost any development library from PHP, Python, Ruby on Rails up to Java and .NET.