Author Archives: Google Devs

10 must-see G Suite developer sessions at Google Cloud Next ‘18

Posted by Wesley Chun (@wescpy), Developer Advocate, Google Cloud

Google Cloud Next '18 is only a few days away, and this year, there are over 500 sessions covering all aspects of cloud computing, from G Suite to the Google Cloud Platform. This is your chance to learn first-hand how to build custom solutions in G Suite alongside other developers from Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), systems integrators (SIs), and industry enterprises.

G Suite's intelligent productivity apps are secure, smart, and simple to use, so why not integrate your apps with them? If you're planning to attend the event and are wondering which sessions you should check out, here are some sessions to consider:

  • "Power Your Apps with Gmail, Google Drive, Calendar, Sheets, Slides, and More!" on Tuesday, July 24th. Join me as I lead this session that provides a high-level technical overview of the various ways you can build with G Suite. This is a great place to start before attending deeper technical sessions.
  • "Power your apps with Gmail, Google Drive, Calendar, Sheets, Slides and more" on Monday, July 23rd and Friday, July 27th. Join me for one of our half-day bootcamps! Both are identical and bookend the conference—one on Monday and another on Friday, meaning you can do either one and still make it to all the other conference sessions. While named the same as the technical overview above, the bootcamps dive a bit deeper and feature more detailed tech talks on Google Apps Script, the G Suite REST APIs, and App Maker. The three (or more!) hands-on codelabs will leave you with working code that you can start customizing for your own apps on the job! Register today to ensure you get a seat.
  • "Automating G Suite: Apps Script & Sheets Macro Recorder" and "Enhancing the Google Apps Script Developer Experience" both on Tuesday, July 24th. Interested in Google Apps Script, our customized serverless JavaScript runtime used to automate, integrate, and extend G Suite? The first session introduces developers and ITDMs to new features as well as real business use cases while the other dives into recent features that make Apps Script more friendly for the professional developer.
  • "G Suite + GCP: Building Serverless Applications with All of Google Cloud" on Wednesday, July 25th. This session is your chance to attend one of the few hybrid talks that look at how to you can build applications on both the GCP and G Suite platforms. Learn about serverless—a topic that's become more and more popular over the past year—and see examples on both platforms with a pair of demos that showcase how you can take advantage of GCP tools from a G Suite serverless app, and how you can process G Suite data driven by GCP serverless functions. I'm also leading this session and eager to show how you can leverage the strengths of each platform together in the same applications.
  • "Build apps your business needs, with App Maker" and "How to Build Enterprise Workflows with App Maker" on Tuesday, July 24th and Thursday, July 26th, respectively. Google App Maker is a new low-code, development environment that makes it easy to build custom apps for work. It's great for business analysts, technical managers, or data scientists who may not have software engineering resources. With a drag & drop UI, built-in templates, and point-and-click data modeling, App Maker lets you go from idea to app in minutes! Learn all about it with our pair of App Maker talks featuring our Developer Advocate, Chris Schalk.
  • "The Google Docs, Sheets & Slides Ecosystem: Stronger than ever, and growing" and "Building on the Docs Editors: APIs and Apps Script" on Wednesday, July 25th and Thursday, July 26th, respectively. Check out these pair of talks to learn more about how to write apps that integrate with the Google Docs editors (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms). The first describes the G Suite productivity tools' growing interoperability in the enterprise with while the second focuses on the different integration options available to developers, either using Google Apps Script or the REST APIs.
  • "Get Productive with Gmail Add-ons" on Tuesday, July 24th. We launched Gmail Add-ons less than a year ago to help developers integrate their apps alongside Gmail. Check out this video I made to help you get up-to-speed on Gmail Add-ons! This session is for developers either new to Gmail Add-ons or want to hear the latest from the Gmail Add-ons and API team.

I look forward to meeting you in person at Next '18. In the meantime, check out the entire session schedule to find out everything it has to offer. Don't forget to swing by our "Meet the Experts" office hours (Tue-Thu), G Suite "Collaboration & Productivity" showcase demos (Tue-Thu), the G Suite Birds-of-a-Feather meetup (Wed), and the Google Apps Script & G Suite Add-ons meetup (just after the BoF on Wed). I'm excited at how we can use "all the tech" to change the world. See you soon!

DevFest 2018 Kickoff!

