AppsScriptPulse

Google Developers Blog: Building solutions using the G Suite developer platform

Millions of users know G Suite as a collection of communication and productivity apps that enables teams to easily create, communicate, collaborate, and discover content to supercharge teamwork. Beneath the surface of this well-serving collection of apps is also an extensible platform that enables developers to build targeted custom experiences and integrations utilizing these apps, allowing G Suite’s vast user base to get even more value out of the platform. At first glance, it may not be natural to think of the tools you use for day-to-day productivity and collaboration as a developer platform. But consider what makes up a developer platform; Languages, APIs, runtimes, frameworks, IDEs, ecosystem, etc; G Suite offers developers all of these things and more. Let’s take a closer look at what makes up the G Suite developer platform and how you can use it.

Nice overview of the G Suite developer platform from Charles Maxson. I always find it useful to see how others pitch the platform and from this piece useful to see how Apps Script is put in context with other G Suite development options.

Source: Google Developers Blog: Building solutions using the G Suite developer platform

How to send text messages using Google Sheets and Twilio – Sheets to Apps

Did you know that you can send text messages via Google Sheets? In this episode of Sheets to Apps, we show you how to easily send text messages with Google Sheets via Twilio – an online communications provider.

Back in January Sourabh Choraria highlighted a Medium post from AVG showing how to Send SMS event updates or discount codes using Twilio from a Google Sheet. AVG has now created a short explanatory video covering this solution. You can view the video description for all the code and resources you need to try out this solution.

Google Developers Blog: Building G Suite Add-ons with your favorite tech stack

Let’s talk about the basics of G Suite Add-ons. G Suite Add-ons simplify how users get things done in G Suite by bringing in functionality from other applications where you need them. They provide a persistent sidebar for quick access, and they are context-aware — meaning they can react to what you’re doing in context. … Up until recently, G Suite Add-ons leaned on Apps Script to build Add-ons, but choice is always a good thing, and in some cases you may want to use another scripting language.. So let’s talk about how to build Add-ons using additional runtimes.

Google recently announced the ability to develop G Suite Add-ons using other frameworks other than Google Apps Script. This post on the Google Developers Blog introduces how you can develop G Suite Add-ons with something other than Google Apps Script.

Source: Google Developers Blog: Building G Suite Add-ons with your favorite tech stack

Build Apps Powered by Language with Semantic ML with the new Semantic Reactor Google Sheets Add-on

In this post, I’ll show you how to use beginner-friendly ML tools–Semantic Reactor and TensorFlow.js–to build an app that’s powered by natural language.

NEW: Semantic Reactor has been officially released! Add it to Google Sheets here.

We’ve previously highlighted how TensorFlow.js can be used in Google Apps Script. In this latest example the new Semantic Reactor Google Sheets Add-on published by Google Research is highlighted. Semantic Reactor is designed to make it easier to start exploring Natural Language Understanding (NLU) and with this tutorial you can learn how you can deploy your model to code.

Source: Build Apps Powered by Language with Semantic ML

How to build a Google Analytics Dashboard with Apps Script and Google Sites – Sheets to Apps

Using Google Analytics and looking for a new way to aggregate, store, and efficiently organize the data from your website in a Google Sheet? In this episode of Sheets to Apps, we show you how to combine the Google Analytics add-on with Apps Script, resulting in the automation of cohesive data summaries that are compatible with Google Sites.

In this latest episode Alexandrina Garcia-Verdin demonstrates how the Google Analytics Add-on can be combined with macros to automate regular reporting. The video description has links to all the resources you need to set this up.

Whilst ‘Sheets to Apps’ videos are targeted at low/no coders as an Apps Script Developer I always find it useful to have a look at the code to see how it is done, as more often than not there will be a technique or method I’ve not come across. In the case of this example my new discovery was the .autoFill() and after browsing the documentation, .autoFillToNeighbor() methods in SpreadsheetApp. These methods allow you to replicate the auto-fill functionality users have in Google Sheets.

Another discovery was the various .setOption() calls when building the charts. I’ve used .setOption() in projects in the past and the issue I’ve had is navigating the long list of options you can use for various chart types. Using the macro recorder seems like a great way to capture all the options you want to add to your script project.

