2014 has been an eventful year for Google Apps Script with some great new capabilities arriving (add-ons), as well some useful ones (ScriptDB) being deprecated. In this post I’ll cover my highlights and lowlights of the Apps Script year, and would love to have your opinions on
- did I miss anything significant this year, and do you agree with my comments?
- what do you think the best thing that happened this year in Apps Script?
- .. and the worst ?
- what an ‘apps script bucket list’ should contain.
Of course the big news this year was add-ons, which went into developer preview in March. Prior to that in February there were a number of add-on enablers implemented such as the ScriptApp class with its oauth token handling and a large number of DocumentApp changes such as bookmark, cursor setting and named ranges to allow navigation back and forwards between the add-on and the active document. Other preparatory changes included removing the ability to customize the width of a sidebar in which the add-on will execute. In September additional authorization items were added to ScriptApp, and installable triggers were enabled for add-ons, and finally in October, add-ons became implementable in Forms.
My personal view of add-ons is that with a few exceptions, they’ve been a bit of disappointment, which I attribute mainly to this (others might say that difficulty of monetization should also be added to the list).
- There’s a lot of overhead and things to learn to do with publishing add-ons to the Chrome store. In the end a lot of things that start off with a plan to be an add-on end up as a custom menu item.
- The review process. It’s good that publicly available add-ons are checked for dangerous side effects and quality, but organizations who want to publish domain only add-ons should be able to do what they want, when they want. They can develop their own review processes if required.
- January – Number of email recipients reduced from 500 to 100.
- March – Number of read/write in gmail increased from 10000 to 20000 a day.
- March – Maximum script execution time increased from 5 to 6 minutes.
- January. Various spreadsheet functions that were duplicate to those provided by DriveApp.
- February. Replaced Script and User properties with a single PropertiesService. Although it was painful, this is a more secure model than what we had previously.
- February. Finance service. In my opinion, it should never really have been a script app service in the first place.
- May. Both the Domain Service and ScriptDB deprecation was announced. Without knowing the bigger picture, it’s hard to fathom the reasoning behind withdrawing ScriptDB without a simple official alternative, but I guess it will be revealed one day.
- June. Script Gallery was deprecated, with the intention of focusing on the add-on store.
- September. Some changes to LockService and CacheService along the lines of those made earlier in the year to the PropertiesService. These lessen the risk of leakage between user and script level and are good changes.
- December. The Docslist service (the predecessor to DriveApp) was deprecated, along with the UI service. It always takes a while to change UI code, but with the HTMLService now fairly mature, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to continue to encourage development in the UI service.