Google App Engine

Interested in an excuse to learn Python, and always on the lookout for production environments that are both stable and flexible, and I took a look at Google App Engine. To try it out, I created a simple contact and task manager that is live at http://bizz.appspot.com. I love the speed at which changes are deployed as well as the removal of environment maintenance tasks.

Python and Google’s webapp framework programming is rather straightforward too. I also find the constraints of Google App Engine really do steer me to keep things simple which leads to faster turn around time and less head-scratching.

With just a few hours of Python programming under my belt, I can see why Python programmers it as much as Ruby programmers enjoy Ruby. It really is an enjoyable language to work in and I’m looking forward to creating a couple more simple applications with Google App Engine.

3 comments

  1. Very interesting, I hadn’t even considered something like Google App Engine, or a language outside of the .net world until I read your post. Two questions:

    1. Can the app connect to a web service to do back end work? In particular, would it work with a web service written in .net?

    2. Do you have to have the Google disclaimer thing at the bottom?

  2. Enrique,

    1. Google App Engine provides a URL Fetch API to “communicate with other applications or access other resources on the web by fetching URLs”. So if your web service exposes functionality via http or https, then it could use that functionality. “fetch() supports five HTTP methods: GET, POST, HEAD, PUT and DELETE. The request can include HTTP headers, and body content for a POST or PUT request.” http://code.google.com/appengine/docs/urlfetch/overview.html

    2. No, I don’t think you have to have the Google disclaimer. I manually added that.

    As to wether Google App Engine is recommended and worthy of consideration, the jury is still out. At this point, it is in still in “Preview Release” with many constraints, the most notable being that it supports only Python and a limited set of Django functionality. For getting important (e.g. “paid”) work done, it probably is not worth the effort to learn a new language. But for continuing growth and education, it is an interesting offering to investigate. With 140,000 developers signed up, web application developers should at least be aware of it.

  3. Thanks for that, and I’ll do more reading on it 🙂