I’m a teacher-turned-developer actively searching my first software engineer job during the pandemic after graduating from Hackbright Academy. As a bootcamp new grad, I am lucky to get an internship opportunity to develop a gmail add-on product at dialoggBox to gain my first industry experience and learn how to work with stakeholders.
My article will be composed of three parts:
What service do dialoggBox and this gmail add-on provide?
What was my experience using Google Apps Script to build an add-on product?
How did I develop each section of the gmail add-on?
The actual details of the add-on developed by the author, Nancy Dai, are promised in a follow-up post but this post serves as a useful insight into the main things to look out for when developing Gmail Add-ons.
It’s always nice to see members of the community contribute new resources. The latest comes from a growing list of videos produced by Chanel Greco Founder & CEO of saperis. These videos are designed to show how repetitive tasks in G Suite can be automated using Google Apps Script. Chanel has lots of other G Suite problem solving solutions posted on the saperis YouTube channel.
I’m sure for many pro Google Sheets users when you look at a Google Sheet what you see on screen is different for what you ‘see’ in your mind. Researchers from Coburg University, Microsoft Research and the University of Cambridge have potentially bridged this gap showing what Google Sheets can look like virtual reality (VR).
Whilst the video embedded above is not explicitly about Google Apps Script, I think it’s always worth keeping an eye on the horizon to see what the future might bring (you might want to skip through to 05:12 to see what I mean). You can also read the full research paper, in which the researchers explain how they used the Google Sheets API to build the experimental interface in the Unity game engine.
For Google Apps Script developers I’m sure you’ll be able to see how this solution could also benefited from the built-in SpreadsheetApp methods like getCurrentCell() and activate(), rather than using the the Sheet API, which reported as a limitation that haas reported in the research paper:
Since the Google Sheets API exposes no functionality to track client-side interactions, operations of users with the web page were tracked inside Unity. In particular, tracking of cell selection was implemented by constructing virtual-cells in the Unity space using oriented bounding boxes, and spatially position them in their corresponding places to fit the spreadsheet texture. Tracking of the pen and the Unity collision detection mechanism is used to detect whether the pen tip lies inside a certain cell.
This add-on makes it easy to move high-value emails into your other apps with just a click, without ever leaving Gmail.
You can use the add-on to create customized one-click workflows that give you seamless productivity—by moving important messages out of a private inbox and into a shared tool like Slack, for example, or by routing emails to apps like Asana to streamline your project management.
Following on from our recent repost of Zapier’s Google Sheets app of the day, Zapier are continuing their love of Google Apps Script with a new Gmail Add-on. The source code for this add-on is proprietary but again useful to see firms investing in G Suite solutions for the marketplace.
Created by Andrew Roberts and Alejo Grigera Sutro this library will make it easier to adopt test-driven development with your Google Apps Script projects. The site is worth an explore to see what is possible…
Need your spreadsheet to do a specialized task, such as detecting and deleting duplicate rows automatically? You can build and publish custom add-ons with the Google Apps Script to take your spreadsheets to the next level. Don’t know code? Browse the Google Sheets add-on store to see what features others have built.
Always nice to see other organisations highlight Google Apps Script.
Stack Overflow in 2023: Predicting with ARIMA and BigQuery – Can you predict the top Stack Overflow tags of 2023? BigQuery makes this easy, with its new support for training time-series analysis models with ARIMA.
Felipe mentioned in a tweet that the prediction was Google Apps Script was to continue to grow:
Programming languages trends, by % of Stack Overflow views:
Talk presented at 24hrs of Google Cloud Talks by DevRel on 23 June 2020 by Martin Hawksey
Kanshi Tanaike is a prolific Google Apps Script developer and we’ve often featured solutions are reports that Tanaike has shared. With this in mind Tanaike’s list of Google Apps Script resources is well worth a browse.
It’s a one-man operation, so it’s just me. I’ve been playing around in Google, and they have a really cool service called Google Apps Script, and basically it’s a little programming language that lets me automate their services. So I’ve been writing a code that triggers the emails.
There’s not much detail as to how Apps Script was used in this art installation but it’s always nice to see script and art combine. The project is described as:
In a futuristic world, where the integration of human memories and computer cores has created artificially intelligent androids, companies are mass-recruiting employees to fast-track production. You, the listener, are hired to be an integral part of the quality-control in the emotional development sector. The Rex Project (workshop presentation) is an immersive, virtual, bite-size theatrical experiment that takes place in real time (over 11 days), and is presented entirely through audio-recordings and online platforms.
