Google App Engine

I finally got around to trying out Google App Engine the other night.  This is Google’s cloud computing, or Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering, for developing and hosting web applications.  It currently supports Python, PHP, Go and Java (or any other languages that run on the JVM).

I was looking around for some code to set-up my own proxy server (for completely innocent reasons of course).  I found a tutorial from these guys for a simple proxy, written in Python and hosted on Google App Engine.  I followed their instructions and got it up and running in no time.  Thanks guys, nice one.

The way it works is you download and install the Google App Engine SDK for the particular language of your choice and point it at your code.  You will also need to create an application in the App Engine console – this will need an app id which will uniquely identify your application and form part of your application URL, e.g. <myapp>.appspot.com Together with your application code, you will need to include a configuration file – app.yaml – this will tell the SDK it where to deploy to, i.e. <myapp>.appspot.com.  The SDK also contains a handy built-in web server for testing your application locally (for the Python SDK anyway).  Sweet!

The only issue I encountered during this process was when trying to deploy my application to the app engine.  You need to login using your Google account.  I have 2-step verification set-up on my account, which it didn’t seem to like.  A little bit of searching revealed the fact that I needed to create an application specific password, which I managed to do quite painlessly through my Google account page.  It generated a password for me, which I was then able to copy and paste into the password box on the Google App Engine SDK.  It is probably a good idea to do this even if you don’t have 2-step verification set-up.  I can’t wait to try out some of the other SDK’s next.

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