This is the second post about our new reporting tool in Ukraine, which uses Frontline SMS and GoogleDocs to track information that our regional representatives collect in the field.
You can download the completed and documented script here.
I will now walk through the code itself and describe the purpose of each piece. Unfortunately our blog can not currently imbed inline code, so I will just post images for the time being. This is going to get into some basic computer code; just a warning. If this sort of thing is new to you, these resources may be a simpler and more basic introduction to the same sort of tool that I built (first and second). To get this tool running you will need to download a few things. Thankfully they are all free.
- Download and install the latest version of Frontline:SMS
- Make sure you have the latest version of Python installed. We will be working with the Google Data Python Library. Follow the instructions found here to get things running. You will need to have both Python and the Google Data Library.
- I recommend making sure that you can get a simple Python script to communicate with a Google Spreadsheet by following the hello world example, or by running some of the example programs that come with the Google Data Python Library.
- I also recommend making sure that you can install Frontline:SMS on your computer and get it sending and receiving text messages with your GSM modem before moving on.
Now that Frontline:SMS is up and running and you can get a Python script to connect to the Google Spreadsheet API, lets work on coding something that links the two together. This code represents just one way to accomplish this, and is by no means perfect or optimized. However, it does get the job done. Open up my script (found here) with your favorite editor and lets walk through the different portions.