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Nathan Pham
Nathan Pham

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Detasheet: Google Sheets as a Database

Have you ever considered using Google Sheets as a database? You haven't? Well you just did!

The Why

Google Sheets is free, provides a built-in method to visualize data (with charts and graphs), and allows you to export data in a variety of formats.

Obviously, Google Sheets was never intended to be a database. The API is verbose and would be difficult to reuse across new projects.

As a result, I created Detasheet! Detasheet is a wrapper around the official Google Sheets API, allowing you to intuitively create and manage databases.

The documentation is available on Github (give it a star!) or NPM.

It Works!


Lessons Learned

OAuth is an absolute nightmare to deal with. It also doesn't make much sense to request a refresh token when initializing and interacting with the database should be relatively permanent. I opted to create a service account instead, using a private key and client email to authenticate my Google Sheets client.

After creating the service client, I realized I could read spreadsheets but not write to them. I found out that you could actually share your documents to the service account, which enabled realtime editing.


Internally, I tried to use some bleeding-edge object-oriented JavaScript (Node v14+), like real private methods.

class Client {
  async #authorize(credentials) {
    return new Promise((resolve) => { resolve(credentials) })

const client = new Client()
client.#authorize() // won't work!
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I've also had experience publishing modules to NPM before, so it wasn't that difficult (literally just npm publish --access public).


Detasheets was definitely an interesting and fun experiment. If you actually build something with it, let me know!

Top comments (1)

jacksonkasi profile image
Jackson Kasi


bluecommunitysustainability profile image

this is inspiring... thanks for sharing