Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Google App Engine - The core component.

When I initially started to look at the various technologies available to make database driven websites I thought I'd be learning Apache (for serving the data), Tomcat (for running the application), some database type (probably MySQL due to the price) and some sort of web design tool.

But then I discovered this book!

It essentially shows you how you can avoid all the pain and learning curve associated with Apache, Tomcat and database design and usage. So rather then learning mutiple packages I could just do everything in Google app engine. The book is based around Python and Java and the Java components are the more advanced but it's still a invaluable reference.

If you want to get started with Cloud programming but have very little programming knowledge (but are willing to learn) this is the book for you. More advanced users may find little to interest them but then those users are presumably not reading this blog anyway!

The current SDK for Google App Engine and Python can be found here: Link While you can program Python with a text editor you'll eventually get to the point where that is insufficient. I use Pycharm as a development environment. There is a 30 day free trial available.

The main advantage of using something like Pycharm is that you'll get to the point where you need to debug and to do that you'll need to step through the code one line at a time and I don't believe you can even do that without such an editor.

The editor also allows you to step through the code when you are integrated with app engine itself and it's really invaluable at debugging subtle issues that you simply can't catch by looking at the code (well, I can't!). So now you have a development environment (Pycharm) and a place to develop in (Google App Engine - GAE).

While there is a small cost for Pycharm after the 30 day period it's well worth it. There are alternatives however but for a beginner like me there is not much to choose from between them.

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