Retiring a Few Apps Script Components

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 | 4:08 PM


Right now, Apps Script developers have three competing ways to create user interfaces: Ui Service, a visual tool for Ui Service called GUI Builder, and Html Service, which we launched at Google I/O in 2012. We designed Html Service specifically to help developers build complex applications by letting them work with familiar libraries like jQuery and jQuery UI.

Today, we are deprecating GUI Builder and five UiApp widgets — but not Ui Service itself. This will help us further focus our development efforts on Html Service.

The GUI Builder will continue to be available until September 9, 2013. After that point, you will not be able to create or manage GUI Builder components, although existing components will still function. The five deprecated UiApp widgets are Hyperlink, InlineHyperlink, LayoutPanel, RichTextArea, and SuggestBox. These widgets will be also available until September 9, 2013, at which point they will cease to function.

To plan for the future, we recommend that you migrate your user interfaces to Html Service, which will offer the best combination of features and support in the long term.

Meanwhile, we have a few awesome new features planned for 2013. Although we’re not quite ready to announce those features, I dropped a few hints when Arun Nagarajan interviewed me for a State of the Script episode on Google Developers Live last month. Give it a watch, and I’m sure you’ll be as excited about the future of Apps Script as we are.

Saurabh Gupta   profile | twitter | blog

As the product manager for Google Apps Script, Saurabh is responsible for Apps Script’s overall vision and direction.


Steve Webster said...

+1 on focusing on what matters most.

Also, the "hints" in the State of the Script video sounds great. Having scripts bound to Google documents, slides, and possibly forms opens up more opportunities.

Hoping to hear more at Google IO.

Henrique Abreu said...

Yes, great State of the Script video! Great focus on what matters.

Luciano Panepucci said...

State of the script was great. I will love to be able to add custom menus in documents!

smartsuite said...

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Riyaz Mansoor said...

Its all really nice, GAS maturing.

But the size of the ScriptDb database is just not enough (200MB total for GA Business) even for a temporary/transitional store of data.

Issue is now marked as WontFix - no increases in size available.

I think that an increase in the ScriptDg store size is REQUIRED for good webapps to be built on top of GAS.

At least a paid option?

The Americanized Gamer said...

Way to ignore/dismiss the market flow.

While more and more people are craving for flexible, easy to use tools, Google is returning to the dark ages of the internet with a non-graphical set of scripting tools.

Ironically, Google engineers also appear to have very little clue when it comes to their own software.

HTML Service might have its strengths. But they aren't in GUI building.

Overall, a rather infuriating turnout.

Wendel said...

Hello Saurabh Gupta,

Some great items, looking forward to the better integration of apps into Gmail and Documents. I do have some concerns about the google apps strategy.

About HtmlService

It is a cool service but requires a solid understanding of web application development. To make something simple, you need knowledge of HTML/JQuery and cross- browser compatibility. Your mainstream users don't have that knowledge. So it should not be a surprise that they don't leverage this component.

It is also very limited in practical code re usability and you have to hack everything in one single HTML file.

This service has his purpose and I'm very happy with it but should never be considered as replacement for UIApp.


Is not finished yet. We do need RichTextArea!! Please fix the open issues first before moving to an advanced gui service. Match the UI to the current google look. Replace GWT with a light weight module tooled for google apps.

StandAlone Editor

Are you sure it is a requested feature by your user group.. Can I use it on my ChromeBook?
Instead, give us the option to upload/download gs files from the Drive and more enhancements to the existing web-editor.

About Issue List

There is a large list of open issues, some dated more than a year ago. Please fix them first before moving further.

Script Authorization

It is not possible to switch the effective user of the script. Changing owner doesn't work.

Last point, move your focus to the enterprise level. Forget the apps script market. We as developers are service oriented, not product. Start listening and interviewing your developers, pop-up monthly polls in the script editor. Get to know your user base.

I hope you appreciate these comments and take them in notice.

Best regards,
Wendel de Witte

daniel Jackson said...

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Adrian Sutherland said...

I think the move to htmlservice (or whatever it is called) is a backward step - why would anyone waste their time with this? I was getting excited with the possibilities of GAS - but I am not going to hand craft HTML. No worries I will move on.

Why not finish things you started?

thomascook said...

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administrador said...

Hello Saurabh,

I work at a high school near Barcelona (I'm the "head teacher").

