Google celebrated the one-year anniversary of the beta release of its Google App Engine platform on April 7 by rolling out additional features, as well as giving developers a first look at the platform's new Java support.
The Google Campfire One event, which the search-engine giant promotes on its Web site as a chance for members of the developer community "to talk shop, share some news, and eat S'mores" at the Google campus in Mountain View, Calif., was the venue for the announcements.
Google also used the event to announce that it is changing the way it builds and releases new products.
"In the past six months alone we've launched nearly 50 projects and small products on Google App Engine-from Google Moderator and Labs for Google Apps to internal-facing tools for both our Ads and Web teams," Kevin Gibbs, tech lead for Google App Engine, wrote in a corporate blog posting. "In all cases we found it quicker, easier, and more cost-effective to leave the infrastructure to App Engine, and the actual product-building to our engineering teams."
New products included the Google SDC (Secure Data Connector), a development tool for building applications that give users access to secure corporate data, even when they are working with Google Apps outside the firewall. The SDC allows that secure data to be accessed from inside Google Gadgets, Google App Engine, and Google Spreadsheets, but provides an agent that connects the Google Apps domain with data sources behind the firewall.
In addition, SDC allows the user to impose authentication systems to validate users and applications making requests to internal services. Developers can use SDC to build gadgets or applications that utilize both private and public data.
A new database import tool allows easier transfer of massive amounts of data into App Engine; export functionality is apparently still under development but should be released within a matter of weeks.
Developers will be able to utilize the new App Engine Cron Service to automatically initiate cron jobs, or "regularly scheduled tasks that operate at defined times or regular intervals," such as daily updating of cached data.
Perhaps the biggest news for developers was Google's new plans to deliver Java support for the App Engine; originally, developers were limited to Python for creating applications. The company plans on delivering Java support for the first 10,000 developers who sign up for it.
Google has been rapidly updating its cloud-computing capability, in many ways making it more robust for enterprise. On May 25, 2009, the company will add a billing system so developers can exceed free usage quotas.
It has also enhanced App Engine, previously a rather stripped-down platform, with a system status site, a resource quota dashboard and other features that will allow it to compete more effectively with providers such as Amazon.com's Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) platform.