(A day at the office) Automating YouTube stats with Google Apps Script

OCT 12, 2015

Posted by Wesley Chun, Developer Advocate, Google Apps

Happy Monday! Have you ever been asked by your boss to do something simple (good) but long and tedious (bad)? Take for example, the simple task of counting up all of the YouTube views for your corporate videos and your competitors’. It doesn’t even have to be your boss. What if you and your gamer friends are competing to see whose gameplay clips are garnering the most attention? It’s easy to manually track ten videos, but how about 100 or even 1,000? While simple -- you can visit the YouTube to grab the view count for each video -- you know the real problem with a task like this is that you don’t scale with the amount of content, so it’s better to automate with a simple app instead. This is the exact scenario that my colleagues and I set out to address in the latest episode of the Launchpad Online, introducing users to a pair of Google developer tools that can help solve this particular problem:

The first developer tool covered is the YouTube Data API. You can access it like most modern Google APIs from your preferred programming environment using one of the Google APIs Client Libraries. However, this type of data generally lives in a spreadsheet, and if you’re using Google Sheets, you can instead write the app with Google Apps Script, a JavaScript environment running in Google’s cloud that, if authorized, can write that video information to the cells in your Sheet. YouTube is just one of the many supported services available to Apps Script developers.

As with all my Launchpad Online episodes, I walk you through a short code snippet (only eight lines this time) that will get you started building your own custom solution. If you’re new to the developer series, we share technical content aimed at novice Google developers… current tools with a little bit of code to help you launch your next app. Please give us your feedback below and tell us what topics you would like to see in future episodes!