Charles Engelke's Blog

May 9, 2011

Google App Engine Overview

Filed under: Uncategorized — Charles Engelke @ 1:23 pm
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I’m going to do a little bit of Google IO blogging this year.  Probably not during the main event (there’s too much going on to stop and write about it, and I probably won’t even bring a notebook to it), but during Bootcamp I’ll be doing hands-on exercises and may have time to take a few notes here.

Here at Google IO Bootcamp, my first session is an App Engine overview (or is it AppEngine?).  I’ve used it before, but not for two or three years.  Well, actually my personal web site ( is hosted on it, but doesn’t use any of its capabilities.  There should be some new stuff here to learn.

App Engine is a cloud computing offering, specifically Platform as a Service (PaaS).  Other kinds of offerings would be Software as a Service (SaaS) such as Google Apps or, and Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas) like Amazone EC2 or Rackspace.  I love the idea of PaaS, and really want to find ways to use it, both personally and in my company, but the endpoints (SaaS and Iaas) are easier to get into.

App Engine is getting pretty heavily used.  In fact, it serves 1.5 billion page views per day.  I know one of the Royal Wedding sites was run on it.

You can create an App Engine application using either Python (the first supported language on it) or Java.  I know there are people who have run other languages on App Engine’s JVM (such as JRuby, Scala, Groovy, and others, even Jython if you want to use Python but access Java classes), but that’s too tricky for me to want to mess with.  Personally, I’ve always used Python while trying out App Engine.  It’s not a strong suit for me, but it’s a nice language and a good environment for it.

There’s an Eclipse plug-in for App Engine development, which I have installed, but I don’t much like IDEs.  I prefer a command line and text editor, and that’s how I went through the on-line tutorial to prepare for today.  Actually, I used the GUI Launcher they now offer, but still kept in my preferred text editor.


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