Are you looking for an easy way to record the service work performed on your bike? Are you tired of scribbling illegible greasy notes into a notebook that is never found again? If so, keep reading.
So, uh, what are we talking about here, exactly? We are going to take a spreadsheet and turn it into an easily accessible smartphone app (Android or iOS). You’ll be able to quickly add (or edit) any service work you (or others) have performed on your bike(s), boat, car, generator, etc.
About 30 minutes of your time.
Apologies in advance if this tutorial seems overly basic, some of my friends have no idea how to use a computer. Hell, some of them own years of helmet cam footage that has been seen by exactly no one. Why? Because they have no idea how to use a computer. But, I digress…
PART 1 - CREATE SPREADSHEET (Google account required)
- Login to your Google account and go to Google Drive.
- Create a new spreadsheet, and name it whatever works for you. The spreadsheet can be as simple or complex as you like, but the only thing on the sheet(s) you’re going to add is column headings – nothing else. Add headings for items that you want to log. You can add a new sheet/tab for each machine you want to log. I keep my column headings the same for all machines, but I do this only to keep things simple. You can mix things up if ya like. See my example, here:
PART 2 - IMPORT SPREADSHEET INTO APPSHEET
- Go to https://www.appsheet.com/Home/Start
- Click ‘Google Sheets and Forms’ and connect/authenticate to your Google account, and select ‘Allow’ when prompted.
- Click on ‘Make a new app’
- Name your app and select a Category. I can’t remember what category I used but I think it was either ‘Field Service’ or ‘Other’ – it doesn’t really matter.
- Click on ‘Start with my own data’ > Google > then select your newly created spreadsheet.
PART 3 - APPSHEET DATA TABLES
- You should land on the ‘Data’ section in Appsheet. Here’s what you should see once your spreadsheet has been imported:
- Click on ‘Tables’ at the top. Now, if your spreadsheet has more than one sheet/tab then ‘add’ them to your app as seen here:
- Click the ‘Columns’ tab and take a look at my settings. Pay close attention to the ‘Type’ column. Make sure you click the blue popup ‘Save and verify data’ if you made change. See here:
PART 4 - APPSHEET UX
- Click on the ‘UX’ tab then ‘Views’ at the top.
- Click on your ‘machine’ to expand the table.
- Under ‘View Type’ select ‘Table’ because it’s the best view for our purpose.
- If you have more than one ‘machine’ then you can select where it is displayed under the ‘Position’ section. In my example, I have the Gator positioned left, boat at center, and my generator at the right. See here:
- Choose an icon if you see something that fits, then ‘Save & verify data’ after making your changes.
- Staying in the UX section, click on the ‘Brand’ tab at the top and make whatever customizations you want. Remember to ‘save and verify data’ when you’re done. I can’t remember if all options are available on the free plan, so you’ll just have to experiment.
- Still in UX, click the ‘Options’ tab and make any additional customizations if desired. For example, you might want column headers shown, hide the share button, etc. We have no forms in this example, so nothing related to forms applies for us. Again, feel free to experiment, but remember to save/verify your changes. If you don’t understand what a setting is then I suggest leaving it alone.
Save/verify your changes.
PART 5 - APP INFO
- Go to ‘Info’ > ‘Documentation’ and turn on ‘personal use only’. Now go to the ‘Properties’ tab and add a description for your app, if you like.
Save/verify your changes.
PART 6 - SYNC
- Turn off ‘offline use’, ‘delayed sync’, and ‘delta sync’ (they are not available for the free plan).
UPDATE: You might be able to leave these settings enabled. You will see (red) warnings listed in the next step (deployment), but try and deploy your app anyway (that is, ‘deploy wither errors’) to see if offline sync works. If it does not, simply go back and make the changes recommended for this step.
Save/verify your changes.
PART 7 - DEPLOYMENT
- Click on the ‘Manage’ section. now at the top click the ‘Deploy’ tab then ‘Deployment check’.
- Uh oh, do we have errors?
- If you see this warning go to the ‘Security’ > ‘Require Sign-in’ and turn off ‘authentication’ and turn on ‘public’.
- Go back to ‘Manage’ > ‘Deploy’ and run the deployment check again. Don’t worry about any ‘Description’ warnings. At this point we don’t care that our app uses the default icons. You can deal with this another time.
- Run the deployment check again. Hopefully, we only see the yellow warnings and no red warnings.
- Click the blue button ‘move app to deployed state’.
PART 8 - SMARTPHONE INSTALLATION
- Open the app store on your phone and install Appsheet. Open the app and login with your Google credentials. Your app should be good to go.
- You can add images to your app simply by changing the ‘type’ as described above in Part 3.3 to ‘image’. You should make sure you have a corresponding column in your spreadsheet.
- You can create multiple ‘apps’ linked to various spreadsheets.
CHANGES TO THE APP OR YOUR GOOGLE SPREADSHEET
What happens if I make changes to my Google spreadsheet?
No problem, just login to Appsheet and go to ‘Data’ > ‘Tables’ and click on ‘Regenerate’ for each tab (or ‘machine’) of the spreadsheet that you modified. You might also need to run a manual sync on your phone