Posted by Erica Hanson, Program Manager in Developer Relations

Google Developers is proud to announce DevFest 2018, the largest annual community event series for the Google Developer Groups (GDG) program. Hundreds of GDG chapters around the world will host their biggest and most exciting developer event of the year. These are often all-day or multi-day events with many speakers and workshops, highlighting a wide range of Google developer products. DevFest season runs from August to November 2018.

Our GDG organizers and communities are getting ready for the season, and are excited to host an event near you!

Whether you are an established developer, new to tech, or just curious about the community - come and check out #DevFest18. Everyone is invited!

For more information on DevFest 2018 and to find an event near you, visit the site.

Hangouts Chat alerts & notifications… with asynchronous messages

Posted by Wesley Chun (@wescpy), Developer Advocate, G Suite

While most chatbots respond to user requests in a synchronous way, there are scenarios when bots don't perform actions based on an explicit user request, such as for alerts or notifications. In today's DevByte video, I'm going to show you how to send messages asynchronously to rooms or direct messages (DMs) in Hangouts Chat, the team collaboration and communication tool in G Suite.

What comes to mind when you think of a bot in a chat room? Perhaps a user wants the last quarter's European sales numbers, or maybe, they want to look up local weather or the next movie showtime. Assuming there's a bot for whatever the request is, a user will either send a direct message (DM) to that bot or @mention the bot from within a chat room. The bot then fields the request (sent to it by the Hangouts Chat service), performs any necessary magic, and responds back to the user in that "space," the generic nomenclature for a room or DM.

Our previous DevByte video for the Hangouts Chat bot framework shows developers what bots and the framework are all about as well as how to build one of these types of bots, in both Python and JavaScript. However, recognize that these bots are responding synchronously to a user request. This doesn't suffice when users want to be notified when a long-running background job has completed, when a late bus or train will be arriving soon, or when one of their servers has just gone down. Recognize that such alerts can come from a bot but also perhaps a monitoring application. In the latest episode of the G Suite Dev Show, learn how to integrate this functionality in either type of application.

From the video, you can see that alerts and notifications are "out-of-band" messages, meaning they can come in at any time. The Hangouts Chat bot framework provides several ways to send asynchronous messages to a room or DM, generically referred to as a "space." The first is the HTTP-based REST API. The other way is using what are known as "incoming webhooks."

The REST API is used by bots to send messages into a space. Since a bot will never be a human user, a Google service account is required. Once you create a service account for your Hangouts Chat bot in the developers console, you can download its credentials needed to communicate with the API. Below is a short Python sample snippet that uses the API to send a message asynchronously to a space.

from apiclient import discovery
from httplib2 import Http
from oauth2client.service_account import ServiceAccountCredentials

SCOPES = 'https://www.googleapis.com/auth/chat.bot'
creds = ServiceAccountCredentials.from_json_keyfile_name(
'svc_acct.json', SCOPES)
CHAT = discovery.build('chat', 'v1', http=creds.authorize(Http()))

room = 'spaces/<ROOM-or-DM>'
message = {'text': 'Hello world!'}
CHAT.spaces().messages().create(parent=room, body=message).execute()

The alternative to using the API with services accounts is the concept of incoming webhooks. Webhooks are a quick and easy way to send messages into any room or DM without configuring a full bot, i.e., monitoring apps. Webhooks also allow you to integrate your custom workflows, such as when a new customer is added to the corporate CRM (customer relationship management system), as well as others mentioned above. Below is a Python snippet that uses an incoming webhook to communicate into a space asynchronously.

import requests
import json

URL = 'https://chat.googleapis.com/...&thread_key=T12345'
message = {'text': 'Hello world!'}
requests.post(URL, data = json.dumps(message))

Since incoming webhooks are merely endpoints you HTTP POST to, you can even use curl to send a message to a Hangouts Chat space from the command-line:

curl \
-X POST \
-H 'Content-Type: application/json' \
'https://chat.googleapis.com/...&thread_key=T12345' \
-d '{"text": "Hello!"}'

To get started, take a look at the Hangouts Chat developer documentation, especially the specific pages linked to above. We hope this video helps you take your bot development skills to the next level by showing you how to send messages to the Hangouts Chat service asynchronously.

