Category Archives: Google Apps Developer Blog

Information for Google Apps Developers

Introducing the Slides API Codelab



Last fall, we launched the Google Slides API. Since then, partners, developers and others have been building apps and tools to programmatically create slides that work across desktop and mobile, like the ever popular md2googleslides.

We recently released the Slides API Codelab, which walks you through an example of using Google’s BigQuery and Slide APIs to analyze 3.5 million repositories and create a “Top 10 OSS licenses” presentation. The codelab is a great exercise for learning the Slides API, especially if you have an interest in big data, automating the creation of presentations or open source.
Preview of our Slides Codelab

Getting started with the Slides API Codelab 

To get started, clone the repo. After running the starter script, you’ll find that creating a presentation is divided up into contained steps. These “TODOs” are shown when running the sample app in the start directory.
-- Start generating slides. --
TODO: Get Client Secrets
TODO: Authorize
TODO: Get Data from BigQuery
TODO: Create Slides
TODO: Open Slides
-- Finished generating slides. --

To query GitHub, BigQuery has a public dataset all ready just for you! BigQuery allows you to query massive datasets on Google’s infrastructure in seconds. On bigquery.cloud.google.com, you can explore BigQuery’s public datasets or upload your own. In this codelab, we’re interested in open source licenses, so we'll query public repos on GitHub and grab their licenses.
WITH AllLicenses AS (
SELECT * FROM `bigquery-public-data.github_repos.licenses`
)
SELECT
license,
COUNT(*) AS count,
ROUND((COUNT(*) / (SELECT COUNT(*) FROM AllLicenses)) * 100, 2) AS percent
FROM `bigquery-public-data.github_repos.licenses`
GROUP BY license
ORDER BY count DESC
LIMIT 10
Our GitHub Open Source Licenses Query
With an infinite number of public and private datasets out there, imagine all the data you can analyze with BigQuery and all the slide decks you can auto-generate with the Google Slides API! The goal of the Slides API Codelab is to get you up-to-speed quickly using both. For issues or questions regarding the Slides API or this codelab, ask us a question on GitHub or Stack Overflow.

We can't wait to see what you build.

New security protections to reduce risk from unverified apps



We’re constantly working to secure our users and their data. Earlier this year, we detailed some of our latest anti-phishing tools and rolled-out developer-focused updates to our app publishing processes, risk assessment systems, and user-facing consent pages. Most recently, we introduced OAuth apps whitelisting in G Suite to enable admins to choose exactly which third-party apps can access user data.

Over the past few months, we’ve required that some new web applications go through a verification process prior to launch based upon a dynamic risk assessment.

Today, we’re expanding upon that foundation, and introducing additional protections: bolder warnings to inform users about newly created web apps and Apps Scripts that are pending verification. Additionally, the changes we're making will improve the developer experience. In the coming months, we will begin expanding the verification process and the new warnings to existing apps as well.

Protecting against unverified apps 

Beginning today, we’re rolling out an “unverified app” screen for newly created web applications and Apps Scripts that require verification. This new screen replaces the “error” page that developers and users of unverified web apps receive today.

The “unverified app” screen precedes the permissions consent screen for the app and lets potential users know that the app has yet to be verified. This will help reduce the risk of user data being phished by bad actors.

The "unverified app" consent flow

This new notice will also help developers test their apps more easily. Since users can choose to acknowledge the ‘unverified app’ alert, developers can now test their applications without having to go through the OAuth client verification process first (see our earlier post for details).

Developers can follow the steps laid out in this help center article to begin the verification process to remove the interstitial and prepare your app for launch.

Extending security protections to Google Apps Script 

We’re also extending these same protections to Apps Script. Beginning this week, new Apps Scripts requesting OAuth access to data from consumers or from users in other domains may also see the "unverified app" screen. For more information about how these changes affect Apps Script developers and users, see the verification documentation page.

