24 March 2014

Google App Engine

Google App Engine is a useful platform as a service offering. However, it lacks many of the accessible options for the standard developer. The SDK services require a bit of fiddling around to make the integration work. Although, this has improved over time. This is in comparison to the seamless offerings with AWS and Heroku. It is also the case that language support is lacking where one can only develop in either Java, Python, and Go. Even the standard relational option has only just recently been introduced. Custom domains require a Google Apps account which is also limiting as a service compared to the flexibility offered on other platform services. As yet, many developers are looking to use Google Apple Engine as a point of experimentation building prototypical applications. Another obstacle with the platform is that it is not portable. The development of a project has to be custom done to work on the platform and cannot later be transferred to another PaaS provider without much re-engineering. Although, third-party solutions are slowly emerging to tackle this as a misconception. Google App Engine over time also works out more expensive than AWS which has become pretty much the standard choice of cloud based development in the large. Although, to be fair, AWS is more of an infrastructure as a service provider. However, in order to compete with other PaaS providers, Google would have to make their cloud services more approachable for developers as well as providing options for use of custom domains outside of premium pricing. It is not to say that custom domains cannot be used without premium access. But, it still requires much tweeking around to get such things to work. With AWS one at least gets a free tier for a year to plan for a full launch as well as a lot of flexibility on the cloud services. And, even Heroku provides a useful free option. It may also be more realistic to compare it against Heroku as they are essentially both PaaS providers. Google App Engine, is however, useful for Python and Java developers. But, for Java it also has quite a few limitations and restrictions to which libraries that can be used and accessed. A lot of core services on the platform work quite well if one is building a Python based application as updates and new changes are available first for that language. There is still much for Google App Engine in the evolution towards becoming more accessible in industry and to grow out their cloud services model. But, one thing is for sure that if one does deploy on to their platform they will have a good uptime of services to work with in order to handle high levels of data loads. Nevertheless, it is still a pretty solid cloud platform for building scalable applications. There is an obvious and conscious choice that one has to make when choosing the right cloud provider whether for prototype projects or for production use depending a lot on the evolving application needs.