Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Review: Google Apps Script for Beginners

I was recently offered a copy of the new book "Google Apps Script for Beginners" for review. I was thrilled with the opportunity, as one of my professional goals this year is to begin writing code again, not just using it or copying/pasting it without comprehension.

The author has done a good job of covering the basic use of Apps Script, providing examples of how it can be implemented to automate certain tasks. It covers the use of Apps Scripts in documents, spreadsheets, forms, and sites, then continues into running an Apps script as a web app. I found that since the author comes from a teaching background, I was able to follow the examples and the motivation behind them. Since I can identify with the use-cases presented, I was able to delve into the code the author has included to understand the workflow.

I found that the book was a good introduction to Google Apps Script. It is by no means an exhaustive reference manual. Rather, it serves as a good starting point, allowing the reader to gain an understanding of the overall use and implementation of Apps Script. The author has included links to many fantastic resources online which go into more depth and detail.

This is very important, as I found out on March 11th, when Google announced that scripts would now be available through a new add-ons menu in Docs and Sheets. There are some significant changes to the ways scripts are built (notably that Google wants us to use the HTML service rather than the UiApp), but since this serves as an overview with links to documentation online, it will likely stay relevant for a long time.