Google adds Java to App Engine cloud service

Other features in the updated version of App Engine include database import and export, access to firewalled data, and 'cron' support

Google on Tuesday evening announced a new version of its App Engine application-hosting service that adds multiple capabilities, including an early look at support for the Java programming language.

Improvements are intended to make the App Engine infrastructure available to all developers, ranging from those at startups to IT administrators inside the enterprise, Google said. In addition to Java support, other features in the updated version of App Engine include database import and export, access to firewalled data, and "cron" support, which enables configuration of regularly scheduled tasks to operate at defined times.  App Engine is built for deploying Web applications.

[ Google recently instituted new billing services for developers using App Engine. ]

Google has been running internal and external applications on App Engine and it has not been without difficulty, said Kevin Gibbs, tech lead for Google App Engine, in a blog post on Tuesday evening.

"Tonight at Campfire One, we released a new set of features -- based on community and internal feedback -- that helps App Engine interface more easily with businesses' existing technologies,"Gibbs wrote. Campfire One features a gathering of developers at company facilities.

Early support for Java includes a Java runtime, integration with the Google Web Toolkit 1.6, and a Google Plugin for Eclipse. Developers can program against Java Data Objects or Java Persistence API. Thus far, App Engine has leveraged the Python language.

Also highlighted in the App Engine upgrade were Google Secure Data Connector, for centrally managed access to on-premise data, and a data import tool to move gigabytes of data into App Engine. Cron support, according to a link to the blog, is geared to the Python language.

"By reducing the administrative headaches that come with scaling and distributing an application, we hope that App Engine will continue to let developers do what they do best: launch services that delight users," Gibbs said.

In the past six months, Google has launched nearly 50 projects and small products on Google App Engine, including Google Moderator, for distributed communities to vote on subjects, Gibbs said.

"In all cases we found it quicker, easier, and more cost-effective to leave the infrastructure to App Engine and the actual product-building to our engineering teams," said Gibbs.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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