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Gaps

Easy management of your Google Apps email configuration.

Overview

At Stripe, we've long had many
more Google Group mailing lists than employees. As
the number of lists grew, so too did the complexity of managing your
email setup: which lists were you on? Why are you receiving email for
this list you're not subscribed to? How do you set up your filters to
usually archive email to a list, but only if you're not present on the
CC?

Gaps is the main tool we've used to help make these questions
manageable. The core functionality is surprisingly simple: a single
list of all your Google Groups in one place, which lets you view your
subscriptions (including whether you're receiving mail from a list
being subscribed to another list), and subscribe or unsubscribe by the
click of a button.

More recently, we've also added filter generation and
maintenance. Unfortunately Google's email settings API only allows you
to create new filters, so it's up to the user to delete their old
ones.

What it looks like

Configuring

Create a site.yaml with your local settings: cp site.yaml.sample site.yaml. You'll need:

  • A Google application. See instructions below, and then update
    site.yaml.
  • A running MongoDB instance. Gaps stores some soft state (cache of
    what it gets out of the API), but also has some hard state (the
    categorization of your groups, people's filter settings). Update
    site.yaml appropriately.
  • (At runtime) an admin account on your Google Apps domain.

Creating a Google application

  1. Make sure you have
    API access
    enabled for your Google Apps domain.
  2. Create a
    new project.
  3. Under the "APIs & auth" accordian for that project, select the
    "APIs" tab. Enable the Google+ API, Admin SDK, and Group Settings
    API.
  4. Under the same accordian, select the "Credentials" tab. Create a
    new "Web application" Client ID. Add your desired redirect URI and
    authorized origins. (In development that'll probably be
    http://localhost:3500 and http://localhost:3500/oauth2callback,
    respectively.)
  5. Copy your client ID and client secret into your site.yaml file.

Running

You can run Gaps directly or under Docker.

Running directly

Run bundle install to install your dependencies. Gaps should run on
Ruby 1.9 and up. Then execute bin/gaps_server.rb (or
bin/dev-runner if you want auto-reloading upon code changes).

Running under Docker

Because there are a lot of settings, running under Docker requires a
configuration file. Clone this repository and execute
bin/docker-runner to run the Docker image we've published with your
site.yaml bind-mounted inside.

Permissions

Gaps uses your domain admin's credentials to perform most actions
(listing all groups, joining a group). So permissions are entrusted to
Gaps's business logic rather than your Google settings directly.

Gaps currrently comes with two schemes to mark a list as private. Any
private lists are currently completely omitted from Gaps: they'll be
left out of the directory listing, their creation won't be emailed
about, and users won't be able to join them.

The first is the Gaps-custom scheme, which grew out of Stripe's desire
for a very lightweight private-group creation. It's probably a
reasonable place to start if you are starting with very few private
lists:

  • Prefixing the name with private-.
  • Prefixing the name with the less-cumbersome but more-obscure acl-.
  • Adding a JSON tag as the last line of the group description with a
    "display" setting as follows: {"display": "none"}

The second is using the Google Groups Settings API. This checks that
the group is set to be shown in the group directory, that anyone in
the domain can join, and that anyone in the domain can view it.

Choose your privacy schemes using the Configatron keys under
permissions.privacy_settings.

Contributions

Patches welcome! There are many features that would be useful that
Gaps doesn't yet support. For example:

  • Managing your group settings: generally you probably want all of
    your lists to have a standard set of configuration (such as Public
    posting, etc). Gaps could ensure that all lists in your domain have
    the appropriate settings.
  • More flexible filter generation, or better story for clearing
    filters.
  • Displaying your private lists.
  • Fully AJAX-ify the UI. As you can tell, there's still a lot of
    low-hanging fruit on the UI.

Contributors

  • Amber Feng
  • Andreas Fuchs
  • Brian Krausz
  • Carl Jackson
  • Evan Broder
  • Greg Brockman
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Owner
franc0is
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