Google Releases New Google Cloud Endpoints for Mobile Developers

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2013-11-12

Google Releases New Google Cloud Endpoints for Mobile Developers

Google has released its latest Google Cloud Endpoints project for general availability, which aims to make it easier for mobile developers to tie their apps into Google's APIs.

For mobile developers, Endpoints provides a simple way to develop a shared Web back end and also provides critical infrastructures, such as OAuth 2.0 authentication, eliminating a great deal of work that would otherwise be needed, according to Google.

"As a mobile application developer, some projects demand building your own backend, while others can move faster with a ready-made solution," wrote Tzachi Ben-Ayoun, a Google product manager, in a Nov. 11 post on the Google Cloud Platform Blog. "Two updates we are making to Google Cloud Platform help you with either scenario. To help you build your own backend, Google Cloud Endpoints has now moved to General Availability. If you are interested in a ready-made solution, the new version of the Mobile Backend Starter is now available with support for large media files in addition to updated iOS and Android clients."

Google Cloud Endpoints helps mobile developers in a multiplatform, multiclient and multiscreen world by providing a connecting point on the back end, wrote Ben-Ayoun. "It's often important to think about building APIs first and using a shared backend to connect to client applications later. At Google, we have a history of providing APIs for products such as Maps, Translate and Gmail, which have led to the creation of new applications that are used by millions of users."

That's where Google Cloud Endpoints comes in, by providing developers with a simple way to create, expose and consume APIs served from App Engine, wrote Ben-Ayoun. Using Endpoints, developers will have help with the scaling, authentication and tooling that are all required.

Google Cloud Endpoints consists of tools, libraries and capabilities that allow developers to generate APIs and client libraries from an App Engine application, referred to as an API back end, to simplify client access to data from other applications, according to a Google Endpoints FAQ. "Endpoints makes it easier to create a web backend for web clients and mobile clients such as Android or Apple's iOS."

Because the API back end is an App Engine app, the mobile developer can use all of the services and features available in App Engine, such as Datastore, Google Cloud Storage, Mail, Url Fetch, Task Queues and others, wrote Ben-Ayoun."And finally, by using App Engine for the backend, developers are freed from system admin work, load balancing, scaling, and server maintenance."

All of this could be done without using Google Cloud Endpoints, wrote Ben-Ayoun. "However, using Endpoints makes this process easier because it frees you from having to write wrappers to handle communication with App Engine. The client libraries generated by Endpoints allow you to simply make direct API calls."

The API back end is an App Engine app that performs business logic and other functions for Android and iOS clients, as well as JavaScript Web clients, wrote Ben-Ayoun. "The functionality of the backend is made available to clients through Endpoints, which exposes an API that clients can call," he said.

Holger Mueller, principal analyst for Constellation Research, told eWEEK that the new Google Cloud Endpoints offering is a boon for mobile developers because it will make their coding lives easier.

"If you build a mobile app and you don't know where it's going to be used, the problem is latency," said Mueller. "If you go to the Amazon cloud, you have to think of where you deploy. The endpoint is where the mobile device gets into your hosted cloud host. Provisioning that to the different endpoints is a huge pain."

Google Releases New Google Cloud Endpoints for Mobile Developers

For developers, the latest Google Endpoints can make it simpler, he said. "Google says this will make it easier because you build your own endpoint library and they distribute it. It was extra work to do this on your own before." 

Mueller called this "a very good thing for mobile developers" that isn't yet being done by others, including Amazon.

Meanwhile, Google has also updated its Mobile Backend Starter (MBS), a one-click deployable, complete mobile back end built on Cloud Endpoints for client applications, wrote Ben-Ayoun. "MBS provides a ready-to-use, cloud backend and client-side framework for Android and iOS," he wrote. "We have distilled the best practices from hundreds of successful mobile backends on App Engine to give developers a turnkey solution that requires no server side development."

The new version of MBS includes more efficient handling of large media files using Google Cloud Storage, as well as updated template mobile clients with updated user interfaces and best practices, wrote Ben-Ayoun.

Google is always busy making improvements and advances in its cloud platform components and services for developers. In late October, Google replaced its old Google API Console with a new, expanded and redesigned Google Cloud Console to help developers organize and use the more than 60 APIs now offered by Google. The new Google Cloud Console makes managing the over 60 Google APIs housed within easier than ever, according to Google. Soon the new cloud console will be set as the default choice for the console by Google, though users will have the ability to revert back to the old version.

Earlier in October, Google released several technical papers to help cloud developers learn more about the development tools it offers through its Google Compute Engine services. The papers, "Overview of Google Compute Engine for Cloud Developers" and "Building High Availability Applications on Google Compute Engine," offer insights and details about how the platform can be used and developed for business users.

In September, Google unveiled its second version update of the Google App Engine since August, with the latest release 1.8.4 including a host of features that the company says will make it more flexible and simpler for developers to use for their applications. Included in 1.8.4 is support for Dynamic Web Projects in Eclipse to better support Google Cloud Endpoints and App Engine Backends, as well as fixes for several bugs. One other important new feature is the ability of Google App Engine to handle differential snapshots of a Google Compute Engine persistent disk, so that only the most recently changed data is updated.

The August launch of the previous App Engine 1.8.3 was also accompanied by deeper features for Google Compute Engine and the Google Cloud Datastore as the search giant continues to add functions and robustness to the Google Cloud Platform.

In July, Google unveiled several new features in the Google Cloud Storage environment to make it easier for developers to manage, access and upload data into the cloud. Those new capabilities included automatic deletion policies, regional buckets and faster uploads as part of a wide range of services.

In June, Google unveiled a new Cloud Playground environment where developers can quickly try out ideas on a whim, without having to commit to setting up a local development environment that's safe for testing coding experiments outside of the production infrastructure. The Cloud Playground is slated as a place where application developers can try out all kinds of things, from sample code to viewing how production APIs will behave, in a safe, controlled place without having to manage the testing environment, according to Google. The new Cloud Playground initially supports only Python 2.7 App Engine apps.

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