Apps Script is proactively protecting users from abusive apps in other ways as well. Users will see new cautionary language reminding them to “consider whether you trust” an application before granting OAuth access, as well as a banner identifying web pages and forms created by other users.
Updated Apps Script pre-OAuth alert with cautionary language
Apps Script user-generated content banner

Extending protections to existing apps 

In the coming months, we will continue to enhance user protections by extending the verification process beyond newly created apps, to existing apps as well. As a part of this expansion, developers of some current apps may be required to go through the verification flow.

To help ensure a smooth transition, we recommend developers verify that their contact information is up-to-date. In the Google Cloud Console, developers should ensure that the appropriate and monitored accounts are granted either the project owner or billing account admin IAM role. For help with granting IAM roles, see this help center article.

In the API manager, developers should ensure that their OAuth consent screen configuration is accurate and up-to-date. For help with configuring the consent screen, see this help center article

We’re committed to fostering a healthy ecosystem for both users and developers. These new notices will inform users automatically if they may be at risk, enabling them to make informed decisions to keep their information safe, and will make it easier to test and develop apps for developers.

Identifying app usage in your Google Drive audit logs



If you’re a G Suite admin (or a developer creating apps for admins), it’s important to understand the various applications your company’s employees are using and how they’re accessing them. Today, we’re making that easier by introducing app identification (i.e. originating_app_id) in the Google Drive audit logs within the Admin SDK Reports API.

Now, your apps will be able to determine whether an activity logged was performed by a user in the Drive Android app, Drive iOS app, Google Chrome, or through a variety of other third-party apps that leverage, modify or create files within Google Drive, like Smartsheet or Asana. This will give you a better sense of the apps being used in your organization, as well as the extent and context of that usage.

Note that App IDs that show up in the logs will be numeric. Should you want to retrieve app names, a separate request using the Google Drive REST API is needed. If you already retrieve information through the Drive activity request, you should start seeing the originating_app_ids show up in your logs. Here are a pair of HTTP requests you can use to query this information:

GET 
https://www.googleapis.com/admin/reports/v1/activity/users/userKey

Or
GET 
https://www.googleapis.com/admin/reports/v1/activity/users/all/applications/drive

To learn more about this new feature, take a look at the documentation, then integrate into your code so you and other G Suite admins can gain a better understanding of app usage in your domain(s). We look forward to seeing what you build!

Google People API now supports updates to Contacts and Contact Groups


Starting today, the Google People API will get new endpoints for contacts and contact groups. Last year, we launched the Google People API with read-only endpoints with plans to eventually replace the old Contacts API. We’re one step closer to that goal by adding write endpoints that allow developers to create, delete and update a single contact. In addition, there are new contact group endpoints that allow developers to read and write contact groups.

Applications need to be authorized to access the API so to get started, you will need to create a project on the Google Developers Console with the People API enabled to get access to the service. All of the steps to do so are here. If you’re new to the Google APIs and/or the Developers Console, check out this video, the first in a series of videos to help you get up-to-speed.


Once you’re authorized, you can simply create new contacts like this (using the Google APIs Client Library for Java):
Person contactToCreate = new Person();

List names = new ArrayList<>();
names.add(new Name().setGivenName("John").setFamilyName("Doe"));
contactToCreate.setNames(names);

Person createdContact =
peopleService.people().createContact(contactToCreate).execute();

The scope your app needs to authorize with is https://www.googleapis.com/auth/contacts. Full documentation on the people.create method is available here. You can update an existing contact like this:

String resourceName = "people/c12345"; // existing contact resource name
Person contactToUpdate = peopleService.people().get(resourceName)
.setPersonFields("names,emailAddresses")
.execute();

List emailAddresses = new ArrayList<>();
emailAddresses.add(new EmailAddress().setValue("john.doe@gmail.com"));
contactToUpdate.setEmailAddresses(emailAddresses);

Person updatedContact = peopleService.people().updateContact(contactToUpdate)
.setUpdatePersonFields("emailAddresses")
.execute();

Full documentation on the people.update  method is available here. We look forward to seeing what you can do with these new features allowing you to modify contacts. To learn more about the People API, check out the official documentation here.

