AppsScriptPulse

Discovering Google AppSheet in 48 hours | Part 1 (Data)

An intense 48-hour tour of AppSheet, Google’s flagship nocode tool, from the perspective of a newcomer to the platform (part 1/4).

When introducing people to AppSheet I like to remind them that whilst it is a no/low code solution, like many other products it still requires you factor in time to learn and understand the product. Spreadsheets are a great example of this there being aspects that are relatively intuitive but other areas like formulas where it requires time to understand how to best use them.

I find learning vicariously, through the eyes of others, helps me understand what other people value in a product. This first post in a series by Pablo Felip in ‘Discovering Google AppSheet in 48 hours’ is a great example of just that. There are three more parts to come, but in part 1 Pablo sets the scene sharing initial impressions and first learning from a weekend in AppSheet.

Perhaps not unsurprisingly data features heavily in this first post. What you want your app to do will often be based on the data you already have or the data you will need. The post also contains this useful reminder:

Google AppSheet is a “core” service of Google Workspace. It is therefore covered by the same legal umbrella as the other core services of this platform with respect to terms of use, security and privacy of the data processed.

Pablo’s next part should be published next week and hopfeully like me you’ll be following along.

Source: Discovering Google AppSheet in 48 hours | Part 1

Build your own Gmail-based expense tracking solution with Google Sheets and Google Apps Script

Use Google Apps Script to automate email-based expense tracking. Store and track your receipts entirely through Gmail, Drive and Sheets

Here’s a nice tutorial on how to create an email-based expense tracking system using Google Apps Script. The solution allows users to submit expense reports via email, which are then automatically processed and stored in a Google Sheet with attachments stored in Google Drive.

The blog post by Joshua Mustill provides detailed instructions on how to set up the system, including how to create the Gmail labels and filters, the Google Sheet and the Apps Script code. There are some nice features in the code you might want to use in other projects including the creation of date based Google Drive folders for storing Gmail attachments.

Source: Build your own email-based expense tracking with Google Apps Script

Retrieve comments with emoji reactions from Google Docs, Google Slides and Google Sheet using Google Apps Script

This report introduces the method for retrieving the Emoji reactions from the comments in Google Docs files (Google Documents, Google Slides, and Google Spreadsheets) using Google Apps Script.

Here’s a clever workaround by Kanshi Tanaike for retrieving comments with emoji reactions in Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets using Google Apps Script. The process to achieve this is a little convoluted in that Google Docs, Slides and Sheets are exported in Microsoft equivalent formats, then re-imported into Google formats. To remove some of the pain the post includes sample code snippets for achieving this, which can easily be adapted.

Source: Retrieve Comments with Emoji Reactions from Google Documents, Google Slides, and Google Spreadsheets using Google Apps Script

How to send Base64 images in Gmail with Google Apps Script

Gmail will not render base64 images embedded inside HTML emails but with Google Apps Script, you can use blobs to send the base64 encoded images

Base64 is a way of encoding binary data (like images) as a string of text. This makes it possible to embed images in webpages and HTML emails without hosting images on a server. An issue however, particularly for email, is that not all email services like Gmail support base64 encoded images.

Amit Agarwal’s latest blog post discusses a workaround for Gmail which involves using Google Apps Script to convert the base64 images to a blob and then embedding the blob in the email. There are some nice techniques in this post for handling/searching text strings with regular expressions as well as converting them to a Gmail friendly format.

Source: How to Send Base64 Images in Email with Google Apps Script – Digital Inspiration

Dynamic chart heading in Google Sheets đź“Š with a little Apps Script

 

Image script: Ben Collins'

Today we’ll see how to link a chart title to a cell, so that the chart title automatically reflects whatever value is in the cell

Today’s Pulse snippet comes courtesy of Ben Collins’ excellent Google Sheets Tips Newsletter, Tip 272. It uses a very basic onEdit() trigger to update a chart title based on a cell value. Ben has a great way of highlighting solutions without getting readers lost in complexity. Hopefully this example highlights the how easily you can modify Google Sheet charts using Apps Script.

If you are an Apps Script novice and looking for an easy way to learn what else is possible my own tip is to start the macro recorder, modify an embedded Google Sheets chart and then look at the resulting macro code in the Script Editor.

Source: Sheets Tip 272: Dynamic chart heading in Sheets đź“Š

Apps Script Pattern. Stop Script Execution on conditions from a Google Sheet

The common pattern for checking the business logic before executing automation

Here’s a clever little snippet from Max Makhrov which combines Google Apps Script with conditional logic created using Google Sheets functions, the resulting cell value being used for the error message.

