Experience with Google App Engine …
The Beta realease lets any developer with a Google Account to develop and deploy upto 10 Web Applications on the Google Server Cloud aka App Engine. The current version of SDK at 1.1.7 however limits the developer to use the Python Programming Language 2.5 for any app development on their infrastructure. Google has indicated that they will open the platform to other languages soon. I am guessing it would be either PHP or Ruby.
The Documentaion is pretty well developed and easy to follow. I had a chance to play with it a couple of months ago when I my personal Google Account was invited with the development access. The SDK comes with a light weight server to let you develop & test your application locally. I thought this was a really cool feature to test your app locally without having to install/configure a server like Apache or Tomcat. Once you are satisfied, you can easilt push your code to deployment on Google’s Cloud and get a unique URL http://<sampleApp>.appspot.com to host your application. I was quickly able to code, test & deploy the sample GuestBook Application. I had no prior knowledge of Python back then so I did not really venture out to develop any cool applications.
In the subsequent weeks, the venture of testing out App Engine led me to research about Python and related Web Frameworks. I came across Django, about which I had heard a lot but never really bothered to look into. I quickly downloaded it to my machine and got a couple of books from the local library. I had also made myself familiar with the likes of Python Synatx. Django also came with a local light weight server to test your applications. I was able to quickly follow through the book and write an application. However, I had a hard time to port my application to my hosting provider and get it working. I was able to download and install Django but was never able to serve the app. It was literally a nightmare involving installation, configurations, and googling about getting a Django based app deployed on a non-root account and finally gave up. I personally did not care too much, as I was using my hosting account primarily for serving PHP based facebook applications. Ofcourse it did limit me from using a powerful Django Framework.
So, this past week I was playing with API’s from CrunchBase, Yelp, and Twitter and was able to write a quick and dirty PHP based fun mashup app. Interested with the results, I wanted to write a complete app that would be useful. I really did not want to do this with PHP, so decided to give App Engine a shot. I was amazed to complete most of the application logic over the weekend and even publish it. The sample tutorial and refrences were amazing to get my work done. The best part was that I did not have to deal with issues related to hosting the application. The Appengine took care of it all.
In all, I would say that as a developer App Engine lets you focus on the logic and implementation of an application, and takes care of the hassles of delpoyment. It definitely makes writing web applications a fun. I was really impressed with the power and potential.
PS: I am struglling to make my Forms look pretty :). Once, I am done with it I will post a link in the Blog
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I have created this blog ‘SocialApp’ to track the growing innovation around social software. I have a degree in Computer Science and currently working at a successful Silicon Valley Company. I have a background ranging from embedded devices, networking equipment, desktop applications to web services.
I love to read about technology, science, business/finance and general world activities, etc and stay abreast. In the tech sector I am currently interested in playing/developing in technologies related to the Web and Mobile Devices. The topics in this blog will range from social-software development, social applications, web applications, mobile applications, user psychology, innovation etc and my experiences tinkering with them. I often go to local tech based Meetup’s and will also post about them.
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