Sending Autopkg and JSSImporter Notifications to Google Hangouts Chat

Although Slack has seemingly taken over the world of workplace chat, my organization is a G Suite shop and we use Hangouts Chat for a majority of our internal communication. It’s included as a “core” G Suite app, so why not use the product we already have, right?

I wanted a way to post notifications to Hangsouts Chat rooms when autopkg downloads new software, or makes changes to our Jamf Pro server via JSSImporter. No solution existed. Building on the excellent Slack-centric work of both Graham R Pugh and Rich Trouton, I’ve made two different autopkg postprocessors to send autopkg notifications to Google Hangouts Chat.

HangoutsChatNotifier - simple notifications

If you’d just like to know when your automated autopkg run downloads new software, HangoutsChatNotifier will send a simple note to a Hangouts Chat room.

HangoutsChatJSSNotifier - going deeper with JSSImporter

If you’re using JSSImporter to automate the process of adding the software autopkg downloads to your JSS, HangoutsChatJSSNotifier will send more detailed messages to a Hangouts Chat room.

Both postprocessors leverage the existing data provided during an autopkg run to send data to a Hangouts Chat incoming webhook.

To set these up on your own G Suite domain, you’ll need:

  • Hangouts Chat enabled for your users
  • Bots enabled for all OUs in your domain. If Bots are not enabled across the domain, your notifications will fail
  • My haircut-recipes autopkg recipes present in your autopkg repository, which includes these Hangouts Chat postprocessors
  • An incoming webhook configured for the Hangouts Chat room you wish to notify
  • …and of course, a working autopkg setup

Setting up a webhook

In Hangouts Chat, open the room you’d like to notify, then click the room’s name near to top of the screen.

Click Configure webhooks. Enter a name for the incoming webhook – I just use “autopkg” – then click Save.

You’ll see a long URL displayed representing the API endpoint we can use to send messages to this room. Copy that URL and save it for later.

Which postprocessor should I use?

Whichever you like!

HangoutsChatNotifier sends simple messages to inform you when your autopkg workflow has downloaded new software. The quick notifications might be useful to send to your desktop support team Hangouts Chat room, or your QA group.

If you’re using JSSImporter as part of your autopkg workflow, you may find the expanded detail provided by HangoutsChatJSSNotifier useful. Setting up JSSImporter is beyond the scope of this article – but if you’re already there, HangoutsChatJSSNotifier will help you send notifications to Hangouts Chat.

Running the postprocessor

You have two options to include the Hangouts Chat postprocessors in your autopkg runs.

Using a postprocessor at the command line

The simplest method is to include the --post flag when running autopkg at the command line.

…for HangoutsChatNotifier

Specify the postprocessor name com.github.haircut.HangoutsChatNotifier/HangoutsChatNotifier and provide a --key in the form --key hangoutschat_webhook_url="<incoming webhook url>". Replace <incoming webhook url> with the URL you noted earlier after creating an incoming webhook in your Hangouts Chat room.

A complete command might look like:

autopkg run MyRecipe.recipe \
--post "com.github.haircut.HangoutsChatNotifier/HangoutsChatNotifier" \
--key hangoutschat_webhook_url=""

…for HangoutsChatJSSNotifier

Just like the simple notifier, add a --post flag to your autopkg run and specify com.github.haircut.HangoutsChatNotifier/HangoutsChatNotifier, and a `--key hangoutschatjss_webhook_url="<incoming webhook url>".

This example might look like:

autopkg run MyRecipe.recipe \
--post "com.github.haircut.HangoutsChatJSSNotifier/HangoutsChatJSSNotifier" \
--key hangoutschatjss_webhook_url=""

…with a recipes text list

If you use a text file list of multiple recipes the postprocessors are compatible and will send a Hangouts Chat message after each recipe runs.

For example:

autopkg run --recipe-list /path/to/recipe_list.txt \
--post "com.github.haircut.HangoutsChatJSSNotifier/HangoutsChatJSSNotifier" \
--key hangoutschatjss_webhook_url=""

Using a postprocessor with a recipe property list

My preferred method of running multiple autopkg recipes is using a property list (plist). A plist recipe list lets you set up declarative and robust autopkg configurations that would otherwise require a messy string of command line arguments.

To include the Hangouts Chat postprocessor, add it as an array item under the postprocessors key. Then, add your incoming webhook url as a string under a hangoutschat_webhook_url key.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
<plist version="1.0">

Important! Hangouts Chat incoming webhook URLs include an ampersand (&) in the query parameters, which is an illegal character within an XML <string> element. You must replace the ampersand with its character entity &amp; when including the incoming webhook URL in a property list file – otherwise the postprocessor will fail to send a notification.

e.g. .../XXX/messages?key=XXX-XXX&amp;token=XXX-XXX

Now you can run your recipe list and send Hangouts Chat notifications using a much less cumbersome command:

autopkg run --recipe-list /path/to/recipe_list.plist

Using both HangoutsChatNotifier and HangoutsChatJSSNotifier together

The namespace for each postprocessor is distinct, so you can use both simultaneously during a single autopkg run. For example, you might like to send your helpdesk a brief notification that new software is available using HangoutsChatNotifier, and your engineering team managing Jamf Pro a more detailed note showing the changes made to your JSS.

For this example, you’d create one incoming webhook in your “helpdesk” Hangouts Chat room and set its URL as the hangoutschat_webhook_url key. Create a second incoming webhook in your “Jamf Pro” Hangouts Chat room and set that URL as the hangoutschatjss_webhook_url. Add both postprocessors to your autpkg run – done!

Wrapping up

If you have need to customize the formatting or content of the Hangouts Chat notifications, you can fork my postprocessors found at autopkg/haircut-recipes/PostProcessor. Google has great documentation around their message formats.

Now go forth and notify your teams!

Written by @haircut

Matthew Warren is an Apple Systems Administrator working in higher education.

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