by newsdev



Driveshaft is a Sinatra application built to turn Google Spreadsheets and Google Documents into JSON with the click of a button.


For the full user guide, please refer to the documentation. Or, if you're somewhat familiar with Ruby applications and Google Authentication / S3, use this quickstart guide to get up and running.

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Be sure to have the following system dependencies installed:

# Git, Ruby, Node
$ brew install git node ruby

# Bundler
$ gem install bundler

Clone the repository and resolve app dependencies

$ git clone
$ cd driveshaft
$ npm install
$ bundle install

Environmental Variables

Driveshaft uses environmental variables for configuration. Set the following variables either at runtime on the commandline, or in your ~/.bash_profile.

Create a service account to authenticate against the Google API. You will need to set up a Google Developers Project with the Drive API enabled. Then create a set of credentials. Choose a service account key, and download the contents as JSON.

Store the JSON file on your computer (or your deployed environment), and set GOOGLE_APPLICATION_CREDENTIALS to the filepath where it is stored.


Required for S3 access. Use credentials that have access to any S3 buckets you wish to use.


Driveshaft settings:

DRIVESHAFT_SETTINGS_MAX_VERSIONS="5" # set to a maximum number of previous file versions to keep on S3
DRIVESHAFT_SETTINGS_INDEX_FOLDER="****" # a Google Team Drive folder ID

Run the app locally

$ puma



Documentation is available on the gh-pages branch. To view or contribute to the docs, checkout that branch, and run the following to start the documentation server:

gem install jekyll
jekyll server


Questions / comments / feature requests / concerns? Please use the Issues page.


Released at the OpenNews Code Convening at the 2015 Write The Docs conference, with the support of the Knight Foundation and The Mozilla Foundation.


The documentation and code are licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0.

Copyright 2015 The New York Times Company.