Modifying events with the Google Calendar API


You might be using the Google Calendar API, or alternatively email markup, to insert events into your users’ calendars. Thankfully, these tools allow your apps to do this seamlessly and automatically, which saves your users a lot of time. But what happens if plans change? You need your apps to also be able to modify an event.

While email markup does support this update, it’s limited in what it can do, so in today’s video, we’ll show you how to modify events with the Calendar API. We’ll also show you how to create repeating events. Check it out:

Imagine a potential customer being interested in your product, so you set up one or two meetings with them. As their interest grows, they request regularly-scheduled syncs as your product makes their short list—your CRM should be able to make these adjustments in your calendar without much work on your part. Similarly, a “dinner with friends” event can go from a “rain check” to a bi-monthly dining experience with friends you’ve grown closer to. Both of these events can be updated with a JSON request payload like what you see below to adjust the date and make it repeating:
var TIMEZONE = "America/Los_Angeles";
var EVENT = {
"start": {"dateTime": "2017-07-01T19:00:00", "timeZone": TIMEZONE},
"end": {"dateTime": "2017-07-01T22:00:00", "timeZone": TIMEZONE},
"recurrence": ["RRULE:FREQ=MONTHLY;INTERVAL=2;UNTIL=20171231"]
};

This event can then be updated with a single call to the Calendar API’s events().patch() method, which in Python would look like the following given the request data above, GCAL as the API service endpoint, and a valid EVENT_ID to update:
GCAL.events().patch(calendarId='primary', eventId=EVENT_ID,
sendNotifications=True, body=EVENT).execute()

If you missed it, check out this video that shows how you can insert events into Google Calendar as well as the official API documentation. Also, if you have a Google Apps Script app, you can programmatically access Google Calendar with its Calendar service.

We hope you can use this information to enhance your apps to give your users an even better and timely experience.

VIDEO: Part 1—Introducing Team Drives for developers



Enterprises are always looking for ways to operate more efficiently, and equipping developers with the right tools can make a difference. We launched Team Drives this year to bring the best of what users love about Drive to enterprise teams. We also updated the Google Drive API, so that developers can leverage Team Drives in the apps they build.

In this latest G Suite Dev Show video, we cover how you can leverage the functionality of Team Drives in your apps. The good news is you don’t have to learn a completely new API—Team Drives features are built into the Drive API so you can build on what you already know. Check it out:

By the end of this video, you‘ll be familiar with four basic operations to help you build Team Drives functionality right in your apps:
  1. How to create Team Drives 
  2. How to add members/users to your Team Drives 
  3. How to create folders in Team Drives (just like creating a regular Drive folder) 
  4. How to upload/import files to Team Drives folders (just like uploading files to regular folders) 
The Drive API can help a variety of developers create solutions that work with both Google Drive and Team Drives. Whether you’re an Independent Software Vendor (ISV), System Integrator (SI) or work in IT, there are many ways to use the Drive API to enhance productivity, help your company migrate to G Suite, or build tools to automate workflows.

Team Drives features are available in both Drive API v2 and v3, and more details can be found in the Drive API documentation. We look forward to seeing what you build with Team Drives!

Google I/O session recap: how to build custom apps with App Maker



Every company has workflows and processes that are unique to its business, customers and employees. Often, these are captured manually within large spreadsheets or ad-hoc databases with macros and scripts. But what if they could be turned into custom business apps instead? Apps that provide useful UIs and distinct user roles, while helping to minimize data entry errors and increase productivity?

This year at Google I/O, I shared reasons why businesses should use App Maker—our low-code, application development tool that lets companies quickly build custom apps in G Suite. Check it out here:


And for those who’d like more detail, here is a recap of my presentation.

Closing enterprise “app gaps” with App Maker 

“App gaps” are a reality for most companies, even those that embrace major SaaS products. Think about the edge cases that aren’t addressed with a standard CRM offering like conducting territory planning or tracking asset performance.

