Or should that headline have been A/B Testing Comes to Google App Engine API? Google's PaaS has quietly been rolling out a release every month. In its second release of the year, the App Engine team has focussed not just on its usual fixes, but a series of changes for the Administration Console and a platform features that are bound to make other PaaS vendors sit up and take note: support for A/B Testing of your web application.
App Engine 1.6.3 was announced at the App Engine blog and the A/B Testing support is a valuable addition for existing clients. A/B Testing, also known as split testing or bucket testing, is a popular technique in which you serve different versions of your web application to a different set of customers. It is particularly useful when you want to release some new features but want to test out the feedback via a selective set of users. For more information on A/B Testing, refer to the Smashing Magazine article.
The A/B Testing support is called Traffic Splitting in App Engine and can be configured in a simple way. You need to simply identify a non-default version of your application, specify the percentage of traffic it should receive and choose the type of Splitting i.e. by IP Address or Cookie. Keep in mind that this feature is experimental and is bound to change moving forward.
The other platform change announced is the support for DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) signature, which will be added to every email going out from a user of a Google Apps domain from a request originating on that domain, or from an app administrator with an account on a Google Apps domain.
In addition to the above platform changes, a bunch of changes have been added to the Administration Console, key among them being ability to shutdown an instance from the Instances View and specifying the amount of storage and duration of time for the logs. The first GB of Logs storage is free but additional storage will be at $0.24 per Gig per month.
The release has also seen several bug fixes for both the Python and Java runtimes. App Engine also supports the Go language runtime but there is no mention about it in this version. For App Engine 1.6.3 Release Notes, refer to the Python and Java sections respectively.
(Image Credits: Smashing Magazine)