The last two and a half years I have been working more and more with Google scripts. Many of the needs of the school, from the point of view of software, I have been migrating to Google Services ( Mail for school - teachers and students -,Google Apps Education, GApps Script, .... )

At first, to learn, I worked with scripts in spreadsheets and in summer 2011 I programmed a lot of applications with GAS. The truth is that programing with UI Service is a little complex and results, visually speaking, there're not very attractive (lists, buttons and little else).

The most important application served to manage absences of students and the consequent sending an SMS informing parents.

During the academic year 2011/12 I was starting to work with the GUI Builder. Improving applications, working in this environment, using image layers - created many of them in Google Drive - with dropdown lists, buttons or other, allowed me to generate a more rich applications.

All I've been doing for the year 2012 has been exploring, learning and improving my performance in using the GUI Builder service.

Obviously the most important part was the programming for each application but is the facility to develop the visual layer what I have greatly valued. Maybe I've spent more hours designing the graphics part that programming :-)

Some of the things I've worked on have been graphical titles, legends, icons and other background layers related to the current year, the school logo, ...I was very proud with the final result.

Some of these things I should be able to retouch from one year to another one. Limiting the use GUI builder service and deprecating use in September 2013 makes these programs may become obsolete and useless.

I spent A LOT OF TIME designing our work environment .. I've had a great time. but I'm not an expert programmer. Maybe I'm not even a programmer and do not know if I will have the capacity or the will to start again with html service.

Very sad for me to read this entry in the blog and I'm agree with the comments of Wendel, Adrian, ...

Sincerely yours,

Sergi Curtu

Rob Muskett said...

I agree with Sergei!

You are stomping on your biggest potential market which is educators who have spent the last 2 years mastering Google Scripts and the GUI Builder.

Why should we bother teaching ourselves to use Google Apps if you add and drop them as you wish?

Most educators have limited programming training but are the largest body of Google Apps users in the world.

Your script tutorials are not helpful to teachers and scripts are an enigma. In a field where legal student data security is critical, we need to build our own scripts and GUI not rely on some unknown builder.

There is a lag as people become familiar and get up to speed with the apps. The rest of the world does not set its watch to Cali time. Slow down, provide better training materials, and survey your users on apps before dropping them. For a company that evangelizes collaboration, it seems to be lacking in some areas.

Next time, you consider dropping an app think of the millions of educators around the world who are squeezing in time in 15 minutes increments to master your existing apps.

I just presented on Google Scripts to educators from throughout the state and most feel lost regarding Googke Scripts and GUI. You have to do better outreach to educators. Think of the numbers of users involved. Many vendors switched their focus from other fields to education and met great success. If you make it easy for educators with limited training, provide better training, and reach out, I predict that you will be surprised at how educators embrace Scripts and GUI.

If you want to make yourself irrelevant to educators, keep skipping along dropping apps like rosé petals on a garden path.

Marcelo said...

+1 on the request to not remove GUI Builder. Please, why deprecate such a nice, simple solution in favor of something much more complex.
HTMLService may be more powerful but that alone is not a valid argument to drop GUI Builder.
Put your "average user" hat and please reevaluate this decision.

Rob Muskett said...


I was hoping to hear from you or someone in your unit.

Definitely, I would like to continue this discussion offline.

I am in LinkedIn so lets connect and talk.

Look beyond the tech specialists and the app developers to the average Google Apps user. How are you going to ensure that you will empower them to use the HTML service?


Knight Technologies said...

The GUI Builder looks very developer friendly in terms of a forms designer and almost like an IDE like for Visual Studio, I'm guessing it also promotes a lower learning curve and downtime developing, so removing it would probably mean you'd have to spend some time doing a bit more research and doing things more manually and increasing page refresh rates and more troubleshooting with things like typo's.

Having a designer with simple drag and drop accelerates development making it more rapid, so I do think it's a bad idea to remove as it promotes flexibility in work flow unless there's an idea on replacement to offset with an equal or a better designer.

Removing the Hyperlink and RichTextEdit Support???

That's like removing textbox, buttons, and listbox, with the combination of multi-tasking simple controls to make them appear and function like anything I guess a workaround will be used.

Doug Girouard said...

Very disappointed with GUI Builder deprecation

Miguel Angel Laynes Sanchez said...

+1 on the request to not remove GUI Builder too.. I don't know what is the problem on it, but really is a very usable tool.. much more than UI service & HTML service for simple applications

lammetjes lam said...

A lot seems to be at stake for the Google App script team right now.
And the price is plain ignorance towards the given comments here.
Great boost for the present users! Well not really, is it !
Clearly it indicates Google looks for another user-base.
Rather disappointing.