/**
 * @param {String} rangeName
 * 
 * @returns {Boolean} toStopExecution
 */
function getStopMessageBoxFromNamedRange_(rangeName) {
  var ss = SpreadsheetApp.getActive();
  var r = ss.getRangeByName(rangeName);
  var v = r.getValue();
  if (v === '') {
    return false;
  }
  var stopHeader = 'The script was stopped';
  Browser.msgBox(stopHeader, v, Browser.Buttons.OK);
  return true;
}

If after reading Max’s post you are unsure how this works, here is an example Google Sheet with some test data and logic as well as a ‘My Menu’ open to test the bound script.

Source: Apps Script Pattern. Stop Script Execution on conditions from Sheet

How to built a Support AI Assistant for Google Workspace with Apps Script, Gen AI and Google Chat

Building a Support AI Assistant for Google Workspace using Apps Script, Gen AI, and Google Chat.

This post from Stéphane Giron highlights one approach for improving responses from LLMs by integrating Google Custom Search Engine responses into the prompt. In this example Stéphane used Google Apps Script to power the AI Assistant, integrating with Google Chat for the user interface and Cloud Functions to reformat data.

This post is another example of the ‘power of the prompt’ and how LLM prompting strategies are a very effective way to utilise LLMs without having to ground or fine tune. If you are interested in understanding more here is a useful notebook produced by Michael W. Sherman which illustrates two powerful LLM prompting strategies: Chain of Thought and ReAct (Reasoning + Acting).

Source: How we built our Support AI Assistant for Google Workspace with Apps Script, Gen AI and Google Chat

How AppSheet can help with the security in the education industry (and how Duet AI for AppSheet can help)

AppSheet is one one more tool 🛠 for citizen developers and IT departments that helps automate concrete processes through a mobile-friendly and desktop UI’s.

In this post I’ll show you some AppSheet use-cases in the education industry, specifically how you can improve your school security using a simple app to keep the visits’s record and another app to automate and speed up the kids pick up.

In this post from Mozart GarcĂ­a you can find out about some use cases for improving school security using AppSheet. The post includes an overview of apps for recording visits and pickups. You can find similar apps in the AppSheet template gallery (Visitor Check-ins and Curbside Pickup), but with Duet AI for AppSheet there will soon be the opportunity to build you apps with an GenAI assistant. Below is a quick example based on one of Mozart’s app descriptions:

Duet AI in AppSheet is currently only available to Google Workspace customers. Google are rolling it out to a small group of customers at first, and then we will make it available to everyone who is eligible. You can read more about Create apps in AppSheet using Duet AI assistance

 

Source: How Appsheet can help with the security in the education industry

Using webhooks to interact with Google Chat using Google Apps Script

Learn how to conduct a pirate raid in Google Chat Spaces with Webhooks and Google Apps Script. Video Included.

Google continue to add and enhance Google Chat. The fun doesn’t stop at the end user experience, Google also adding functionality to the Google Chat API. A low-lying entry point for Google Workspace developers is using Google Chat webhooks. As a HTTP endpoint you can use your coding language of choice.

In this tutorial from Scott Donald you can learn how Google Apps Script can be used to interface Google Chat using webhooks. The post includes everything you need to get started including a tutorial video. There are some nice tips including how to post replies to a chat thread and formatting responses using the card service. Follow the link to start learning more…

Source: Creating Webhooks for Google Chat App with Apps Script – Yagisanatode

Creating and using a settings section in Google Sheets for your Apps Script projects

 

Image credit: Dimitris Paxinos

Create a reusable settings page in Google Sheets, using Apps Script, where configurations are easily accessible, even to those without a coding background.

I’ve not seen the numbers but would imagine the majority of Google Apps Script projects are script bound to Google Sheets. Google Sheets provide a useful data canvas which is familiar to users, which can also be used to quickly interface your script solutions. You could of course use dialogs and sidebars combined with the Properties Service to collect and store settings, but coding these in HTML/JavaScript can be time consuming.

This post from Dimitris Paxinos includes a nice Apps Script code pattern for getting and setting user settings from a Google Sheets tab. This includes some nice features including in memory storage and methods to use Script Properties. The post includes an accompanying video which explains the code should you need additional help understanding this solution.

Source: Creating a Settings Section in Google Sheets Apps Script Projects