Frequent Google App Engine Releases to Continue in 2012

Romin Irani, February 2nd, 2012

Google App Engine has had a tough year last year. It had to deal with developer revolt when it announced it’s pricing and has also seen its mindshare in the PaaS landscape reduce with the emergence of polyglot platforms like CloudFoundry and Heroku. One thing they have got consistently going for them and which is continuing this year is their razor sharp focus on releases. Google App Engine has been averaging a release every month of late and January saw them release the latest version 1.6.2.

In its first release of the year, App Engine has introduced experimental support for backup/restore of your Datastore, support for the Django framework to access Google Cloud SQL and some enhancements to the Channel API and Task Queues.

The Experimental Backup/Restore of Datastore is a feature in the Administration Console to backup your datastore to the Blobstore. You can also select which backup to restore from. Keep in mind that these operations count against your quotas. The default API deadlines for Blobstore API calls have been raised to 15s for online and 30s for offline requests, up from 5s in this release.

Earlier in December as part of the 1.6.1 release, App Engine released two experimental APIs that should eventually graduate to full support:

  • Logs Reader API: An API that gives programmatic access to your logs and analyzing them via your favourite tool. This API is a welcome move and offers a possible solution out of using the Administration console to view your logs. The Logs API was authored by Chris Bunch and a blog post chronicles his experience developing it as part of his internship with the App Engine team.
  • Conversion API: A neat and much needed API to convert between different file formats like PDF, HTML, Text and images.

The App Engine team has been consistent in frequent releases and the main challenge now is to ward off competition from PaaS platforms like Heroku and CloudFoundry, who have been wooing developers by giving them the flexibility of using various programming languages and stacks to deploy their applications. This year could be critical to them in terms of their growth.

For App Engine 1.6.2 Release Notes, refer to the Python and Java sections respectively.

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