Google has launched its second version update of the Google App Engine since August, with the latest release including a host of features that the company says will make it more flexible and simpler for developers to use for their applications.
“Just a few weeks following our last release, we’re back with Google App Engine 1.8.4,” wrote Jessie Jiang, director of product management for Google’s Cloud Platform, in a Sept. 9 post on the Google Cloud Platform Blog. “To make it even easier for developers to build and test their applications at scale, we’re better aligning the development environment with the App Engine production environment. We’re updating the development application server to perform more like the High Replication Datastore, so now it defaults to using an eventually consistent storage model.”
Also updated in the latest version is Google’s support for Dynamic Web Projects in Eclipse to better support Google Cloud Endpoints and App Engine Backends, as well as fixes for several bugs, wrote Jiang. The latest GPE release is now available for download. More details about the changes and improvements in App Engine 1.8.4 are included in the project’s release notes.
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, wrote Jiang. That results in “significantly faster snapshot times with less Cloud Storage usage (meaning less cost to you). As a result, you can take snapshots more regularly and have better protection for critical data.”
In addition, Google has added the recently announced capabilities for Google Compute Engine load balancing to the Cloud Console, making it easier for developers to administer their load balancing, wrote Jiang.
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.
The new tools included Layer 3 load balancing for Google Compute Engine and improvements to the PHP runtime in the latest Google App Engine release. The Layer 3 load balancing capabilities were a key addition in the Google Compute Engine, to provide Google-scale throughput and fault tolerance to manage Internet applications.
Using the new load balancing services, developers and administrators can load-balance ingress network TCP/UDP traffic over a specific set of Compute Engine virtual machines (VMs) within the same region, while ensuring that only healthy VMs are used to serve Internet requests through the use of HTTP-based health checks, according to Google. The new tools also allow users to easily handle load spikes without prewarming their systems and to configure the load balancer via command line interface (CLI) and a programmatic RESTful API.
The enhancements all came on the coattails of other recent improvements introduced for developers by Google.
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.
Google Releases App Engine 1.8.4, Hot on the Heels of Version 1.8.3
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 is presently limited to supporting Python 2.7 App Engine apps.
The Cloud Playground is an open-source project that includes mimic, which is a regular Python App Engine app that serves as a development server; and bliss, which is a trivial browser-based code editor that lets users edit code in the mimic virtual file system.
Earlier in June, Google opened its Google Maps Engine API to developers so they can build consumer and business applications that incorporate the features and flexibility of Google Maps. By using the Maps API, developers can now use Google’s cloud infrastructure to add their data on top of a Google Map and share that custom mash-up with consumers, employees or other users. The maps can then be shared internally by companies or organizations or be published on the Web.
Google also recently 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 January, Google announced that it was moving its Google Cloud Platform (GCP) over to the GitHub collaborative development environment to make it easier for software developers to contribute and continue the evolution of GCP. The GCP program has been growing since Google unveiled a new partner program in July 2012 to help business clients discover all of Google’s available cloud services. GitHub is a rapidly growing collaborative software development platform for public and private code sharing and hosting.