AppsScriptPulse

SuperFetch plugin – Firebase client for Google Apps Script – Desktop Liberation

Another in the SuperFetch (a proxy for Apps Script UrlFetchApp) plugins series, Frb is a plugin to access a Firebase Real time database.

If you want to take your use of APIs a little further Bruce Mcpherson is continuing his series exploring his recently published SuperFetch library showing how a client can be setup to interact with Firebase. As Bruce highlights: “Firebase is pretty fast, so there’s not a huge speed benefit from caching, but if you’re on a pay as go plan, SuperFertch caching can reduce your Firebase costs.”

The source post provided by Bruce provides everything to need to set up the SuperFetch client and Firebase project.

Source: SuperFetch plugin – Firebase client for Apps Script – Desktop Liberation

SuperFetch – a proxy enhancement to Apps Script UrlFetch – Desktop Liberation

I’ve written a few articles about JavaScript proxying on here, and I’m a big fan. I also use a lot of APIs, and it can be time consuming to keep on checking the REST documentation for how to call them and deal with the UrlFetch responses. SuperFetch is a proxy for UrlFetchApp to help.

Bruce Mcpherson has been busy again and this latest post introduces ‘SuperFetch’ the new Google Apps Script library which works as a proxy for UrlFetchApp . SuperFetch has some useful additional functionality including: built in caching and compression, standard response format and error handling, and built-in JSON parsing.

SuperFetch also has some useful features often required when using third party APIs including delaying between requests and rate limiting. Bruce has promised some additional posts detailing more complex API configuration options including authentication.

Source: SuperFetch – a proxy enhancement to Apps Script UrlFetch – Desktop Liberation

Tips, tricks and scripts for automating your Gmail inbox with Google Apps Script

Image credit: rixxo.com

One the powerful features of Google Apps Script is with a couple of lines of code you can quickly start automating and organising your inbox. For people just getting started with Apps Script Google provide a introductory codelab ‘Accessing Google Sheets, Maps, and Gmail in 4 lines of code!’ and for those wanting to do a bit more the Google Workspace Developer documentation includes a ‘create a mail merge‘ solution.

Mail merge solutions are bit or a reoccurring theme in the world of Google Apps Script. In 2011 the official G Suite Developers Blog featured 4 ways to do Mail Merge using Google Apps Script with community contributions from James Ferreira, Steve Webster and Romain Vialard. The post references Romain’s ‘Yet another Mail Merge’ script, which he went on to develop as a very successful YAMM add-on before refocusing on the Mergo Mail Merge. Even further back when Google Apps Script was officially launched in 2009 this included a introductory video with a mail merge example.

A well as Google official channels the ability to automate your Gmail inbox has regularly caught the attention of the wider tech press. In 2013, Computerworld highlighted Jonathan Kim’s ‘Gmail No Response’ script which goes through your inbox and finds recent emails where you were the last respondent. Jonathan’s blog post is no longer available but the Gmail No Response’ script is on GitHub where it has been forked 100 times.

One of those forks is a variation by Christopher Gee published in Find emails with no reply automatically in Gmail which:

runs through the emails in your inbox and checks your outgoing messages for a question mark. Once it finds these emails it checks to see if they are in a date range and then sees if you have had a response. If you have not had a reply to your email containing a “?” then it adds the label “No Response”. You can then quickly see all of the threads for which you are awaiting a reply.

If you are interested in more Gmail script solutions then I highly recommend you have a look at content shared by Amit Agarwal. This doesn’t just include Apps Script solutions but also a number of Gmail tips and tricks. As many of these feature the way you can search your Gmail inbox they can also be used with GmailApp.search() or if using the Gmail Advanced Service Gmail.Users.Messages.list . A nice example of where a Gmail user tip can be used in Apps Script is Amit’s post which includes how to Search Emails by Specific Time in Gmail.

The list of examples could go on (and I’ve not even mentioned Stonian’s recent post Keep your Gmail inbox size in check with google app scripts :). Do you have a favourite ‘tip, trick or script’ for Gmail and Google Apps Script?

Sources:

Find precedents of cells with formulas in Google Sheets using Apps Script — part 1

enumerate a range in google sheets using google apps script and use that to find precedents of cells that contain a formula.

Let’s start with the ubiquity of spreadsheets. I’ve long felt that spreadsheets were everywhere but until a post from Hjalmar Gislason I had never seen it in numbers and it made for interesting reading:

  • 1.2 billion people use Microsoft Office (WindowsCentral, March 2016), odds are most of them have at least access to Microsoft Excel.
  • Microsoft believes that 1 in 5 adults in the world use Excel (“What’s new in Microsoft Excel”, Sept 2017)
  • Excel is the number one skill mentioned in job ads, mentioned in approximately 1 in 3 job ads! (Indeed.com Job Trends, June 2017).
  • In 2010, RescueTime found that about 25% of computer users used Excel on a daily basis and that about 2% of all time spent on a computer anywhere was spent using Microsoft Excel.

As useful as spreadsheets are the underlying data structure can cause problems. This is covered in more detail in Patrick Burns’ Spreadsheet Addiction, which amongst other things highlights the ambiguity of value and formula:

Primarily the problem is that some cells have hidden meaning. When you see a number in a cell, you don’t know if that is a pure number or a number that is derived from a formula in the cell. While this distinction is usually immaterial, it can be critical.

The leading example is sorting. When rows are sorted, usually it is desired to sort the numbers as they are. However, it will be the formulas that are sorted. To humans the numbers are the primary thing, and the formulas are just something in the background. To the spreadsheet the formulas are primary, and the numbers are mere results.