We experienced similar gaps at Google. A few years ago, our HR recruiters were overwhelmed with the thousands of monthly interviews that each generated lengthy feedback reports from multiple interviewers. This volume made it difficult for hiring committees to calibrate candidates and make timely decisions, and resulted in delayed responses. To fix this, our IT team decided to build an app by cobbling elements from our own infrastructure.

Over time, more app requests came in from other parts of Google, so we created App Maker. What started as a handful of apps within Google, evolved into nearly 400 internal apps used by thousands. Plus, the majority of these apps were built by non-engineers outside of IT.

Today, App Maker gives software engineers and citizen developers—like business analysts or coding enthusiasts—the ability to quickly build and deploy apps to get around their workflow challenges.

How does it work? 

App Maker makes it easy to build apps in days, not months, because of its easy data-binding and drag-and-drop UI design. You can also integrate your apps with various data sources, Google services or APIs to cover broad legacy assets. Any app you create is also a part of Drive in G Suite so your data never leaves your domain.

Here’s how to build an App Maker app in three steps:
  1. Define your data models, by importing existing Google Sheets to App Maker, connecting to Google Cloud SQL instances, or manually defining custom objects field by field.
  2. Build your UI by adding pre-built components like data entry forms, report templates and easily create event triggers and application flows. 
  3. Optionally, add open source HTML, CSS and JavaScript to run on the client UI and on the app server, implementing custom functionality that’s not provided out-of-the-box.
App Maker is currently in Early Adopter Program (EAP) for every G Suite Business customer. To get started, apply here.

Ideas to get started 

By now you’re probably wondering what you can build. Well, based on our customers’ experience, here are some good starting points:
  • If you have a large Sheet with more than a handful of users updating it regularly: Sheets usually have an underlying workflow. An App Maker app will provide a better UI for it—showing the workflow visually, prompting for actions and eliminating data entry errors. 
  • If you perform recurring bulk operations in Calendar or Gmail: Say an employee joins or leaves a department, you can build an App Maker app to generate the appropriate bulk-operations in a few clicks. 
  • If your company is already using Apps Script and BigQuery: This means you’ve already invested in customizing workflows. App Maker can increase the velocity of developing custom apps.
Go build your apps with App Maker in G Suite—sign up for the EAP today.

Updating developer identity guidelines and registration processes to protect users




Last week, we took immediate action to protect users from a phishing attack that attempted to abuse the OAuth authorization infrastructure.

Today, we’re supplementing those efforts to help prevent these types of issues in the future. These changes may add some friction and require more time before you are able to publish your web application, so we recommend that you plan your work accordingly.

Updating app identity guidelines 

As our Google API user data policy states, apps must not mislead users. For example, app names should be unique to your application and should not copy others'.

To further enforce this policy, we are updating our app publishing process, our risk assessment systems, and our user-facing consent page in order to better detect spoofed or misleading application identities. You may see an error message as you’re registering new applications or modifying existing application attributes in the Google API Console, Firebase Console, or Apps Script editor as a result of this change.

New review processes and restrictions on web apps requesting user data 

We have also enhanced our risk assessment for new web applications that request user data.

Based on this risk assessment, some web applications will require a manual review. Until the review is complete, users will not be able to approve the data permissions, and we will display an error message instead of the permissions consent page. You can request a review during the testing phase in order to open the app to the public. We will try to process those reviews in 3-7 business days. In the future, we will enable review requests during the registration phase as well.

You can continue to use your app for testing purposes before it is approved by logging in with an account registered as an owner/editor of that project in the Google API Console. This will enable you to add additional testers, as well as initiate the review process.

We also recommend developers review our earlier post outlining their responsibilities when requesting access to user data from their applications. Our teams will continue our constant efforts to support a powerful, useful developer ecosystem that keeps users and their data safe.

