App Engine is Google’s platform-as-a-service for building application backends without having to worry about maintaining a complex infrastructure.
The big news is that App Engine now supports any programming language, so a developer can create the app in whatever language they are comfortable using. Google sees this as a game changer, making the platform more open, which is a big theme with the company as it transitions to try and lure enterprise customers to Google Cloud Platform in general.
Sam Ramji, VP of product management at Google points out that App Engine was initially an entirely closed environment. “What we are launching is an open generation of App Engine,” Ramji said.
In the previous version there was a limited set of runtime libraries and once you built an application, it was very difficult to take it out of Google. The company has indicated that part of its philosophy on being open means making it easy to move and avoid lock-in, even if that means leaving Google Cloud Platform.
With the new version of App Engine, Ramji pointed out, you can get a Docker image with your application if you want to leave — and you can move it wherever you wish.
Initially, it supports supports 7 languages including Java 8, Ruby, Go, Python 2/3, C#, PHP 5/7 and Node.js. But it also allows programmers to bring their own language runtimes, frameworks, and third party libraries and App Engine handles all the management for the developers giving them that flexibility to bring the tools they like to work with without having to deal with the management, the biggest advantage of using a cloud service in the first place.
Finally, the company will let developers bring a programming package (binary) to App Engine as a Docker image.
While App Engine is known for easy management as a cloud tool, Google points out that doesn’t necessarily mean you give up all control. Developers can still get under the hood to whatever degree they are comfortable, using familiar tools should they need to undertake custom debugging or customized integration.