New Tools Released
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been coding like crazy. The three biggest outcomes of this frenzy have been this new blog design (switched finally away from WordPress and took the plunge back into the world static sites using Hugo), a new Google Sheets add-on for managing Google Tag Manager containers and assets, and a Slack integration in GTM Tools. In this article, I’ll quickly introduce the last two, as I’m writing a separate article about the site redesign.
Slack integration for www.gtmtools.com
GTM Tools is a free set of web tools for managing your Google Tag Manager containers, tags, triggers, and variables. There’s a bunch of things you can do with the toolset, and I urge you to follow the link in the beginning of this paragraph to learn more, or simply go to https://www.gtmtools.com/ to start using the tool.
Anyway, a recent addition, inspired by Jeffrey Gomez’ idea in #measure Slack, was a Slack integration with your GTM container. What this means in practice is that once the integration is enabled, a bot named GTM Tools will enter the channel of your choice. Every 15 minutes, it will check if there’s a new, published version of the container you made the integration in, and if one is found, it will inform of this to the channel.
To enable the integration, you need to browse to a container page in GTM Tools, and then click the Click here to enable integration link. A modal dialog opens, which instructs you to add the GTM Tools service account email address as a Read user to the GTM container in question. You must do this for the integration to work - GTM Tools must be allowed to query the published version if you want it to inform you when a published version is created.
Once you’ve added the user, you will need to click the now activated Add to Slack button, which will take you to Slack’s own portal. There you’ll need to select the workspace and channel to which the GTM Tools bot will be added.
And then you’re good to go! You can test the integration by publishing the container, and then waiting for the next 15 minute interval to pass. The bot checks the container every 15 minutes on the hour, so :00, :15, :30, :45 and so on.
At some point I hope to develop the bot further, perhaps even adding conversational capabilities to it.
New Google Sheets add-on
One of the things I’ve been using the Google Tag Manager API for since it was introduced is documentation. Until recently, I’d been using a simple command-line Python script to output a CSV file of all the relevant fields.
However, GTM has a nifty integration with Apps Script, which means you can access the Google Tag Manager API using Google Sheets’ script editor, for example. And what better way to create and manage documentation than spreadsheets? Well, truthfully, I’m sure there are many better ways to do it, but Google Sheets has proven to be just fine for most of my documentation needs.
Anyway, I have written and published a Google Sheets add-on which lets you automatically generate documentation from any container you have access to. In addition to creating the documentation, you can also mass-update the “Notes” field in all your tags, triggers, and variables. So now there’s no excuses left NOT to document carefully what each tag, trigger, and variable does.
You can read all about the add-on from its dedicated tools page in this blog.
I would really like to get feedback on all my tools, so please drop me a comment in this article or in the relevant tools page.