Create quizzes in Google Forms with Apps Script



Last year, we launched Quizzes in Google Forms to help teachers and students take assessment to scale. Using Quizzes, teachers are able to automate testing and give feedback to students faster by having Forms check responses against correct answers automatically. Today, we are making that functionality available to developers by extending the Google Apps Script Forms Service. With this feature, you can create and customize quizzes programmatically with Apps Script.

More specifically:
  • Create quizzes 
  • Assign point values and correct answers for questions 
  • Implement custom grading schemes 
Let’s take a look at an example use case and relevant code snippet.

Creating an auto-graded question 

Multiple choice, checkbox and dropdown questions can be auto-graded, which means students can see their grades immediately upon submission. This is done by designating which options are the correct answer. Teachers can also set automatic feedback to show correct or incorrect responses, as well as assign point values to the question.

Here is the Apps Script code that lets you create the quiz above:
function createGradedCheckboxQuestionWithAutofeedback() {
// Make sure the form is a quiz.
var form = FormApp.getActiveForm();
form.setIsQuiz(true);

// Make a 10 point question and set feedback on it
var item = FormApp.getActiveForm().addCheckboxItem();
item.setTitle("What flavors are in neapolitan ice cream?");
item.setPoints(10);
// chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry are the correct answers
item.setChoices([
item.createChoice("chocolate", true),
item.createChoice("vanilla", true),
item.createChoice("rum raisin", false),
item.createChoice("strawberry", true),
item.createChoice("mint", false)
]);
// If the respondent answers correctly, they'll see this feedback when they view
//scores.
var correctFeedback = FormApp.createFeedback()
.setText("You're an ice cream expert!")
.build();
item.setFeedbackForCorrect(correctFeedback);

// If they respond incorrectly, they'll see this feedback with helpful links to
//read more about ice cream.
var incorrectFeedback = FormApp.createFeedback()
.setText("Sorry, wrong answer")
.addLink(
"https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neapolitan_ice_cream",
"Read more")
.build();
item.setFeedbackForIncorrect(incorrectFeedback);
}
For more details on what you can build with the Apps Script Forms Service, review the documentation, ask questions on Stack Overflow or in the G+ community, and let us know what else you’d like to see using the new public issue tracker for Apps Script.

Using field masks with update requests to Google APIs



We recently demonstrated how to use field masks to limit the amount of data that comes back via response payloads from read (GET) calls to Google APIs. Today, we’ll focus on a different use case for field masks: update requests.

In this scenario, field masks serve a different, but similar purpose—they still filter, but function more like bitmasks by controlling which API fields to update. The following video walks through several examples of update field mask usage with both the Google Sheets and Slides APIs. Check it out.
2
In the sample JSON payload below, note the request to set the cells' bold attribute to true (per the cell directive below), then notice that the field mask (fields) practically mirrors the request:
{
"repeatCell": {
"range": {
"endRowIndex": 1
},
"cell": {
"userEnteredFormat": {
"textFormat": {
"bold": true
}
}
},
"fields": "userEnteredFormat/textFormat/bold",
}
}
Now, you might think, “is that redundant?” Above, we highlighted that it takes two parts: 1) the request provides the data for the desired changes, and 2) the field mask states what should be updated, such as the userEnteredFormat/textFormat/bold attribute for all the cells in the first row. To more clearly illustrate this, let’s add something else to the mask like italics. Here, the updated field mask now has both bold and italic fields:
"fields": "userEnteredFormat/textFormat(bold,italic)"

However, while both elements are in the field mask, we’ve only provided the update data for bold. There’s no data for italic setting specified in the request body. In this case, for all cells will be reset, meaning if the cells were originally italicized, those italics will be removed after this API request completes. And vice versa, if the cells were not italicized to begin with, they’ll stay that way. This feature gives developers the ability to undo or reset any prior settings on affected range of cells. Check out the video for more examples and tips for using field masks for update requests.

To learn more about using field masks for partial response in API payloads, check out this video and the first post in this two-part series. For one of the most comprehensive write-ups on both (read and update) use cases, see the guide in the Google Slides API documentation.  Happy field-masking!