Firebase Realtime Database is a cloud-hosted NoSQL database. Data is stored as JSON and can be accessed in your Web, iOS, Android app using Google’s Firebase SDK. But, Google doesn’t provide such SDK for Apps Script. This library solves that problem. It gives you Firebase SDK for Apps Script.
Nice Google Apps Script library from Mani Doraisamy that makes it easy to read/write data from a Firebase Realtime Database. The site also highlights the performance gain of writing this library from the V8 runtime compared to the older FirebaseApp library shared by Romain Vialard. Mani’s code is open source and if you have issues, feedback or contributions you can add these via the Github repo.
The training in The Increase Your Google App Productivity with Google Script Bundle can show you all you need to know to navigate the entire scene like a pro.
The training starts the introductory level Google Apps Script Complete Course: Beginner to Advanced. Here, even first time users get a velvet glove experience learning Script, how it operates and the ways you can use it to power up your app projects immediately.
For those of you who track Google Apps Script with Google Alerts your inbox is probably full of notifications about this Google Apps Script course provided by Google Developers Expert Laurence Svekis. Don’t delay to get this course discount…
SheetsCon 2020 was the world’s first, dedicated online conference for Google Sheets users on 11th – 12th March 2020.
We had 11 world-class experts talk about how they craft solutions using Google Sheets and G Suite.
Over the course of two jam-packed days, we had everything from deep-dive tutorials on specific topics to cutting-edge solutions across different industries. We had 1-on-1 networking opportunities, roundtable discussion rooms with other professionals and an Expo Hall with vendors at the forefront of the Google Sheets movement.
Listen to all the replays and access all the templates when you enroll for free.
Whilst this was Google Sheets focused there are a number of sessions that cover Google Apps Script and G Suite Add-on development. As well as the replays there are a number of linked resources you can also use.
Benchmark: Loop for Array Processing using Google Apps Script with V8 – submit.md
Kanshi Tanaike has published some useful benchmarks looking at the process time for various loop methods comparing the old Google Apps Script runtime with V8. Something to keep in mind that while there are performance improvements there is a cost as calls to G Suite services:
The conversation includes Ben’s usage of automated sentiment analysis of feedback from his courses.
Come and celebrate Google Sheets at SheetsCon 2020, the world’s first, dedicated online conference for Google Sheets users.
Listen to world-class experts talk about how they craft solutions using Google Sheets and G Suite.
Over the course of two jam-packed days, you’ll hear everything from deep-dive tutorials on specific topics to cutting-edge solutions across different industries. You’ll have the chance to network with other professionals and meet vendors at the forefront of the Google Sheets movement.
Looks like a great event being hosted by Ben Collins for Google Sheets users. Click through to the SheetsCon 2020 website for the full agenda and free registration
Google Cloud has acquired AppSheet. Do I care? At first I thought, “Not really, it’s just interesting news.”
I guess that I do care in the sense that I want to be valued as a programmer, and no-code development feels like programmers are being thrown away in favor of something else. The driving force behind this is development costs. Even if an independent programmer only charged $5 dollars an hour, in two hours the customer would have paid $10 dollars, which is twice as much money as the $5 a month AppSheet plan.
It was recently announced that Google has acquired AppSheet a low-code platform for business users that lets you build applications that can integrate into a variety of sources including Google Sheets. This has resulted in an interesting thread on the Google Apps Script Community Google Group linked to from the source link at the end of this post, in particular, impact on Apps Script developers. On the one hand you can argue that products like AppSheet, with there low/no code environments remove the need for developers. However, the general consensus on the thread is rather than removing developer opportunities it may in fact create them with opportunities to extend the basic functionality of AppSheets. This comment from Alan Wells in particular caught my eye:
What AppsSheet does, is increase the number of apps and code being created, as opposed to lots of business creating no apps at all. It’s kind of like, you need a lot more mechanics if everyone can afford a car. If only the rich can afford a car, then there aren’t going to be many car mechanic jobs. So, I think that AppSheet is filling a need, which increases the number of apps. Some of those apps will crash, and they’ll need the equivalent of an auto body technician to repair the damage. This is part of the evolution of the computing industry.
You can join in on this discuss using the following link:
An interesting analysis prepared by Kanshi Tanaike of the ‘google-apps-script’ tag usage on Stackoverflow which shows that since 2016 there has been an increase in questions related to the tag with a bigger increase in 2019. Clicking through to the source post you’ll also see the data shows that new users asking questions about Google Apps Script is growing quicker than those who are answering them.