Google has again updated its Google App Engine development environment, adding several new features that improve the creation and maturation of large-scale applications.
The new Google App Engine Version 1.8.2 was unveiled in a July 17 post by Chris Ramsdale, an App Engine product manager, on the Google Cloud Platform Blog. Among the latest improvements is a preview version of a dedicated memcache, which allows developers to "purchase in-memory data caching capacity exclusively for your application, cache more data and drive up cache hit rates," wrote Ramsdale. "With higher cache hit rates, dedicated memcache can also reduce Datastore costs and make your application faster than ever."
App Engine already includes a "free shared memcache that allows developers to cache data in order to improve performance," wrote Ramsdale, but there are some cases where developers need more control over the cache for an application. That's where the dedicated memcache comes in to be used as needed, he wrote. "App Engine now has two classes of memcache service: shared and dedicated. No code changes are required when moving to dedicated memcache from shared."
The new dedicated memcache, which is priced at 12 cents per hour, can be selected on the App Engine administrator's console on the settings page application settings page, he wrote.
The new version of App Engine also includes support for the Git development tool, according to the post. "Many developers have told us they work with standard development tools such as git and they don't want to have to context switch to deploy to App Engine," Ramsdale wrote. "Today we are making it even easier to deploy Python and PHP applications to App Engine with the Source Push-to-Deploy feature. With this release of App Engine we are making Push-to-Deploy Preview available for anyone to try. "
Also new to this version are App Engine Modules, which allow developers to "split out large-scale applications into logical components that are able to share stateful services and communicate in a secure fashion," wrote Ramsdale. "Not all components within an application are equal and often times they require their own performance configurations, authorization, and versioning. With Modules, developers can start splitting their apps with a single configuration change."
Improvements in the integration of App Engine with Cloud Storage are also included in the new release, wrote Ramsdale. A drop-in plug-in for WordPress that adds support for using Cloud Storage for storing uploaded content is now included, as well as a Mail API for sending notifications.
The Python 2.7 interpreter has been updated to the Python 2.7.5 version in App Engine as a further upgrade.
Also fresh is a new update for the Google Plugin For Eclipse to fully support the Eclipse standard Web Tools Platform and Java EAR files, wrote Ramsdale. "This system will be familiar to many Java developers as it is the most common pattern used in Eclipse for on premise and cloud environments. With WTP, EAR Files and Maven support, Eclipse users can now enjoy the full ecosystem of Eclipse plugins from the open source community."
Additional details about the updates, bug fixes and more in App Engine 1.8.2 can be found in the platform's release notes.
In June, Google debuted version 1.8.1 of App Engine, which incorporated many changes and improvements that had been implemented at May's Google I/O developers Conference.
Earlier in June, Google created a new Mobile Backend Starter that lets developers focus on building and selling their apps by automating the back end of apps development. The Mobile Backend Starter works with Google App Engine. The Mobile Backend Starter was first announced at the Google I/O 2013 Developers Conference, where it was the topic of the "From Nothing to Nirvana in Minutes: Cloud Backend for Your Android Application" presentation.
In February, Google awarded its first-ever Google App Engine Research Awards to seven projects that will use the App Engine platform's abilities to work with large data sets for academic and scientific research. The new program, announced in the spring of 2012, brought in many proposals for a wide variety of scientific research, including in subject areas such as mathematics, computer vision, bioinformatics, climate and computer science.
Google created the fledgling App Engine Research Awards program to bolster its support of academic research, while providing academic researchers with access to Google's infrastructure so they can explore innovative ideas in their fields, according to Google. The App Engine platform is particularly suited to managing heavy data loads and running large-scale applications.