Launching the Indie Games Accelerator in Asia – helping gaming startups find success on Google Play

Posted by Anuj Gulati, Developer Marketing Manager, Google Play and Sami Kizilbash, Developer Relations Program Manager, Google

Emerging markets now account for more than 40% of game installs on Google Play. Rapid smartphone adoption in these regions presents a new base of engaged gamers that are looking for high quality mobile gaming experiences. At Google Play, we are focused on helping local game developers from these markets achieve their full potential and make the most of this opportunity.

Indie Games Accelerator is a new initiative to support top indie game startups from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam who are looking to supercharge their growth on Android. This four month program is a special edition of Launchpad Accelerator, designed in close collaboration with Google Play, featuring a comprehensive gaming curriculum and mentorship from top mobile gaming experts.

Successful participants will be invited to attend two all-expense-paid gaming bootcamps at the Google Asia-Pacific office in Singapore, where they will receive personalized mentorship from Google teams and industry experts. Additional benefits include Google Cloud Platform credits, invites to exclusive Google and industry events, and more.

Visit the program website to find out more and apply now.

Flutter Release Preview 1: Live from GMTC in Beijing

Posted by the Flutter Team at Google

Today at the GMTC front-end conference in Beijing, we announced Flutter Release Preview 1, signaling a new phase of development for Flutter as we move into the final stages of stabilization for 1.0.

Google I/O last month was something of a celebration for the Flutter team: having reached beta, it was good to meet with many developers who are learning, prototyping, or building with Flutter. In the immediate aftermath of Google I/O, we continue to see rapid growth in the Flutter ecosystem, with a 50% increase in active Flutter users. We've also seen over 150 individual Flutter events taking place across fifty countries: from New York City to Uyo, Nigeria; from Tokyo and Osaka in Japan to Nuremberg, Germany.

One common measure of community momentum is the number of GitHub stars, and we've also seen tremendous growth here, with Flutter becoming one of the top 100 software repos on GitHub in May.

Announcing Flutter Release Preview 1

Today we're taking another big step forward, with the immediate availability of Flutter Release Preview 1. It seems particularly auspicious to make this announcement in Beijing at the GMTC Global Front-End Conference. China has the third largest population of developers using Flutter, after the USA and India. Companies such as Alibaba and Tencent are already adopting Flutter for production apps, and there is a growing local community who are translating content and adding packages and mirrors for Chinese developers.

The shift from beta to release preview with this release signals our confidence in the stability and quality of what we have with Flutter, and our focus on bug fixing and stabilization.

We've posted a longer article with details on what's new in Flutter Release Preview 1 over at our Medium channel. You can download Flutter Release Preview 1 directly from the Flutter website, or simply run flutter upgrade from an existing installation.

It's been fun to watch others encounter Flutter for the first time. This article from an iOS developer who has recently completed porting an iOS app to Flutter is a positive endorsement of the project's readiness for real-world production usage:

"I haven't been this excited about a technology since Ruby on Rails or Go… After dedicating years to learning iOS app dev in-depth, it killed me that I was alienating so many Android friends out there. Also, learning other cross platform frameworks at the time was super unattractive to me because of what was available… Writing a Flutter app has been a litmus test and Flutter passed the test. Flutter is something I feel like I can really invest in and most importantly, really enjoy using."

As we get ever closer to publishing our first release from the "stable" channel, we're ready for more developers to build and deploy solutions that use this Release Preview. There are plenty of training offerings to help you learn Flutter: from I/O sessions to newsletters to hands-on videos to developer shows. We're excited to see what you build!

Google Developers Agency Program | 2018

Posted by Amit Chopra & Maggie Hohlfeld

Google Developers Agency Program | Awards

2 years, 225+ agencies and 36 countries later, the Google Developers Agency Program has grown from a simple effort to connect with development agencies working on mobile apps to a global, exclusive program that recognizes and trains the best software agencies in the world.

The program's mission remains simple: identify, upskill, and promote top development agencies. It provides agencies with access to local events, hangouts, dedicated content, priority support from product and developer relations teams, and upcoming developer products.

Google Developers Agency Program | Logo

As a way to identify top agencies who demonstrated excellence in Android development within the program and promote them, we first announced the "Certified Agency" Program at Google I/O in May 2015. Certification has now become the gold standard for Android development agencies, and has helped to push the agency ecosystem to improve as a whole.

Today we are pleased to share that we now have reached 50 Certified agencies from 15 different countries in the program.

Google Developers Agency Program | Award Night

We celebrated our newest class of Certified agencies at Google I/O, where it all began, and can't wait to see how much the program will have grown by this time next year.

