Google Creates Developers Cloud Playground for Code Testing

The new Cloud Playground is a place where developers can easily try out sample code, but for now it only works with Python 2.7 apps.

Google has created 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 idea, according to a June 24 post on The Google Cloud Platform Blog by Fred Sauer, a Google developer advocate, is that the Cloud Playground can be 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.

"On the Google Cloud Platform team we're always looking for ways to make developers' lives easier, so you can focus on building interesting applications instead of worrying about managing infrastructure," wrote Sauer. "We also want you to be as productive as possible when you're busy writing code. We provide an SDK which offers access to production APIs, in a way that's compatible with a local development environment."

Yet even that wasn't enough, wrote Sauer. That's where the Cloud Playground experiment fits in, as a place where developers can try out APIs and more, all from within a Web browser.

The new Cloud Playground is presently limited to supporting Python 2.7 App Engine apps.

Developers can try out the Playground by using special new green "Run/Modify" buttons that Google has added to its getting started documentation, which take users straight to where they can edit and run the guestbook sample code as it appears in the documentation, wrote Sauer. Other samples are available on the main Cloud Playground page, as well as an option to clone other open-source App Engine Python 2.7 template projects from Github, he wrote.

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, wrote Sauer.

Google has been busy of late creating new tools for application developers.

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.