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Google App Engine update eases cloudy mobile app development

Cloud Endpoints let Android and iOS apps plug into Google’s backend

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Google has updated its platform-as-a-service to ease mobile app development in the cloud.

The "Cloud Endpoints" feature was pushed out in its preview form by Google on Thursday, along with support for the Java 7 runtime on its App Engine platform-as-a-service.

"Cloud Endpoints gets rid of all the plumbing code associated with writing custom backend server logic for mobile and web apps," Brad Abrams, a Google product manager, told The Register via email. "For example, developers no longer need to deal with serialization, user authentication, API security, load balancing or machine management."

The Cloud Endpoint lets developers expose RESTful APIs from their GAE applications to mobile and web apps. To use the service, developers must write a Java or Python class containing the methods they want exposed, then annotate the classes with attributes to control how they are represented in the API.

Cloud Endpoints then generates the client libraries for Android, iOS, and a lightweight JavaScript library for web viewing (no mention was made of BlackBerry or Windows Phone).

Previously, developers needed to write their own systems to deal with security, authentication, and support client libraries for each language they used, and had to write the logic needed to expose REST interfaces.

Alongside the Cloud Endpoints release, App Engine also gained support for Java 7 Runtime, which gives developers access to a few neat new language features, including invokeddynamic, try-with-resources, and flexible type creation. Example code is available on Google's blog.

These two releases follow on from last Wednesday's release of App Engine version 1.7.5, which took high-memory instances and mail bounce notifications into general availability.

The updates to Google App Engine come at a time of disruption in the usually quiet platform-as-a-services ecosystem: last week Salesforce-backed Heroku copped to major problems with its own architecture, and word has made its way to this Vulture that EngineYard and Microsoft are due to update their platforms next week.®

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