Hopefully you are already subscribed to the official Google Workspace Developer Newsletter. If not, or in case you missed the last edition the headline story highlights some new documentation to help developers understand and compare different options for extending the Google Workspace UI:
A major challenge for developers is understanding their options for extending the UI of Google Workspace: Google Workspace Add-ons, Editor Add-ons, Chat apps, Drive apps, and more! Each option has unique strengths, challenges, and limitations. Until now, there hasn’t been a central place for developers to learn what’s possible for extending the Google Workspace UI and to compare the limitations that exist in terms of coding options, UI frameworks, and which options can be published to the Google Workspace Marketplace.
The page includes a nice table included in this post as the feature image.
Imagen: An photo image which has a laptop with a spreadsheet application which appears to have rays of light
This is the second part exploring the GenAI capabilities in Google Sheets. In this part learn how you can make an Enhanced Smart Fill for Google Sheets
Google recently announced the latest feature for Duet AI for Google Workspace with Enhanced Smart Fill, which uses GenAI in Google Sheets to generate content based on data and the patterns entered by the user.
Continuing a previous post exploring the PaLM 2 API and LLM capabilities in Google Sheets, this post looks provides a Google Sheet template for experimenting with LLM prompts and spreadsheet data, including how you could make a ‘Enhanced Smart Fill’-like star review generator.
The post includes everything you need to get started, with you only having to make your own MakerSuite API key.
From one simple prompt with Duet AI for AppSheet you are able to create a well structured application.
I recently had the pleasure of the opportunity to speak at DevFest Scotland. My topic was how you can use code with Google’s ‘no-code’ solution AppSheet. You can see some of the ways this is achievable in my shared slides. Whilst there are coding opportunities with AppSheet and having some coding/data schema knowledge is useful, I would argue that this is increasingly becoming less important.
In this post on the CTS Medium I share how Duet AI for AppSheet has hugely reduced the entry point for app creation. As part of this I share how a simple request to the Duet AI for AppSheet assistant of ‘an easy way for volunteers to borrow a laptop’ becomes the starting point for a well structured application. Having introduced AppSheet to a number of customers I can’t emphasise enough how big a step this is in the democratisation of app creation. Exciting times!
[Thanks to Christian Schalk and the AppSheet team for early access to Duet AI for AppSheet and providing input on the source post].
An intense 48-hour tour of AppSheet, Google’s flagship nocode tool, from the perspective of a newcomer to the platform (part 4/4).
The forth and final part in Pablo Felip’s AppSheet in 48 hours series 😟. I’m sure there will be more from Pablo on AppSheet, but the rumour is he’ll be next publishing some Apps Script posts.
For the final part Pablo discusses the different types of actions available in AppSheet, including system actions and user-defined actions, and how to use them to create custom functionality in apps. There is a lot you can do with actions from writing data, navigation and more.
Something else touched upon in Pablo’s post is the intelligent assistant available throughout AppSheet. Using the assistant to help you create actions can also save you a lot of time, particular with toggling actions for yes/no checkboxes. If you can find the good way to describe what you want the assistant can handle creating the action, related icons and behaviour to toggle the appearance of one of the actions.
In Google Apps Script, the ability to track and record actions, errors, and performance metrics is crucial for both developers and users. However, the built-in logging mechanisms often fall short regarding accessibility and ease of use. This is where Local Google Apps Script Logging comes into play, offering a streamlined and integrated approach to capturing script activities.
Google Apps Script has a couple of logging options, including the native Apps Script execution log, to setting up a Cloud Developer Console project and using Cloud Logging and Error Reporting. There are a couple of alternative Apps Script logging solutions out there, like Peter Herrmann’s BetterLog. Here’s the latest alternative Apps Script logging solution from Dimitris Paxinos called LocalLogger.
LocalLogger has some nice features including built-in severity colour coding and customisable email notifications. Even if you don’t need a alternative logging solution the code is well structured and includes a way to mimic an Enum list. You can find all the code and a video explaining LocalLogger via the source link 👇🏻
This is a sample script for copying the date object between Google Spreadsheets with the different time zones using Google Apps Script.
As I’ve previously mentioned working with dates, times and time zones can often be a bit of a headache. If you’d like to learn more about some of the challenges of dealing with ‘big balls of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey… stuff’ I recommend watching Comptuerphile’s Problem with Time & Timezones.
This post from Kanshi Tanaike highlights a couple of approaches for handling date/time objects in Google Apps Script when you are using Google Sheets.
A thorough introduction to Views, including their position (Primary, Menu, Reference), as well as user defined vs. and auto-generated. There’s also coverage on the new visual editing feature introduced in August!
Here’s a fun and useful take from Ghislain Sanjuan explaining how you can restore deleted calendar events using Google Apps Script. To restore the events data is used from BigQuery Workspace Logs. For those unfamiliar Google Workspace Admins on supported editions of Workspace can setup a streaming export of activity data to BigQuery. This can be incredibly useful in situations where you need to review audit and usage data and in this scenario use it to restore data.
There have been a number of recent updates and announcements around Smart Chips and other integrations to Google Docs, as well as Sheets and Slides. Some have just gone into the Google Workspace Developer Preview Program (DPP), whilst in the case of AppSheet smart chips for Google Docs they are generally available!
AppSheet smart chips for Google Docs
Starting with AppSheet smart chips for Google Docs if you already had the AppSheet Google Docs add-on installed you already have AppSheet smart chips enabled. More details including a link to the Workspace Marketplace Add-on are included in the related Workspace Updates post. The AppSheet smart chips are great way to integrate some of your app functionality in your Google Docs.
Preview links with smart chips in Sheets and Slides
We’ve had custom smart chip link previews for Google Docs for some time, but Google have recently added the same functionality to Sheets and Slides. If you have already developed link previews for Google Docs the good news is there isn’t much more you need to do to enable these for Sheets and Slides (mostly updating your manifest). More details are included on the updated Preview links with smart chips documentation page.
Create third-party resources from the @ menu
Finally, also gone into preview is third-party resource integration which you can use to “let users quickly create resources, such as tasks, support cases, or issues, in your service right from Google Docs. The new resource is then inserted into Google Docs as a smart chip.”. You can read more in the create third-party resources from the @ menu documentation page.
In the case of the preview features a reminder that this is your opportunity to test and give feedback to Google. Links to join and provide feedback are included in the Google Workspace Developer Preview page. Enjoy!
Imagen: photo looking over the shoulder of a robot looking at a screen with chat messages and hand writing notes
This tutorial shows how to make a Google Chat app that responds to incidents in real time. When responding to an incident, the app creates and populates a Chat space, facilitates incident resolution with messages, slash commands, and dialogs, and uses AI to summarize the incident response in a Google Docs document.
Paraphrasing noted Google Workspace Developer Expert, Romain Vialard, GenAI has made Google Chat apps a tangible prospect. This tutorial from the Google Developers site is a great example of how you can use Google’s Vertex AI with Google Chat. The tutorial will help you create a Google Apps Script powered Chat app that is able to summaries the messages in a Google Chat space.
There is a lot to take away from this example, but here are some of the headlines:
Setting a Google Cloud Project to use the new Google Chat Advanced Service for Apps Script
Setup and code for making calls to Google’s Vertex AI PaLM API (LLM) from Google Apps Script
Using the responses from Vertex AI to generate new assets.
There is a lot more you can do from this starting point, but hopefully it gives you a great starting point.