Google sheets as content management system (Helpwithcovid19.ca)

help with covid 19 financial aid

When the COVID-19 shutdowns started occurring, I predicted layoffs coming and if you want peace, prepare for war.

That made me create helpwithcovid19.ca to organize all the benefits available for people affected by COVID-19.

In late March, I remember both the federal and provincial governments in Canada announced new benefits almost daily. There wasn’t a source of knowledge which tied together all the benefits from these two levels of government.

But as the number of benefits grew, it became increasingly difficult to type HTML for each item. I needed a content management system that was easy for all, in case I had collaborators.

Google Sheets is essentially a spreadsheet that has an API. Accessing the API is easy if you just need read-only capabilities. That’s great because that means I don’t need a database for a server. A spreadsheet is also a ubiquitous tool that most office folks should be familiar with.

Data from the above Sheet is then made into the “cards” that you see on the topmost image. It takes a bit of work to create these cards out of the data the API returns, since the data comes cell-by-cell. That means you need to go from column A to column H, then create a HTML element. Then go to the next row and do this.

I’d thoroughly recommend this method if you just want a quick and easy, no-server method. It is also easy if you have collaborators who would find the WordPress interface to be too difficult.