First look at the new Google Apps Script Integrated Development Environment (IDE) Script Editor – MASHe

As part of Next OnAir week 2 the focus was on ‘Productivity and Collaboration’ Charles Maxson from the G Suite DevRel team not only provided some highlights from the week, but he also premiered the new Google Apps Script IDE.

This post includes a recording to a live demo of the new Google Apps Script editor. No news on when the new Script Editor will be generally available, but from the demo it looks like Google have focused on making it easier for developers to code and debug scripts.

Source: First look at the new Google Apps Script Integrated Development Environment (IDE) Script Editor – MASHe

How macros can be used to build Apps Scripts for cleaning data – Sheets to Apps

Cleaning up data from downloaded accounting reports or from other systems can take up valuable time and resources. In this episode of Sheets to Apps, we’ll walk you through adding automation to your monthly Excel accounting data that records your steps into a script that you can run repeatedly with Google Sheets macro recorder.

From the video description you’ll find all the links you need to the example Google Sheet, instructions and more

Getting started with the Google Vision API from G Suite | Google Cloud Blog

The Google Cloud Vision API is a powerful tool that helps developers build apps with visual detection features, including image labelling, face and landmark detection, and optical character recognition (OCR). Getting started building with these services is relatively simple with Apps Script, as it uses simple REST calls to interact with the API directly, eliminating the need to set up SDKs or to download client libraries.

In this post Christian Schalk, Google Cloud Developer Advocate, provides details for setting up a Google Apps Script project with the Google Vision API, using this service to perform optical character recognition on a user selected image.

Source: Getting started with the Google Vision API from G Suite | Google Cloud Blog

Auto respond to feedback via Apps Script – Sheets to Apps

Course evaluations can be a bit overwhelming when receiving mass amounts of feedback, but thanks to Apps Script this is a problem of the past. In this episode of Sheets to Apps, we’ll show you how to create and use an Apps Script for Google Sheets that allows you to respond to feedback on Google Forms via email.

In a recent episode of Sheets to Apps Ben Collins’ clever ‘Respond to feedback from students in a course’ in the G Suite  Solutions Gallery is featured. See the YouTube video description for related links.

Streamline access to resources for vendors via Google Sheet – Sheets to Apps

Need to share a variety of documents with vendors? Don’t want to share access one by one? In this episode of Sheets to Apps, we’ll cover how to use an Apps Script in a Google Sheet to automatically add members to a Google Group, helping you share documents at a large scale that will save you time.

We’ve previously shared the Medium post that provides more details for setting up this solution. If you missed that post or were unclear Alexandrina Garcia-Verdin, better known in the community as AGV, provides a very useful overview.

The code and other resources presented in this episode are available from the video description.

Overview of the power of Apps Script – Apps Script in a Snap

In this first episode of Apps Script in a Snap, Joanna Smith will go over what exactly Apps Script is and how you can use it to tailor any of G Suite’s productivity apps – such as Google Drive, Google Sheets, Google Docs, and Google Drive – to match and streamline your workflow.

The G Suite DevRel team have been busy. As well as AGV’s excellent Sheets to Apps series, some new videos are coming out from Joanna Smith in ‘Apps Script in a Snap!’. Currently these are very top level intro videos and it will be interesting to see where they go with this series.

 

Automate onboarding of company resources from a Google Sheet – Sheets to Apps

In this episode of Sheets to Apps, we cover how to give newcomers access to resources via Google Forms and an Apps Script that lives in a Google Sheets, making on-boarding new employees simple and easy.

The code and other resources presented in this episode are available from the video description.

Apps Script’s new V8 runtime | Google Cloud Blog

This update to Apps Script lets users take advantage of modern JavaScript features and enhances new or existing scripts with less verbose, more standardized code.

This post from Alexandrina Garcia-Verdin, better known in the community as AGV, highlights some of the benefits of the new Google Apps Script V8 runtime including succinct syntax and data processing operations: map(), filter() and reduce(). As part this AGV also highlights some of the resources from Ben Collins and Amit Agarwal put together to support the community transition to V8. A nice feature of this post from AGV is side-by-side comparisons of old and new JavaScript syntax:

Image source: Google

Source: Apps Script’s new V8 runtime | Google Cloud Blog

Google Developers Blog: Evolving automations into applications using Apps Script

Two years ago, our team began building custom software to automate the multi-stage and highly manual team staffing process. Building internal software has allowed the same-size Staffing Operations Team (3 members!) to enjoy a 60x reduction in time spent staffing each role.

