Jul 28, 2021 - 3 minute read

Cell Shield

I built https://cellshield.info to scratch an itch. Why can’t I embed a spreadsheet cell?

You can click on that badge and see the sheet that is the data backing the badge.

It is useful for embedding a cell from an informal database that is a Google Spreadsheet atop of some README, wiki, forum post, or web page. Spreadsheets are still how many projects are managed and this can be used to embed a small preview of important or attention grabbing data.

It is a simple Go server that uses Google’s API to output JSON that https://shields.io can read. Mix it in with some simple VueJS generator front-end to take public spreadsheet URLS and tada.

I picked to base my implementation on shields.io’s as they make really pretty badges and have a lot of nice documentation and options.

I run it on Cloud Run to keep the costs low and availability high. It also utilizes Google’s implementation of authorization to get access to the Sheets API.

The badge generator web UI can also make BBCode for embedding (along with modern Markdown and so on).

I’ve already used it for this and that. The former outputs a running bounty total and the latter is community annotation progress.

A major Game Boy development contest is using it labels to display the prize pool amount: https://itch.io/jam/gbcompo21

Why I built this?

I built it for the Comma10K annotation project. I contributed the original badge which attempted to use a script that was used in the repo to analyze the completion progress. Unfortunately, this kept on diverging from the actual progress because the human elements kept changing the structure and organization and I had the badge removed. The only truth is what was on the spreadsheet.

Completion Status


Compared to my other projects, I don’t think the popularity will be too good for this project though. I think it might have a chance to spread via word of mouth but it’s not everyday that a large public collaborative project is born with a Google Spreadsheet managing it. The name isn’t that great either as it probably conflicts with anti-wireless hysteria. Also, it’s not like there’s an agreed upon community of Google Spreadsheet users to share this knowledge with.

I also shamelessly plugged it here but I think the question asker might be deceased:


At least it was viewed 2,000 times over the last two years.


It’s on Cloud Run. The cost to keep it running is low as it sometimes isn’t even running and the Sheets V4 API it uses was recently declared “enterprise-stable”. Because of this, it will be super easy to maintain and cheap to run. I don’t expect any more than $2 a month.