Wednesday, June 19, 2019

More Thought, Less Cost - Gift-of-a-Playlist

I have a vague recollection of a post from years ago where I suggested what a meaningful gift a YouTube playlist could be. I can't find it now, but the concept has stuck with me. Compiling music, How-To-Videos, movie clips, and other YouTube discoveries for a friend or loved one seems like a fun, frugal and thoughtful way to show you care without buying more stuff. Think of it as a YouTube powered mixtape.

With my oldest Brother's birthday coming up, I figured I'd finally try my idea out. I visited YouTube and started collecting up clips. Finding content was easy, the problem I ran into was there was no way to annotate my playlist. Just sending my brother a list of videos wasn't going to cut it. Each video needed a little explanation to provide context. I couldn't find a way to do this on YouTube so I whipped up my own solution.

I give you: Gift-of-a-Playlist.

Step 1: create and publish a Google Sheet with two columns: Video and Message. See this example.

Step 2: visit Gift-of-a-Playlist and enter the URL of your spreadsheet:

Step 3: choose the tab within the Google Spreadsheet:

Step 4: share the URL of the generated playlist. Here's the above example in playlist form.

You can find the source code for this little app here.

One neat feature is that the playlist you send remains connected to the spreadsheet. If you send the link and find a typo or think of another clip to add, you can update the spreadsheet and the link will reflect those changes.

Before I send my brother his now belated birthday gift, I've got one more feature to implement. I'd like to start off with the videos hidden and have a 'Reveal' button that shows them. Think of it as giving the person a chance to unwrap your virtual gift.

Happy gifting!

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