The Apps Script ecosystem has emerged as the most critical component in our toolkit for building this internal software, due to its versatility and ease of deployment. We want to share how one piece of the staffing process has evolved to become more powerful over time thanks to Apps Script. Ultimately, we hope that sharing this journey enables all types of teams to build their own tools and unlock new possibilities.

Source: Google Developers Blog: Evolving automations into applications using Apps Script

Manage new employee equipment requests within Google Sheets – Sheets to Apps

In today’s episode of Sheets to Apps, @TechandEco will show you how to manage new employee equipment requests with Google Sheets.

See the video description for all the links you need including the reference documentation.

Why organizations build with Google Apps Script – YouTube

On the G Suite YouTube channel you’ll find a new playlist for “why organizations build with Google Apps Script” which contains contributions from Cleo Espiritu, Ivan Kutil, Niek Waarbroek and myself. Hopefully these clips are useful in encouraging users to look at Google Apps Script as a powerful and agile development solution.

How to track time with Google Calendar and sync to Google Sheets – Sheets to Apps

In this episode of Sheets to Apps, we will show you how to track your work time on projects via Google Calendar. More importantly, he’ll be showing you how you can sync Calendar events to Google Sheets, creating a spreadsheet that shows you the total time spent on your projects.

Short video highlighting Jasper Duizendstra’s G Suite Developer Solution Gallery contribution.  See the YouTube description for all the links you need.

V8 Runtime Overview  |  Apps Script  |  Google Developers

Historically, Apps Script has been powered by Mozilla’s Rhino JavaScript interpreter. While Rhino provided a convenient way for Apps Script to execute developer scripts, it also tied Apps Script to a specific JavaScript version (ES5). Apps Script developers can’t use more modern JavaScript syntax and features in scripts using the Rhino runtime.

To address this concern, Apps Script is now supported by the V8 runtime that powers Chrome and Node.js. You can migrate existing scripts to V8 in order to take advantage of the modern JavaScript syntax and features.

This page describes the new features enabled by V8 and how you can enable V8 for use in your scripts. Migrating scripts to V8 describes steps for migrating existing scripts to use the V8 runtime.

Developers have been waiting a while for the new Google Apps Script runtime, since 2018 in fact, but it’s now here. The new runtime not only allows developers to use modern JavaScript syntax but when announced in 2018 also comes with a a tenfold (x10) faster execution. Follow the link to the developer docs for the full migration guide.

Source: V8 Runtime Overview  |  Apps Script  |  Google Developers

App Maker will be shut down on January 19, 2021

Source image credit: Dana Fried @leftoblique

G Suite Admins have started to be notified that App Maker will be shutdown on January 19, 2021. In the turndown notification Google cited ‘low usage’ as the reason for the shutdown. This news comes shortly after the announcement of Google acquisition of no code platform AppSheet and AppSheet is identified as one of the alternative platforms:

Due to the specific source code used for App Maker, you can’t directly migrate your apps to another platform. Depending on your use case, we recommend these alternative tools:

  • If you use App Maker to automate business processes: Use AppSheet, a new addition to our app development portfolio that has capabilities similar to App Maker. App Maker data is stored in Cloud SQL, and App Sheet supports Cloud SQL databases. This allows you to build an application on the existing database tied to your App Maker app.
  • If you use App Maker to develop apps: Use App Engine to build and deploy applications on a fully managed platform. App Maker data is stored in Cloud SQL, allowing you to build an App Engine application on the existing Cloud SQL database tied to your App Maker app.
  • If you use App Maker for data collection: Use Google Forms, which has many new features that were not available when App Maker launched.

Google included the following schedule for turndown:

  • Today, existing apps continue to work. Though App Maker is no longer under active development, the service will continue to be maintained.
  • Starting April 15, 2020, you will no longer be able to create new App Maker apps. You will still be able to edit and deploy existing apps.
  • Starting January 19, 2021, App Maker apps will stop working and you will no longer have access to them. App Maker data stored in Cloud SQL will remain unchanged and continue to follow the policies established by your Google Cloud Platform (GCP) account.

Source: Google App Maker will be shut down on January 19, 2021

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