Wednesday, June 19, 2013

[Gd] Requesting Google Groups in a Domain through Apps Script

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Google Apps Developer Blog: Requesting Google Groups in a Domain through Apps Script

Editor’s Note: Guest author Niels Buekers is a Google Apps consultant at Capgemini Belgium. — Arun Nagarajan

During a recent Google Apps migration project, we received several requests to create custom groups of contacts so that users could more easily email frequent collaborators. Before switching to Google Apps, users created their own private distribution lists — but this approach led to overlapping groups that quickly fell out of sync.

The problem was a perfect case for Google Apps Script. We built a great solution that gives users as much power as possible with just a quick administrator review.

The situation before: either manually adding each contact or using a private contacts group.

Solution overview

To start the process, a user adds a specific label to a Gmail message. A script that runs on a timed trigger then generates a request to create a group for all the addresses in the message. The script writes this data to a spreadsheet that tracks group names and administrator approval.

* Retrieves all 'group_request' threads and creates a request.
function processInbox() {
// Get threads that have the group_request label.
var groupRequestLabel = GmailApp.getUserLabelByName('group_request');
var threads = groupRequestLabel.getThreads(0, 10);

// For each thread, retrieve all recipients and create a group request.
for (var i = 0; i < threads.length; i++) {
var firstMessage = threads[i].getMessages()[0];
var sender = firstMessage.getFrom();
var recipients = [];

// Add sender.

// Add recipients.
if (threads[i].getMessages()[0].getTo()) {
var toRecipients = parseAddresses(firstMessage.getTo());

// Add CCs.
if (threads[i].getMessages()[0].getCc()){
var ccRecipients = parseAddresses(firstMessage.getCc());

// Write all recipients to a cell in the spreadsheet
// and send emails to ask for group name and approval.

// Remove label from this thread now that it has been processed.

Handling the request

Once the request has been processed and written to the spreadsheet, the script sends the user an email that asks her to suggest a name for the group in an Apps Script web app. A second email asks the administrator to visit the web app to approve or decline the request. The results are again stored in the spreadsheet.

The spreadsheet contains a second script, which is triggered for each modification. Once the script confirms that the request has been approved, it uses the Apps Script Domain Service to create the new group.

* Creates a new group in the Google Apps cPanel with the provided name
* and members.
function createGroupWithAddresses(addresses,groupName){
var group = GroupsManager.createGroup(groupName, groupName, groupName,
var splitAddresses = addresses.split(',');
for (var i = 0; i < splitAddresses.length; i++) {
Logger.log('Adding ' + splitAddresses[i]);

The result after successfully running the script.

This solution provides a simple way for users to request new Google groups, without all the overhead of manually creating an admin-managed distribution list.

Niels Buekers   profile | Twitter

Niels is a Google Apps consultant at Capgemini Belgium, with interest in both the technical track and change management. He recently visited Google’s London office to participate in a Google Apps Script hackathon, which resulted in the above solution. Niels is a strong believer in cloud solutions and loves to spread the word about Google Apps.


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