This is a long winded way to highlight some work from Sourabh Choraria which is exploring how the relationship between formulas and cells can be extracted in Google Sheets. As part of this Sourabh is looking at how the getFormulasR1C1 method in SpreadsheetApp can be processed to find precedent cells. There are some very funky use of regex to parse formulas which is worth spending some time to digest.

Source: find precedents of cells with formulas in google sheets using apps script — part 1

Google Apps Script developer notes on using the new Google Forms REST API

Google recently announced the general availability of the new Google Forms API. For developers familiar with Google Apps Script for some time it has been possible to create, access, and modify Google Forms through the Forms Service. In this post I will highlight why Google Apps Script developers might want to use the new Forms API and some resources I’ve found useful for working with the new API in Apps Script projects. As part of this I’d like to share my experience of using the Forms API within a Google Forms Add-on and some factors to consider if you are particularly interested in watching for Google Form edits.

The Google Forms REST API provides an alternative method for managing Google Forms and responses. For Apps Script developers it is likely you’ll want to stick with using the Forms Service, but the new API is useful to know about as it opens up some new ways for managing, editing and watching Google Forms.

Source: Google Apps Script developer notes on using the new Google Forms REST API

How to force subscribe a user in your domain to a Google Calendar with Google Apps Script [and Domain Wide Delegation] – Yagisanatode

Image credit: Scott Donald (yagisanatode.com)

If you have tried to seamlessly subscribe a user to a Google Calendar as part of an automation workflow in Google Apps Script and discovered that all that happens is that the user gets an automated email request to join, and then it is up to them to accept the calendar invitation to add it to their live calendar list, you’re in the right place. … How to force subscribe a user in your domain to a Google Calendar using Google Apps Script and Service Accounts.

Scott Donald always crams in lots of very useful tips and guidance in his posts. In this latest piece by Scott you as well as learning about the Google Calendar Advanced Service you can also learn about service accounts and domain wide delegation setup, which enables super powers (and responsibilities). If you are interested in learning more about service accounts in Google Cloud Console Scott has included a selection of other community contributions at the end of his post.

Source: How to force subscribe a user in your domain to a Google Calendar with Google Apps Script. – Yagisanatode

Opportunities and workflows inlining Google Apps Script libraries – Desktop Liberation

This article will look at some of the opportunities you’ll have when you pull in your libraries inline rather than leaving them as references to external files, all without leaving the IDE

For the more advanced Google Apps Script developer this is a great article to get your teeth into which should also hopefully give you some tips to help manage and maintain complex Apps Script projects.

Source: Opportunities and workflows inlining Apps Script libraries – Desktop Liberation

Pull libraries inline to your Google Apps Script project – Desktop Liberation

Inline converter

This piece of work was both challenging and a lot of fun to produce, and it’s something I’ve wanted to get round to for a long time. Apps Script libraries are a great way to reuse work you and others have done, but you have to be careful that they don’t get out of date. Libraries that refer to other libraries are complex to keep up to date, and worst of all they may disappear or their permissions change at any time.

Google recommend you don’t use them in Add-ons, and although they focus on ‘load efficiency’ (I did a study on this a few years back and found absolutely no evidence of a measurable load penalty for libraries: see Measuring library load speed), the above are probably better reasons to bundle all the code you use in your app or Add-on.

This builds on the work from Import, export and mix container bound and standalone Apps Script projects and I release it as a library (which you can of course use to inline it to your own project if you want!)

As noted by Bruce there may be a number of reasons you might want to inline libraries as part of your Apps Script projects, particularly if you are reusing third-party libraries where there is a risk the code could disappear.

Source: Pull libraries inline to your Apps Script project – Desktop Liberation

Google Workspace Editor Add-on for encrypting/decrypting columns in Google Sheets – Desktop Liberation

In ‘Merging sheets from multiple sources and encrypting selected columns’ I published some code for selectively copying columns from multiple input spreadsheets/sheets to create summary sheets, and optionally encrypting columns. The idea was to distribute the same sheet to multiple people, along with private key(s) to decrypt columns to which they should have access. This seems a pretty handy thing to make into an Editor Add-on. I’m too impatient and life’s too short to bother getting into the Add-on publishing process, so I haven’t officially released this one personally, but here is a fully functional decryption Add-on that any of you are welcome to fiddle with and publish yourself.

Having previously featured some of Bruce Mcphersons previous posts on encrypting/decrypting Google Sheets data it seems fitting to share the post containing the final add-on. Even if you are not interested in the add-on’s functionality this post can still be worth a look to see how Bruce structures an add-on and uses Vue and Vuex to create the UI rendered with HTMLService .

Source: Add-on for decrypting columns in Google Sheets – Desktop Liberation

Generate code verifier and challenge for OAuth2 with PKCE [Using the Twitter API v2 as user with OAuth2 in Google Apps Script]

here’s how you can generate a cryptographically random code verifier, hash it using sha256 & derive it’s base64 encoded challenge in google apps script.

Continuing the crypto theme Sourabh Choraria has been geeking out with Proof Key for Code Exchange (PKCE) OAuth 2.0 authentication flows which be used in the new Twitter API when making requests on behalf of users.

If you are unfamiliar with PKCE, you can find out more in Okta’s description on how to use PKCE to Make Your Apps More Secure. You can follow Sourabh Choraria post to find out more about the Apps Script implementations of this and the good news for Twitter/Apps Script users is the sample is now committed to the Google Workspace OAuth2 Apps Script library samples as Twitter.gs

Source: generate code verifier & challenge for OAuth2 with PKCE

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