Just so happens that we’ve been getting right into learning Google App Engine and Python its language of first choice the last few days — over which you’ve no doubt noticed a dearth of posts — for the server side support needed for the latest project being beaten out of raw opcodes down here in the Trollwerks foundries; and why yes, yes we’ve been most favorably impressed with both.
Point the first: If there is anywhere, on any platform, a web service development setup that even approaches App Engine Launcher on Mac OS X, we certainly have never heard of it. Code in tandem with your client in Xcode, get everything sorted with the marvelous console support, and deploy live with one click once satisfied.
Point the second: The System Status Dashboard and all its goodies are likewise far and beyond anything else we’re aware of for monitoring, tuning, and debugging your deployed web service.
Point the third: The pricing is attractive — particularly for developers, because the free quotas are far more than you have any reasonable expectation of using during a development cycle.
And we could go on for a while, but you get the idea. For convenience and elegance of developing a small to medium web service to support your iPhone app, we don’t think there’s anything else even worth considering.
No, don’t keep reading, go buy it. Now. Using it these past few days we put together our little web service from scratch, including cron jobs and using the funky datastore, without referring to the actual documentation. Not once. We did have to do some bits of searching around to get ourselves up to speed on the various Python language constructs, but less than you’d probably figure; there were clear explanations and examples for at least 95% of what we wanted to do. So although there are other GAE focused books out there, we say you don’t even need to bother reviewing them; this one took us from all but absolute zero knowledge of either GAE or Python to a deployed and working service in a matter of mere hours.
So our enthusiastic — nay, heartfelt — appreciation to Messr. Sanderson for a fine job well done, and our likewise hearty recommendation to you that Google App Engine familiarity would be a useful addition to your skillset!
Here is an excellent looking list of GAE links:
And a nice example of using GAE to provide a content rating backend: