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Java on Google's AppEngine?

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After last years rumours, hinting at Java coming to Google's AppEngine it's looking like we'll see this announced at the next Google I/O developer conference at the end of May. Om Malik has written about what this actually means for Java developers:

What does this mean? GAE currently is a Python-only app hosting environment and Java has been one of its most-requested features. Google’s support would help Java hosting get a mainstream push. Thus far most people have pushed PHP, Perl or Rails-related hosting services. I wouldn’t be surprised if Google uses a variant of its own Java VM, code-named Dalvik, which is currently being used in Android and Google Mobile OS. Dalvik is a non-Sun-licensed Java environment.

While I'm looking forward to seeing if this will happen, I'm not sure if it's that  relevant for Java developers. After all, we got quite excited about Google Android for a bit, but is it really being used much for development? Would you be excited by Java support in GAE?

Incidently, Google will also be speeding up the Python support in GAE. 

Reference: http://gigaom.com/2009/03/26/java-coming-soon-to-googles-app-engine/


David Lee replied on Fri, 2009/03/27 - 11:12am

No I'm not all that excited about it because it seems unlikely.

Another guy posted an excellent article on the problems w/java hosting a few months back.  I walked away from the post thinking the problems could be overcome, but java would have to act more like phpor other scripting languages.  And the hosting environment would have to be more like that of your typical LAMP setup.    I ended up on a SCGI Java based server w/with groovy scripts as the php equivalent.    I searched the web and found that someone(alastair) was thinking along the same lines and had done a simple implementation.  Inspired by this I've been working a similiar but more robust implementation w/hosting in mind.  What's nice about this is there is no servlet container, but the servlet api has been reimplemented(very stripped down) to allow third party libraries such as commons file-upload to work.

I believe stepping away from the current form of app server and servlet api,  is easiest path to cheap java-like hosting. Granted groovy is not java but it's pretty close and in many ways better, imo. 

Mass java web hosting w/the servlet API and existing app servers is not going to happen.   I think something totally different is required or a JVM that works much differently than the one we currently have or Dalvik.





Kunal Dabir replied on Fri, 2009/03/27 - 1:19pm

"Would you be excited by Java support in GAE?" certainly (even if java support is limited).

 The problems that david mentioned about java are absolutely valid. If it happens (Java on GAE), it would be interesting to watch how!

Typical java webapps are too heavy and IMO consume more memory (this may be due to excessive use of frameworks, libraries). Deviating from Servlet spec or not allowing use of any arbitray libraries would make it difficult for framework obsessed java developers (and frankly speaking web development in java without frameworks will be pain in back for even a moderate size application).  May be they will provide support to GWT, Guice, GData java API Libraries (+ some third party necessary ones like hibernate). this will certainly raise adoption of google's open source java frameworks/APIs.

lets wait and see. May be it's just a rumor :)

Ray Walker replied on Fri, 2009/03/27 - 3:04pm

Most of the popular languages today pretty much offer the same performance (C/C++ excluded) and features.  Python vs. Java...who cares?  Both are great languages.

David Lee replied on Fri, 2009/03/27 - 4:27pm in response to: Ray Walker

people care when they've already invested heavily in one language over the other.  If you've invested in java, and let's assume there was groovy or java based hosting option available you don't have to start from scratch because you could reuse your existing code. 

True they are both great, but they are different as well.

 On another level, reuse or the lack of reuse is what's unattractive about the java web landscape.  Rather than starting a framework w/support for tag libs, everyone rewrites the view technology and you have no reuse ability where it matters(grails, trapestry, wicket).  But this is another discussion.

Mike P(Okidoky) replied on Fri, 2009/03/27 - 6:54pm in response to: Ray Walker

I disagree. C/C++ and Java come out way on top, while all other languages/platforms are left in the dust, performance wise. That, according to my own limited testing, and all the benchmarks I've seen. On desktops and servers that is, not mobile performance. Mobile seems all so crappy to me, a goo I'm hoping to see fixed once they finally cram actual PC's into those mobile formats. I can't wait for that to happen, because I'm sick of all this proprietary territory hunting by all these mobile gadget makers.

Mike P(Okidoky) replied on Fri, 2009/03/27 - 6:55pm

I can't wait for actual PC's to get the same mobile format. Time for all this proprietary horsing around to end.

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