Google extends App Engine for mobile-app back end
To encourage developers to create more mobile applications to run from its cloud services, Google is offering two new or updated frameworks to run the complicated but necessary back-end infrastructure of mobile apps, freeing developers to concentrate on the more innovative parts of their work.
Google has released a new collection of hosted tools and libraries for ramping up and running the supporting infrastructure for Android and iOS mobile applications, called Google Cloud Endpoints. The company has also updated a full ready-to-use software stack for Android and iOS mobile apps, called the Mobile Backend Starter. Both use the tools in Google App Engine, Google’s collection of PaaS (platform as a service) tools.
Google Cloud Endpoints can run many of the operations that take place behind the screen of a running mobile application, such as user log-ins.
Using Endpoints, a developer doesn’t have to go through the sometimes laborious process of setting up OAuth authentication to manage user accounts for an app.
Communication with the back-end services is done through REST (representational state transfer) network communications to a set of APIs (application programming interfaces) that Google has provided to access its services.
Using wrappers provided by Google, an app can tap into many Google App Engine services, such as Datastore, Google Cloud Storage, Mail, Url Fetch and Task Queues.
Endpoints also promises to automate many of the ongoing system administration duties of ensuring an application stays running, such as load balancing, scaling and server maintenance.
Service provider Blossom.io used a preview of Google Cloud Endpoints, which was made available earlier this year, to run APIs for its own online app development service.
For those who want even more of a turn-key service, Google offers Mobile Backend Starter.
Mobile Backend Starter provides a complete back-end infrastructure, further reducing the amount of effort needed to get a mobile app running. It provides a data store, user authentication, push notifications, and the ability to do event-driven programming to facilitate user interactivity.
The updated version of the service promises to run seamlessly with the latest editions of iOS and Android. It can now also manage large media files.