Google Apps Script

google_apps_script

Lately I've been messing a lot with Google Apps to streamline our internal processes. Even though Google Apps exposes a lot of functionality already through its user interface, the full power of Google Apps only comes to the fore when extended with Google Apps Script which provides a scripting language to Google's application suite. Back in the desktop days I was a power user of Microsoft Office and I've programmed a lot of additional functionality on top of it using Visual Basic for Application. So I know very well what should a good scripting language and environment provide in order to unleash the full power of an application suite. After a few weeks of hacking Google Apps Script I've come away impressed. Using JavaScript as a basic language and extending it with many libraries to connect with Google's services it is possible to implement already highly complex applications. Google has also provided a very good development environment (a web application, too) that provides good debugging tools including breakpoints, watches, and step-by-step execution. The documentation for Google Apps Script is extensive and for the most issues I've had I could find relevant discussions in on-line forums. The scripts I've written are stable and I didn't experience any major glitch.

I think LAMP (or any other technology stack targeted exclusively at programmers) should not be the first and only option to develop web applications anymore. Google Apps Script is a powerful stack already and many web applications can be implemented using it. Especially for internal applications in environments where Google Apps are heavily used Google Scripts provide many interesting ooportunities.

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