Back to home.

Rethinking Databases: The Surprising Utility of Google Calendar

Bologna on 2023-08-27T11:54:00.000+02:00
by Angelo Reale
tags: databases, google

In the realm of data management and application development, we often gravitate towards the latest tools and technologies, sometimes overlooking the potential of the most basic applications right under our noses. One such underdog in this space is Google Calendar.

The Simplicity of Strings

Every time we set a new reminder or event in Google Calendar, we are essentially inputting a structured string of text. But what if, instead of merely noting down "Lunch with John at 1 PM," we structured it as "Meeting|Lunch with John|Priority:Medium|Location:Café Roma"? With this small shift, our simple event becomes a piece of structured data, waiting to be parsed and utilized.

Harnessing the Description Box

Beyond the event title, Google Calendar offers a description box. Most use it for notes or details about the event, but it has the potential for so much more. This space can be used for extended structured data, even in JSON format. By doing so, we can extract nuanced information, further transforming our calendar event into a data-rich entry.

Collaboration and Shared Data

Google Calendar's sharing feature allows multiple users to view and edit a calendar. By using the calendar as a shared database, teams can collaborate in real-time, ensuring that the data remains up-to-date and relevant.

Beyond Reminders: Integration and Automation

The calendar's real power shines when integrated with other tools. By connecting Google Calendar to platforms like Zapier, automated processes can be triggered based on structured event entries. This could involve sending out task reminders, updating other databases, or even generating reports.

A Fresh Perspective on Databases

This exploration into Google Calendar's potential as a makeshift database underscores an essential insight: Sometimes, we overcomplicate solutions. The power of basic primitives, like strings, can be harnessed in unique ways to cater to our needs. Before diving into complex database systems or investing in new software, it's worth considering how we can innovatively utilize the tools already available to us.

A Practical Application: The Cultural Agenda of Bologna

As an example of the versatility of Google Calendar, I embarked on a project to capture the essence of Bologna's cultural scene. Instead of just jotting down personal reminders, I've transformed my calendar into a dynamic cultural agenda for the city. From art exhibitions to theatre productions and historic tours, each event is meticulously structured, offering readers detailed insights into what Bologna has to offer. Beyond the event title, every description is rich with details, ensuring that those interested have all the information they need at their fingertips. This agenda not only serves as a testament to the city's vibrant cultural heartbeat but also showcases the untapped potential of Google Calendar as an information-rich platform. If you're curious to explore Bologna's cultural offerings through this unique lens, is the link to the agenda. Dive in and discover a blend of tradition, art, and innovation.