Google Forms Do Not Work For Workflow

Google Forms is terrific for gathering information, but it sucks as a workflow tool. Today I received a Word document that instructed people to fill it out, print it, collect three signatures on the paper copy, scan that, and return it by email. No way to track progress; no record of what’s happening, but partial and unsynchronized records in both paper and email trails.

With Google Forms, we can be sure the entire chain from initiator to final approval is handled by authenticated individuals who are signed into the organization’s Google account. And we can collect form responses in a spreadsheet.

But we can’t populate the form with information from a database that provides, for example, the identities of the people who have to approve or review the user’s request. No drop-down lists generated from a table or no-sql document list somewhere.

And there will have to be code to trigger notifications to alert reviewers that they need to look at / approve a request.

For now it looks like we have to use Google Sheets for our “CMS” and HtmlService to generate the form(s) and GoogleScript code to interact with the users.

I’ve done most of this before for our “Assessment Document Repository.” It’s a bit slow, but at least the capability is there.

My first TODO is to update a Google Sheet when someone clicks a link that says “approve” in an email message.

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