10,000 bloggers and programmers scrammed to get an invite into Google App Engine yesterday night at midnight — apparently “selling out” in the first three seconds. I wasn’t one of them, but some how, in Google’s act of kindness or just my luck, I was able to obtain one a few hours later.
So, what’s Google App Engine? It’s Google’s mixture of Amazon S3 and OpenSocial, not to mention with the addition of features like analytics and deployment. With App engine, Google hopes to provide independant developers their own scalable platform infrastructure — the same one they use internally — along with a whole application environment, on which developers can build for, on, and use for free, till their apps reach a near-critical mass stage of around 5 million uniques. You can check out the apps that have been created in their App Gallery.
Developers can elect to sign up for an account, download the SDK, and start their development. Once their app is ready, they can officially create and register the app on Google App Engine if they have an account. Once they’ve done that, a whole dashboard is provided to manage aspects of the app, along with the ability to invite other collaborators to the app and an appcfg.py file they can use.
The dashboard presents the developer with a number of useful information. Statistics and charts on the app are provided including popular URLs and URLs with errors, along with logs and application settings. Most importantly, G the dashboard lets the developer manage indexes and view data in the Datastore — Google’s own alternative to SQL based on Big Table.
Currently, Google only supports Python for App Engine and provides a module developers can import into their apps. New languages will be added in time. A useful walkthrough is embedded below which details into develop and deploy an app, or you can watch the hour-long Campfire One presentation which has the product managers and developers introducing the app: