App Engine now supports Java, and Google is offering a plug-in for the Eclipse development environment.
At a developer event at its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters on Tuesday, Google celebrated the first birthday of its App Engine Web application platform by announcing the availability of several significant new features.
Foremost among them is support for the Java programming language. Previously, Google App Engine applications had to be written in Python. Now, App Engine supports standard Java API libraries and allows developers to deploy apps in a J2EE servlet container.
In conjunction with the arrival of Java support, Google has updated the Google Web Toolkit to version 1.6 and is offering a plug-in for the Eclipse development environment.
Google's goal in releasing these tools is to reduce the complexity of Web application development. "By reducing the administrative headaches that come with scaling and distributing an application, we hope that App Engine will continue to let developers do what they do best: launch services that delight users," explained Kevin Gibbs, technical lead for Google App Engine, in a blog post.
Google also enhanced App Engine's utility for business users and developers. It released the Google Secure Data Connector (SDC), which allows IT administrators to securely connect App Engine programs, Google Sites gadgets, and Google's own applications such as Google Docs to corporate data sources.
At Tuesday evening's developer event, Mark Woollen, VP of social CRM products at Oracle, demonstrated an Oracle CRM gadget that allows customers to access CRM data from within Google Apps. Such private gadgets, he explained in a video presentation, meet the user access security needs of IT for business users.
"Secure Data Connector enables Oracle Siebel CRM customers to benefit from an open, standards-based connection to the cloud," he said.
Appirio and IBM also made presentations, and several other companies, including Cast Iron Systems and Panorama Software, announced support for SDC in their products.
In a post on his blog, Reuven Cohen, founder and CTO of Toronto-based cloud application developer Enomaly, said that the addition of Java is the least interesting part of the announcement. "The most exciting aspects are the addition of hybrid cloud components that let you use a combination of cloud based resources as well as traditional data center centric resources," he said, referring to SDC.