Google has announced a project to speed up the performance of Python, the programming language of choice for the Google App Engine cloud platform. In addition, Google is preparing to add Java as the second language supported by the Google App Engine, according to reports.
In a blog post on the Google Code site, Google engineers said the new project, known as Unladen Swallow, is an effort to make Python faster. Python and other dynamic languages carry the burden of a performance penalty when compared with static languages such as C++ and Java.
"We want to make Python faster, but we also want to make it easy for large, well-established applications to switch to Unladen Swallow," the Google Code blog said.
Google engineers listed five primary goals for the project:
1. Produce a version of Python at least five times faster than CPython.
2. Make sure Python application performance is stable.
3. Maintain source-level compatibility with CPython applications.
4. Maintain source-level compatibility with CPython extension modules.
5. Avoid maintaining a Python implementation forever; the Google engineers view their work as a branch, not a fork.
Also, to meet projected performance and compatibility goals, "we opt to modify CPython, rather than start our own implementation from scratch," the company said.
The name of the project, Unladen Sparrow, comes from a scene in the movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," in which a character asks, "What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?" Indeed, the Python language gets its name in homage to the Monty Python troupe and not the Python snake.
Meanwhile, according to Om Malik of the GigaOM Website, Google is working hard to deliver Java support on the Google App Engine and is likely to announce it at the company's Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco at the end of May. Google officials did not comment on the issue of Java support.
"With this Java support, Google can actually turn GAE into the cornerstone of all Android-related apps in addition to getting traction as a platform for many custom enterprise apps written in Java. But in order for all that to happen, Google would have to kick off with what has to be more than just a very barebones environment."