Automated Google Calendar Reminders Over Gmail26 Mar 2016
I do instructor scheduling for the San Francisco Kendo Dojo. Google Calendar and creating events that repeat monthly solves most of the scheduling puzzle. But I was sometimes getting questions about who was teaching and when. I decided weekly reminders directly to instructors’ email inboxes with the week’s schedule was the way to keep everyone up-to-date. In keeping with 2016’s automation goal, I decided to automate these weekly reminders.
kendo-emailer is a Java-based project that uses the Google Calendar and Gmail API. It pulls events from the kendo instructor calendar, creates a nice email for any events within the next 2 weeks, and sends it to all the instructors. For anyone teaching in the coming week, their last name is put in the subject. The idea here is that even if someone does not open the email, they will hopefully see their name in the subject line!
I use CronniX to schedule weekly emails by running this project on my home server. To ensure I don’t email instructors anything weird I have the project email only me (preview mode) on Friday afternoon. If everything looks good, I don’t need to fix anything for the email sent to everyone (production mode) on Saturday. This preview/production system is a cheap and easy way to let me “deploy” code that impacts people.
I’m happy to report that the reminder emails have been very well-received! I generalized kendo-emailer to share it without compromising personal information (e.g. instructor names and emails are pulled from a CSV file that is gitignored). I hope it’s helpful for anyone looking to do some automation with Google Calendar and Gmail.