Deciphering
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The App Engine Of Your Internet...?

Mon 07 April 2008

I guess Google really does use Divmod as their source for new ideas!

First, as we were implementing our email system, they launched gmail. Then while we were working on VoIP they acquired Grand Central. Now that we're focusing on infrastructure... they've released their infrastructure!

(If you are familiar with Axiom, the appengine database model example should be good for a laugh.)

Of course, I'm wondering: should Divmod, or me by proxy, be worried about this? I think I've settled on "no", for a few reasons:
  1. Google's release of appengine is an indication that this is a hot group of ideas to be working on right now. It sets a precedent for our open source offering to be idiosyncratic. When describing Mantissa's scaling model, I've often heard the objection "But with EC2 I can run whatever code I want!" While that objection is somewhat inaccurate and I can explain with some effort that it's not true, now I have the much snappier retort: "but if you want to use Google's stuff you have to write to a specific API too".
  2. You can't get all the code to appengine, at least for now, so there's a big category of applications that can't use it. We can keep working to address it — and those were really the applications we were already focused on anyway.
  3. appengine doesn't include Athena. It doesn't include Vertex. And it doesn't include Imaginary. There's plenty of fun stuff we're working on outside the realm of simply deploying a web app.
All in all, I'm thrilled that AppEngine is in Python. I hope that we'll be able to get Twisted into the mix at some point, but there's always the possibility that we'll need to integrate with anything a major player releases, and I'm relieved that this (very) major player has decided to go with something that will be easy for us to talk to.