Google Cloud Platform is positioning itself as a major player to help mobile developers get off the block fast. While the platform was complete in terms of its Compute Engine (IaaS), App Engine (PaaS) and cloud services (Storage, Big Query, etc), developers still had to do the work of connecting the pieces. If you were a mobile developer who wanted a quick starter application in the Google cloud, you had to figure out the pieces. Similarly, if you were looking to expose your app engine applications as a bunch of REST-based services that would scale to heavy loads and work across multiple mobile devices, you had to work on your application to do so.
In significant platform updates throughout November, Google addressed these points, making it easy to expose cloud applications via services and providing a starter back-end application to mobile developers who wish to get off the blocks quickly.
First up is Google Cloud Endpoints, which we covered earlier this year. Cloud Endpoints, which is now generally available, provides developers with a simple way to create, expose and consume APIs served from App Engine. All you need to do is use annotations to expose your Java and Python code as APIs that can be consumed by both native and web clients. Your API in essence will be powered by the App Engine platform, which will provide infrastructure and security management automatically. Once the APIs are exposed, mobile developers can autogenerate client libraries for various platforms, which makes the task of integrating the API calls into mobile applications that much easier.
Mobile Backend Starter (MBS) is targeted toward mobile developers who would want a starter application generated, built and deployed in the cloud. This starter application utilizes Cloud Endpoints, so you can generate the client libraries for easy integration. The starter app not only stores the data in a generic manner (think about high scores, to-do lists or location data) but also supports Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) for Android and Apple Push Notifications (APN) for iOS.
Check out the Google Cloud Platform blog post, which goes into greater detail with code snippets, to see how developers can quickly set up a complete best-of-class scalable application in the cloud that can power their mobile applications.
In a related development, the App Engine team has released version 1.8.8 of the App Engine SDK. One of the key highlights of this release is that dedicated memcache has been made generally available. Check out the 1.8.8 Release Notes
This year has seen the App Engine team consistently deliver releases every month and a focus on high-impact features that fits with the entire Google Cloud Platform strategy. We can surely expect Google to make a greater push for its Compute Engine product with developers—the company claims to serve 1 million load balanced requests per second. Will Google be able to make inroads into Amazon's domination of the IaaS landscape? Developers will tell.