Get Wufoo responses into a spreadsheet without a proxy server or third-party services.
After 15 years of building web stuff for one-person teams up to the world’s largest employer, I’d like to share an opinion and an observation.
OPINION: Using third-party dedicated services is often better than rolling your own, even if you have the skills to roll.
FACT: People love spreadsheets, and the larger the organization, the stronger the spreadsheet love.
With that context, you can imagine my frustration at the amount of duplicated (aka wasted) time and effort spent on solving the Internet-age old problem:
We need to ask people some questions, and see their responses in a spreadsheet.
Google Forms lets you do this, right? Sure, if your requirements are really basic and you don’t care much about design.
Wufoo is one of my favorite web services. Their interface makes it really easy to create simple forms, but under the top layer there’s a ton of functionality that lets you build really complex forms and reports. Most importantly, they support Webhooks and have a well-documented API. You can share custom reports and raw data with multiple people, publicly or privately. In many cases, you shouldn’t need anything else. Unfortunately, your spreadsheet-loving co-workers aren’t interested in setting up another account. And what’s a “Wufoo” anyway?
Third-party service party
Before we go any further, it’s worth looking at other existing solutions.
Although I strongly favor using anything-as-a-service over writing custom code, I prefer to use as few services as possible to get the job done. If you don’t feel that same compulsion, you should definitely check out Zapier, which is what IFTTT wants to be when it grows up. They’ve got a slick interface for connecting Wufoo (and hundreds of other services) to a Google Spreadsheet (and hundreds of other services).
Still interested in carrying on?
Let’s have our WuCake and let the people eat Google Sheet Cake.
We’ve got a few steps on the Google end, and one setting on our Wufoo form.
Start with this Google Sheet template
I’ve done most of the “dirty work” for you. All you need to do is open this spreadsheet and follow the instructions on the README tab. That will walk you through making a copy of the spreadsheet and its accompanying script, publishing the script, and getting the link you’ll need for Wufoo.
For more background on this Google Apps Script + Spreadsheet setup, check out my article on Letting Google Chew the CUD.
Set up the Wufoo WebHook
Log into your Wufoo dashboard, locate the form you want to connect to, and click the “Notifications” link that appears under it. Then under that big fat plus sign, select “WebHook.”
Next, paste the link that you copied from the Google Sheet into the “Your WebHook URL” field. Then, make sure the “Include Field and Form…” checkbox is checked. That allows the spreadsheet to show names of fields as column headers. Finally, click “Save.”
You may Wu when ready
There you have it. Now every time somebody fills out your Wufoo form, in addition to all the great tools you get from Wufoo, the response will show up in a Google Sheet. While I haven’t battle-tested every scenario, it should be the case that when you update question titles or add new form fields in Wufoo, they’ll show up in the Google Sheet automatically. If there’s an old field that you’ve deleted from your Wufoo form and you don’t want it in your spreadsheet, just delete that column. Also, you should be able to re-order the columns in the spreadsheet without causing problems.