Learn more about the program by clicking on Google Developers Agency program.

Innovate with Google at the 2018 China-US Young Maker Competition!

Posted by Aimin Zhu, University Relations Manager, Google China

Following the announcement of the 2018 China-U.S. Young Maker Competition, we are very excited that there are already over 1000 participants with over a month left before the final submission deadline! Project submissions are open to all makers, developers, and students age 18-40 in the United States. Check out the projects others are developing on the project submissions page.

Participants may choose to develop their projects using any platform. Makers and students in the US are encouraged to consider the many Google technologies and platforms available to build innovative solutions:

The project submission deadline is June 22, so there is still plenty of time to join the competition! If you have additional questions about the competition or the project submission process, please visit the contest FAQ.

The top 10 projects selected by the judges will win an all-expenses-paid trip to Beijing, China, to join the finals with Chinese makers on August 13-17. We look forward to meeting you at the final event!

For more details, please see US divitional contest landing page hosted by Hackster.io.

Creating AR Experiences for I/O: Our Process

Posted by Karin Levi, Product Marketing, ARCore

A few weeks ago at Google I/O we released a major update to ARCore, Google's AR development platform. We added new APIs like Cloud Anchors, that enable multi-user, collaborative AR experiences and Augmented Images that enable activation of 2D images into 3D objects. All of these updates are going to change the way we use AR today and enable developers to create richer, more immersive AR apps.

With these new capabilities, we decided to put our platform to the test. So we built real experiences to showcase how these all come to life. All demos were presented at the I/O AR & VR sandbox area. We open sourced them to make sure you can see how simple it is to build these experiences. We're pretty happy with how they turned out and would love to share with you some learning and insights from behind the scenes.

Light Board - Multiplayer game

Light Board is an AR multiplayer tabletop game where two players on floating game boards launch colored projectiles at each other.

While building Light Board it was important for us to keep in mind who the end users are. We wanted it to be a simple/fun game for developers to try out while visiting the I/O sandbox. The developers would only have a couple minutes to play while passing through, so it needed to allow players (even non-gamers) to pick it up and play with very little setup.

The artwork for Light Board was a major focus. Our mission for the look of the game was to align with the design and decor of I/O 2018. This way, our app would feel like an extension of everything the attendees saw around them. As a result, our design philosophy had 3 goals; bright accent colors, simple graphic shapes and natural physical materials.

Left: Design for AR/VR Sandbox at I/O 2018. Right: Key art for Light Board game boards

The artwork was created in Maya and Cinema 4D. We created physically based materials for our models using Substance Painter. Just as continuous iteration is crucial for engineering, it is also important when creating art assets. With that in mind, we kept careful track of our content pipeline, even for this relatively simple project. This allowed us to quickly try out different looks and board styles before settling on our final design.

On the engineering front we selected the Unity game engine as our dev environment. Unity gives us a couple of important advantages. First, it is easy to get great looking 3D graphics up and running right away. Second, the engine component is already complete, so we could immediately start iterating on gameplay code. As with the artwork, this allowed us to test gameplay options before we made a final decision. Additionally, Unity gave us support for both Android and iOS with only a little extra work.

To handle the multiplayer aspect we used Firebase Realtime Database. We were concerned with network performance at the event, and felt that the persistent nature of a database would make it more tolerant of poor networks. As it turned out, it worked very well and we got the ability to quit and rejoin games for free!

We had a lot of fun building Light Board and we hope people can use it as an example of how easy it can be to not only build AR apps, but to use really cool features like Cloud Anchors. Please check out our open source repo and give Light Board a try!

Just a line - Draw with your friends

In March, we released Just a Line, an Android app that lets you draw in the air with your phone. It's a simple experiment meant to showcase the power of ARCore. At Google I/O, we added Cloud Anchors to the app so that two people can draw at once in the same space, even if one of them is using Android and the other iOS.

Both apps were built natively: The Android version was written in Android Studio, and the iOS version was built in xCode. ARCore's Cloud Anchors enable Just a Line to pair two phones, allowing users to draw simultaneously in a shared space. Pairing works across Android and iOS devices, and drawings are synchronized live through a Firebase Realtime Database. You can find the open-source code for iOS here and for Android here.

