Google Apps Script for Developers
There are quite a few advantages with having a local development environment vis-a-vis writing code in the Apps Script Cloud IDE.
- The development experience inside VS Code is unmatched and tools like ESLint and Prettier make it easier for you to catch errors early in the development.
- The build and deployment process can be completely automated with npm scripts and CLASP, Google’s command line utility for Apps Script.
- VS Code has built-in support for Git and integrates with source control providers like Github and Gitlab. It is therefore easier to track changes and restore previous versions of the code.
- You can use modern frameworks like React, Vue.js and Angular to build the HTML frontend that connects to the backend with the Google Script Client API.
The Starter kit is a boilerplate for quickly getting started with local Apps Script development locally inside VS Code. Open your terminal and run the following commands:
1. Clone the Github repository to a local folder
git clone https://github.com/labnol/apps-script-starter my-project
2. Switch to the project folder
3. Install all the project dependencies and utilities
4. Connect CLASP to your Google account
npx clasp login
5. Create a new Google Apps Script project in your Google Drive with CLASP
npx clasp create --title "My Project" --rootDir ./dist --type standalone
Next, open the current project folder inside VS Code with the code . command. It includes some sample code but we will start with a blank folder so delete everything that’s inside the src folder.
Inside the src folder, create a new file - email.js - and write a simple arrow function that prints a list of all the email addresses connected to your Gmail account.
Next, create an index.js file (entry point) in the src folder, import the email function that you’ve created inside the email.js file and add it to the global object. This is a requirement of the Webpack plugin for Google Apps Script.
You can also add a function expression to the global object directly, like doGet in the example below.
Next, jump to the command line terminal and run the deploy command to push your code to the Apps Script project.
npm run deploy
If you are deploying the project for the first time, you’ll get a prompt saying “Manifest file has been updated. Do you want to push and overwrite? (y/N)” - say yes.
After the deployment is complete, open the associated script in the browser with the CLASP open command.
npx clasp open
Inside the Apps Script Editor, go to the Run menu and choose the getEmailAddress function from the list. Open the logs and you should see your email addresses in the window.
Then go to the Publish menu, choose Deploy as web app and open the URL in a new browser tab to check the program output. That’s how easy it is to build projects with the Google Apps Script starter kit.
Create a new repository in Github and make a note of the URL of the new repository. Next, open the terminal and run the following commands to push your Apps Script project to Github.
Also see: Most Useful Google Apps Scripts
Google Developer Expert, Google Cloud Champion
Amit Agarwal is a Google Developer Expert in Google Workspace and Google Apps Script. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science (I.I.T.) and is the first professional blogger in India.