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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Google Apps Script: Expanding the Google Office With Your Own JavaScript

A public document footnoted with “Google Confidential” mentions Google Apps Script, a framework that looks like a kind of macro language (and more) for Google’s web office. The terms of service mentions a “Trusted Tester Agreement”, but Google did blog about this so it’s no secret; Google says “we’re inviting a limited number of Google Apps domains – about a thousand organizations – to start playing with Google Apps Script and giving us feedback so we can quickly understand which tricks would be the most beneficial to learn next.” (A preview sign-up form is provided, too.)

According to the intro page, with scripts you can:

To edit a script, you’ll be using JavaScript within Google’s web editor (or another desktop tool of choice). Some basic sharing is supposedly supported as well. However, the JavaScript is not executed client-side, but server-side instead. “As a result, direct operations on the client-side DOM are not supported, although some restricted functionality is provided.”

The introduction links to a documentation which mention “Google Web Scripts" for the services Google Base, Calendar, Mail and Spreadsheets. The following sample images are provided in a Google tutorial:

Google explains, “A dialog box should pop up in the Spreadsheet and request you to enter a number. Enter one and click ’Ok’ ... Then, the spreadsheet cells A1 and B1 are updated. Finally, a second dialog box shows the value you entered plus 1.”

The following screenshot from a different tutorial illustrates adding your own menu entries to Spreadsheets:

Another tutorial, labeled “Advanced”, aims to show how to “collect information from different users in a Spreadsheet using Google Forms, then leverage it to generate and distribute personalized emails.”

[Thanks Jérôme!]

Update: I asked Google whether this will only be available for the Google Apps (For Your Domain) program, or if it will be rolled out to all clients, and Google answers: “For now it’s in limited test for Apps domains, and we do intend to roll out it to all domains. It would definitely make sense to roll it out to consumers as well, though we don’t have any firm plans at this early stage.”


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