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If you administer a Google Apps domain, for education or otherwise, you really should be using GAM, the Google Apps Manager (and you should really be using it from a *nix or *nix-like environment). GAM is a command-line tool that lets you administer virtually any aspect of a Google Apps domain.

So why should you run it from *nix? Because awk. If you’ve ever had a big csv file that you needed to work with from the command-line and ended up writing a big old bash script that you probably weren’t going to use ever again, you’re in the target audience for awk. With awk, you can fire off beautiful *nix style one-liners like it ain’t no thing. You can pipe the output of other utilities through awk, or you can write awk scripts just like you’d write bash scripts (except the hash-bang at the start would read /usr/bin/awk rather than /bin/bash).

So, an example of the power of the two together:

I need to suspend a large group of users and move them to a different OU within my domain. All these users are currently in the same OU, so I can just dump all the info for the OU, grep for email addresses, and use awk to fire gam for each user found. In bash-land, this would probably mean dumping the users into a csv, then writing a script and passing in that csv. That’s a lot of work. in awk-land, though, it’s just one line:

gam info org /name/of/ou/containing/users/to/modify | grep @domain.tld | awk '{system("python /path/to/ update user " $1 " org /name/of/new/ou suspended on")}'

That’s it.

You can learn about awk here.


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