Add users to your Spark Room with Zapier and Google Sheets

Overview

Zapier, like If This Then That (IFTTT), is an app integration service or broker that lets you tie two (or more) cloud services together via their APIs. Zapier adds some additional items that make it more powerful than IFTTT like Multi-Step Zaps and filters. Zaps (equivalent to IFTTT’s recipes) are a trigger and an action that can occur on two different cloud services.

Multi-Step Zaps let you chain as many actions as you want to a single trigger. You can even do some complex manipulation the data that goes one from one service to another. Or have a trigger in one system affect many others.

Filters allow you to decide conditions of when to do the next Action. If the filter filter is true, the go on to the next Action. If its false, stop the Zap completely.

Unfortunately, both of these features are require an upgraded account. You will be shown how to create an account on Zapier if you don’t have one, and if you do have one, you should be able to extend your trials for another 14 days to get access to multi-step Zaps. https://zapier.com/users/extend-trial/

Create an Zapier Account

To begin you are going to need to create an account with Zapier at zapier.com.

  1. Open Mozilla/Chrome browser from your laptop and navigate to https://zapier.com/sign-up/

  2. Create your account by specifying your name, email address and a desired password.

  3. Decided if you want Zapier to send you email me about new features, then select Sign Up.

  4. You may select to get information about a few applications or simply skip the next 2 steps till you are back to the Explore Zap page.

Note: If you have already signed up for a Zapier account, you can extend your trial by 14 days to get back the Multi-step Zap and filter features. You can do so at https://zapier.com/users/extend-trial/

Make a Spark Room

Use the Spark developer page to create a new Spark room for this integration. Follow the same process as outlined in the Creating Spark Rooms, Adding Participants and Posting Messages lab. Remember using the API will allow you to create a room with just yourself. Give the room a name like “Zapier Integration.” Also go ahead and lock the room by switching to Spark and clicking the lock icon (this can also be done via the membership API).

Note: You can only lock a room if you have a paid for Spark account. If you do not, skip locking the room and set the moderator to No in Step 22 of making your Zap.

Create a Google Sheet

This example assumes that you have a google account you wish to use. The same methodology could be used with another similar product like Smart Sheets. You will manually populate your sheet with the people you are going to invite to a Spark room, but you could also use google forms.

  1. Open a new Mozilla/Chrome tab from your laptop and navigate to http://sheets.google.com

  2. Login to Google if necessary, then create a blank spreadsheet.

  3. Change the name of this spreadsheet to “Participant List.”

  4. Zapier assumes that the first row of a Google sheet contains column headings. Add “First Name”, “Last Name”, and “Email Address” into the first row of your sheet.

  5. When you test steps in Zapier, it will want to see that the spreadsheet already has the headers and some data in it (you can delete the data later). For now, put a fake account provided, Bob Smith (bsmith@labcollab.org) into the 2nd row.