Google App Engine Gets Full Java 8 Support

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is considered by many to be the ideal way to get your applications to the cloud. Google, with its App Engine product was among the first off the blocks and the last few years have seen steady fixes and enhancements to the platform.This changed last week with the announcement for full Java 8 support on the App Engine Standard Runtime.

Amit Rouzrokh, Product Manager at Google Cloud announced full Java 8 support on the App Engine Standard Runtime along with the complete picture of it not just being a question of language version support but a well planned release that takes into consideration support for Java toolsets, elimination of the class whitelisting, support for popular frameworks and an update Google Cloud API for Java. 

Developers who prefer using the popular Java frameworks, rather than adjusting their applications to use the App Engine APIsTrack this API, can do so now with the Java 8 runtime support. Frameworks like Spring Boot and alternative JVM languages like Groovy and Kotlin are supported too. The most important thing to note in this support is that Google has done away with the Java class whitelisting, which prohibited use of certain Java classes in the SDK due to Sandbox restrictions. Developers now closely integrate their development and build tools and this release has seen strong support for tooling that includes. Stackdriver, Cloud SDK, Maven, Gradle, IntelliJ and Eclipse plugins.

App Engine is well known for making it dead simple to deploy your apps to the Google Cloud runtime. The ease in the deployment workflow is well demonstrated by this Youtube tutorial that shows how to deploy a Java Application to App Engine within a minute.

App Engine in currently available in both Standard and Flexible Runtime. The Standard Runtime was the original version and over the years it has seen support for Python, Java, Go and PHP runtime environments but with restrictions that do limit flexibility for developers, especially certain frameworks and classes that you could use in the case of Java runtime. The Flexible runtime was introduced with more language support and and ability to run your own code removing some of those limitations. With Java 8 now being available on the standard PaaS and with added flexibility of running popular Java frameworks, it might just be the trigger needed for existing customers to use newer language features but developers who now prefer to choose one of the popular frameworks and expect that to just work in the runtime. 

For more information on the Java 8 release, check out the official announcement and the quick start guide.

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