First Impressions of Clasp extension for VS Code to manage local development of Google Apps Scripts

The editor for google apps scripts is OK for simple (single file) macros or scripts. But it falls short when you are managing more complex scripts and multiple files. That is where google clasp comes in. Google clasp is an extension for VS code that allows google apps scripts to be updated locally, with changes easily pushed to your script.google.com. It does not replace git, as it does not do version control, but it does do basic syncing well. It has its own .claspignore file like git and uses similar commands – clasp push to send code to google.com and clasp pull to get code down. But it is rather crude – there are no controls and it overwrites everything on script.google.com with each push. I assume pulls would do the same, but I have not done them and would caution against them. A simple json files clasp.json – holds the scriptID of the remote target and a path to the local “repo”. I have a dev and prob remote target and swap our clasp.json files as needed. Pushing to multiple targets seems to be possible, but I have not implemented it.

I followed this basic guide to get up and running – thank you Learn Google Spreadsheets. As this guide is geared to Mac users and I am running on WSL2 on windows, I had to do a few particular things to get clasp installed.

One clear anomaly that clasp handles is the conversion the .gs file extensions on script.google.com to .js file extensions in your VS code. I also have a remote git repo connected. The remote git repo works pretty normally, but it does have .js extensions so it cannot be hooked up directly to script.google.com. I would need another repo that connects to the gashub extension for chrome to hold a repo of .gs files. Pretty convoluted, but it works.

I found that having VS Code really facilitates refactoring. I basically treat the script.google.com as the test server environment and use the watch command (clasp push -w) to make updates quite seamless. All in all a thumbs up.

UPDATE – for those interested – here is my full workflow.

Google Apps Script workflow – with Clasp and Gashub

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