Mar 31, 2011 (01:03 PM EDT)
Google App Engine Adds New Features

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Google has upgraded the App Engine, the company's platform for developing and hosting Web application in Google data centers.

Version 1.4.3, released Wednesday, brings the Java and Python runtimes closer to parity by including in the latter's software development kit a test library matching the Java SDK's testing framework, Google said. On the other hand, the Java SDK gets deferred and remote application programming interfaces.

A key feature in the Python SDK is an experimental released called the Prospective Search API, which taps into a querying service that allows developers' applications to match search queries against real-time data streams. The technology can be used to search for updates on social networking services or real-time comments in a chat room. It also can be used in applications that analyze data sources that provide notification, monitoring, or filtering services.

The test bed suite in the SDK enables developers to test the quality of code locally, instead of using App Engine production services. By dropping the need for the external service, Google said developers will be able to write stable code more quickly.

An important update to the Java SDK is "concurrent requests," which makes it possible for each application instance to serve multiple users at the same time. Previously, Java apps build with the SDK had to rely on starting additional instances to scale up to higher traffic levels.

The remote API added to the SDK lets developers perform operations on an application's data store from a local computer, Google said. The deferred API allows users to more easily write and execute ad hoc tasks. Both have been in the Python SDK for a while.

In releasing the new SDKs, Google also gave a peek at the upcoming 1.4.4 version of App Engine. The upgrade will include a change that would let people who upload code to download it, as well as owners of the project, as listed in the administration console. "In preparation for this, be sure to properly assign roles to all developers on your App Engine application in the Admin Console," Google warned.

Last year, Google had to suspend some App Engine fees following temporary service troubles that the company said was due to rapid growth. Competing cloud application platforms include Amazon Web Services, Heroku, Microsoft's Windows Azure Platform and Salesforce.com's Force.com.