SMS and Google Sheets with Python

Student presentations in my advanced class are usually very interesting, and we all learn about new libraries and tools.

This week, Ryan S. showed an app that a soon-to-be-married fellow built to manage invitations and RSVPs for his wedding (read about the app).

“Sending an SMS or MMS is one of the most common tasks performed on the Twilio Platform” (see example).

The Twilio API is quite a Swiss Army Knife for making phone calls and sending/receiving SMS messages! Read more about SMS and Twilio.

The Python-happy groom also used gspread, a Python client library for the Google Sheets API (docs and GitHub).

Just another demonstration that you can do anything with Python!

UF Data Science and Informatics

UF DSI is a student organization that spans multiple disciplines and colleges at the University of Florida. They have a website and a Facebook group. They have a large, active board and are devoted to helping students advance their skills.

To that end, they offer free workshops throughout the academic year. Workshops cover Python, R, SQL, and data visualization. Links to DSI GitHub repos for each workshop series can be found on the website, and dates and times for workshops come through the Facebook group.

Jupyter Notebooks

To install: Install (instructions at Note that pip or pip3 install works. It’s on that page, after the Anaconda part.

You do not have to use Anaconda, which installs a lot of extra things.

You can install into a virtualenv.

After installing (with virtualenv activated, if you installed it that way), in Terminal, at bash prompt:

jupyter notebook

On Mac OS and Chrome, a new browser tab opens automatically, and you’re in the same folder where you were in the Terminal. If you have someone else’s notebook or a folder full of notebooks, you can toss them into that folder using Finder, just like any files.

Screenshot: Jupyter Notebook

Above: Two folders and one notebook file. Below: A notebook, open for work.

Screenshot: Jupyter Notebook

Create a new notebook file: The New button is on the far right side.

The thing I find hard to remember: You have to press Shift-Return to run the code in one of the boxes, or to save markdown you wrote. On the Cell menu, there’s an option to Run All.

Menus and icons: Very self-explanatory. Explore them.

File menu: “Revert to checkpoint” lets you roll back to the previous save.

File menu: “Close and Halt.” Saves the current notebook file and closes it.

To quit Jupyter, go to the Terminal and Control-C (not Command).