The democratisation of app development with Duet AI for AppSheet

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].

Source: The democratisation of app development with Duet AI for AppSheet

How to write Google Apps Script logs into Google Sheets

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 👇🏻

Source: How to write Google Apps Script logs into Google Sheets

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

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 García 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

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

Creating a custom Google Apps Script project version history 

This report introduces the method for managing the histories of the Google Apps Script project.

On August 23, 2023, the project history has been implemented in the new IDE of Google Apps Script. In the current stage, the users can see the history of the previously deployed script version. … In the case of the classic IDE, the users had been able to see the previously saved script version regardless of the deployment and just the save of the script. This is not implemented in the new IDE.

In August 2023, Google updated the online Apps Script Editor adding a feature which lets you view previously deployed script versions and compare them to the current script version. A current limitation the history is limited to versioned deployments. As noted in this source post from Kanshi Tanaike, deployments require several steps and you have to remember to go through the process. To make the process easier Kanshi has published a ScriptHistoryApp library, which can be used to create a custom web interface for making your own Apps Script project version history. Perhaps more usefully you can also manage snapshots of your script projects by fetching a URL. This makes it easy for you to either regularly save a project on a timed trigger or an event based mechanism.

Source: Managing History of Google Apps Script

GenAI for Google Workspace: Exploring the PaLM 2 API and LLM capabilities in Google Sheets with Google Apps Script — Part 1

This post has covered how you can quickly copy MakerSuite code examples to run them in Google Apps Script. To make the iterative process easier I’ve created GenerativeLanguageApp so that once you’ve created/saved an API key, you can drop these code snippets into your Google Apps Script project:

Generative AI (GenAI) is a rapidly developing field that has the potential to revolutionize many industries, including the way we work. Google has developed a number of LLMs that are generally available to developers, including foundation models trained for text, chat and code which are accessible as part of the PaLM 2 API. To help developers explore the capabilities of these models, Google has created the MakerSuite site.

In this post I share GenerativeLanguageApp, a Google Apps Script helper class which makes it easy to quickly copy MakerSuite code examples to run them in Google Apps Script. This is a great way to start experimenting with LLMs and seeing how they can be used in Google Workspace.

In the next part of this series, I’ll explore some of the capabilities of when using the PaLM 2 API with data from Google Sheets. Stay tuned!

Source: GenAI for Google Workspace: Exploring the PaLM 2 API and LLM capabilities in Google Sheets with…

How to Write to a JDBC Database with Google Apps Script: My Adventure with a Pesky Character Limit

I recently faced a frustrating issue when writing data to a CloudSQL database with the JDBC class in Apps Script. I kept getting the following error:

Exception: Argument too large: SQL

I also observed that it only happened when my SQL query reached a certain length. I considered breaking it down into multiple queries, but I was still puzzled 🤔 because I was only sending a few dozen kilobytes of data.

Now, the thing is, the official documentation could be more helpful; even though the solution is there, it needs to be better explained. So, I turned to StackOverflow. There was a discussion on this exact topic, but to my surprise, I was still waiting for an answer. Until, well, I wrote it 😉

Source: How to Write to a JDBC Database with Google Apps Script: My Adventure with a Pesky Character Limit