Porting Zoho Apps to Google App Engine - Page 3

Download the authoritative guide: How to Develop an IT Security Strategy

While learning Python might not be a major stumbling block, another problem with using Zoho Creator as a development environment for GAE involves the development cycle itself. Any time you deal with emitted code, where an IDE (integrated development environment) instead of compiling code emits a high-level language, you end up with a problem if you want to make changes to the software. In the case of Zoho Creator with GAE, you can make changes to your software either from within Zoho or by modifying the emitted Python code itself.

Modifying the emitted Python code would certainly make sound coding sense, as you would want your code to be optimized for Google App Engine. But then you'll have yet another problem on your hands: Zoho Creator can't read your modified Python code back in. Changing the Python code is a one-way, downhill street. One you've changed it, you're stuck making all future changes and modifications to the Python code without the help of Zoho Creator.

If you want to avoid this problem, you'll have to make all your changes inside Zoho Creator itself. Then you'll remain at the pre-Python level, without making any changes to the Python code and, again, probably not needing to know Python at all.

Does it sound like this is getting messy? It does to me.

Conclusion: Our place in this world

This is where we get to the issue of knowing our place in this world. From working with the GAE emitter on Zoho Creator, while you can move your applications from Zoho Creator to Google App Engine, I seriously question whether it makes sound business sense. A software development organization must have total control over its software, from start of development to finish. Bugs are a fact of life, a reality, and if there's a certain area of your cycle where you don't have total control (such as debugging the emitted Python code), you're in for a lot of headaches.

I can't help but wonder, then, if the feature of deploying to Google App Engine was less a business decision by Zoho itself and more just something the developers came up with to see if they could make it work. While it might certainly work with some simple, small applications, I could not recommend using this approach to develop mission-critical applications that are targeted for Google App Engine.

Senior Editor Jeff Cogswell can be reached at jeffrey.cogswell@ZiffDavisEnterprise.com.