Google focused on application management with its latest release 1.3.8 of App Engine, its platform-as-a-service offering. Along with performance improvements, Google added a handful of useful administrative tools, which make it easier for developers to see their application's status.
A key feature in this release is the Instances console. This is provided as a new option in the Admin console. It gives you an overview of the different instances that your application is using. You can look at the response time, latency, etc via the instances console. This is extremely valuable to developers who wish to monitor how responsive their applications are when hosted in the Google cloud. We believe giving more visibility about how their applications are running is key to developer confidence in the platform.
Task Queue support has also got an upgrade in this release. The default bucket size is now 100 and best of all; you can now run a task immediately via the “Run Now” button. This is a nice feature to test out your task immediately, at both initial deployment time and also on an ongoing basis in case of issues.
Apart of its normal share of bug-fixes for both Java and Python, several features have been introduced for Python applications. Built-in directives for Python, allows you to specify functionality needed in your application via the app.yaml file instead of modifying your code base. The built-in directives supported are remote-api, appstats and the datastore-admin feature. With the datastore-admin directive, Python applications get an experimental delete feature, where you can delete all or part of your application data. This is a very handy feature and Java developers are sure to be left disappointed at this not being available to them. Java developers can particularly look at the several SOAP classes that have been white-listed now.
Google App Engine continues to be a powerful and widely adopted PaaS platform with its developer-centric tools. With the latest features, Google is addressing points raised by developers gradually. For full details on the new features and fixes, refer to the release announcement or individual release notes for Python and Java.