Google Tweaks Developer Tools, App Engine SDK

Google announces updates to its Google Web Toolkit, Google Plugin for Eclipse, and Google App Engine software development kit (SDK).

Google has updated some of its core tools for developers, including Google Web Toolkit and Google Plugin for Eclipse, and added new APIs for Google App Engine.

In a Feb. 14 blog post, Chris Ramsdale of the Google Developer Tools team said GPE (Google Plugin for Eclipse) and GWT 2.2 (Google Web Toolkit 2.2) are now available with several new features. Google Plugin for Eclipse 2.2 directly integrates GWT Designer, a WYSIWYG Ajax user-interface designer that makes it much easier to quickly build UIs.

In addition, Ramsdale said developers can take advantage of the modern Web with the first round of HTML5 support within the GWT software development kit. Also, GWT's CellTable widget now offers new functionality, such as default column sorting and the ability to set column widths. These new features make it even easier to build best-in-breed Web applications using Java-based tools and Eclipse, Ramsdale said. And while these applications can be run on any platform, Google Plugin for Eclipse makes it very easy to deploy, and run, on Google App Engine.

"Directly integrating GWT Designer into the Google Plugin for Eclipse has been a top priority for us over the past few months," Ramsdale said. "We've had some very positive feedback from the community early on, and for this release, we not only wanted to provide the best developer experience when using GWT Designer, we also wanted a seamless experience across GWT Designer and GPE."

Moreover, GWT 2.2 includes support for HTML5-specific features, such as the Canvas element, which allows for dynamic, scriptable rendering of 2-D shapes and bitmap images, and the embedding of Audio/Video tags. "These APIs are still experimental and may change a bit over the next couple of releases, but we feel that they're stable enough to deserve some real mileage (by you)," Ramsdale said.

Meanwhile, regarding Java 1.5, Ramsdale said, "GWT version 2.2 will only have deprecated support for Java 1.5, resulting in warnings when building applications. While Java 1.5 will still work for this release of GWT, developers should upgrade their version of Java to correct these warnings and ensure compatibility with future versions of GWT."

On Feb. 11, Google announced an update to its App Engine SDK, version 1.4.2, which focuses on improving and updating a few existing App Engine APIs. One update is an improved XMPP API to help applications better interact with users. Notifications are sent when users sign in and out and when their status changes, and the application can now set presence details to be returned to the user. Subscription and Presence notifications are enabled as inbound services in the application configuration.

Google also delivered Task Queue performance and Task Queue API improvements.

According to a Feb. 11 post by the App Engine Team, "First, we've increased the maximum rate at which tasks can be processed to 100 tasks/second. Applications can also specify the maximum number of concurrent requests allowed per queue in their queue's configuration file. This can help you more easily manage how many resources your task queue is consuming. We've also added an API that allows you to programmatically delete tasks, instead of managing this manually from the Admin Console."

Google also made other minor tweaks to the App Engine platform and updated the App Engine Roadmap with a few new projects, the team said.