Data 24/7 | Fitbit

Back in March 2016 I was chatting to Andy Kriebel of the information lab uk (twitter: @vizwizbi), and co-founder of the awarding winning social data project #makeovermonday. We were discussing what a pain it is to multi post to various platforms such as your blog platform, LinkedIn and twitter and he introduced me to IFTTT…. wow who new this existed?

IFTTT is a free web-based service that allows users to create chains of simple conditional statements, called “recipes” now called “applets”, which are triggered based on changes to other web services such as Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Blogger and WordPress. IFTTT is an abbreviation of “If This Then That”. What a bloomin fantastic app this is. 

Having tried out a few of the “recipes” and used it to auto push blog posts onto Twitter and LinkedIn. I also stumbled accross a recipe for auto populating a google spreadsheet with daily Fitbit data. I must say this got me a little bit excited! So I kicked this off and thought… that data might come in handy at some point!!

Roll for forward a couple of months…

I’d been playing about with the new API functionality in tableau desktop 9.3 happily utilising some of Craig Bloodworths great work on web connectors . Whilst connecting Fitbit to tableau desktop is frankly brilliant, what I really wanted to do was monitor my Fitbit activity on my iphone using a dashboard I designed to my spec, showing the information I wanted to see. To do this automatically, I needed to host this dashboard on tableau public. But unfortunately you can’t get API’s to keep updated automatically on tableau public…..

Roll forward to life with tableau 10….

Tableau 10 now allows you to connect direct into google sheets. What Tableau hasn’t (to my knowledge) done a whole lot of shouting about is that when you upload a workbook with Google Sheets as a data source to Tableau Public, Tableau will offer to keep the data in your dashboard up to date with your Sheets (BIG smiley face). This way you can append/modify data and have it flow through automatically into your dashboard. Bonza!

How to:

Use Google Sheets as the data source(s) for your Tableau workbook – it works in the same way as using Excel, with the exception that you’ll need to sign in to your Google account.

Create an extract / extracts of your Google Sheets data sources. When you publish to Tableau Public, Tableau will offer to embed your Google credentials and keep your data refreshed for you.

IFTTT and V10, What did this mean for me?

Finding IFTTT and recent developments with tableau’s google sheet connectivity was just what I needed to achieve a dynamic link into my Fitbit data whilst hosting my own dashboard on tableau public.

The Fitbit monitoring brief:

  • Simple dashboard to be viewed specifically on my iPhone
  • Week by week monitoring of average daily excercise
  • Month by month monitoring of average daily excercise
  • Flexibility of alternating between steps, active minutes and distance traveled

Here it is:

 Fitbit dashboard

Hope you found this useful.

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