Illusive Images - Art exhibition comes to life

"Illusive Images" demo is an augmented gallery consisting of 3 artworks, each exploring a different augmented image use case and user experience. As one walks from side to side, around the object, or gazes in a specific direction, 2D artworks are married with 3D, inviting the viewer to enter into the space of the artwork spanning well beyond the physical frame.

Due to the visual design nature of our augmented images, we experimented a lot with creating databases with varying degrees of features. In order to get the best results, we iterated quickly by resizing the canvas for the artwork. We also moved and stretched the brightness and contrast levels. These variations helped to achieve the most optimal image without compromising design intent.

The app was built in Unity with ARCore, with the majority of assets created in Cinema 4D. Mograph animations were imported into Unity as an fbx, and driven entirely by the position of the user in relation to the artwork. An example project can be found here.

To make your development experience easier, we open sourced all the demos our team built. We hope you find this useful! You can also visit our website to learn more and start building AR experiences today.

Introducing the Data Studio Community Connector Codelab

Posted by Minhaz Kazi, Developer Advocate, Google Data Studio

Data Studio is Google's free next gen business intelligence and data visualization platform. Community Connectors for Data Studio let you build connectors to any internet-accessible data source using Google Apps Script. You can build Community Connectors for commercial, enterprise, and personal use. Learn how to build Community Connectors using the Data Studio Community Connector Codelab.

Use the Community Connector Codelab

The Community Connector Codelab explains how Community Connectors work and provides a step by step tutorial for creating your first Community Connector. You can get started if you have a basic understanding of Javascript and web APIs. You should be able to build your first connector in 30 mins using the Codelab.

If you have previously imported data into Google Sheets using Apps Script, you can use this Codelab to get familiar with the Community Connectors and quickly port your code to fetch your data directly into Data Studio.

Why create your own Community Connector

Community Connectors can help you to quickly deliver an end-to-end visualization solution that is user-friendly and delivers high user value with low development efforts. Community Connectors can help you build a reporting solution for personal, public, enterprise, or commercial data, and also do explanatory visualizations.

  • If you provide a web based service to customers, you can create template dashboards or even let your users create their own visualization based on the users' data from your service.
  • Within an enterprise, you can create serverless and highly scalable reporting solutions where you have complete control over your data and sharing features.
  • You can create an aggregate view of all your metrics across different commercial platforms and service providers while providing drill down capabilities.
  • You can create connectors to public and open datasets. Sharing these connectors will enable other users to quickly gain access to these datasets and dive into analysis directly without writing any code.

By building a Community Connector, you can go from scratch to a push button customized dashboard solution for your service in a matter of hours.

The following dashboard uses Community Connectors to fetch data from Stack Overflow, GitHub, and Twitter. Try using the date filter to view changes across all sources:

This dashboard uses the following Community Connectors:

You can build your own connector to any preferred service and publish it in the Community Connector gallery. The Community Connector gallery now has over 90 Partner Connectors connecting to more than 450 data sources.

Once you have completed the Codelab, view the Community Connector documentation and sample code on the Data Studio open source repository to build your own connector.

Let’s hit the road! Join Google Developers Community Roadshow

Posted by Przemek Pardel, Developer Relations Program Manager, Regional Lead

This summer, Google Developers team is touring 10 countries and 14 cities in Europe in a colorful community bus. We'll be visiting university campuses and technology parks to meet you locally and talk about our programs for developers and start-ups.

Join us to find out how Google supports developer communities. Learn about Google Developer Groups, Women Techmakers program and various ways how we engage with the broader developer community in Europe and around the world.

Our bus will stop in the following locations between 12.00 and 4pm:

  • 4th June, Estonia, Tallinn
  • 6th June, Latvia, Riga
  • 8th June, Lithuania, Vilnius
  • 11th June, Poland, Gdańsk
  • 13th June, Poland, Poznań
  • 15th June, Poland, Kraków
  • 18th June, Slovenia, Ljubljana
  • 19th June, Croatia, Zagreb
  • 21st June, Bulgaria, Sofia

Want to meet us on the way? Sign up for the event in your city here.

What to expect:

  • Information: learn more about how Google supports developer communities around the world, from content, speakers to a global network
  • Network: with other community organizers from your city
  • Workshops: join some of our product workshops on tour (Actions on Google, Google Cloud, Machine Learning), and meet with Google teams
  • Fun: live music, games and more!

Are you interested in starting a new developer community or are you an organizer who would like to join the global Google Community Program? Let us know and receive an invitation-only pass to our private events.

Google Developers team