Python has not been a language that has been front and center all that much (though it is mature and enterprise ready as I noted in a recent story). Python’s position changes today with the official launch of Google’s App Engine.
It’s easy just to think of Google App Engine as Google’s answer to Amazon’s Web Services/Elastic Cloud/S3 offering, but if you look a little deeper, it’s really something a bit different. With Google App Engine the promise is that you get to host and run an application on the Google App Engine framework (a hosted environment using Google’s infrastructure) with the only real ‘catch’ being that the framework is Python.
Google is certainly no stranger to Python, the creator of Python Guido van Rossum has been a Google employee for the last several years and Google uses Python internally for some of its projects. App Engine extends Google’s Python expertise to the wider world though and it could well be the catalyst that dramatically expands the footprint of both Python application and developers.
The plan for App Engine moving forward is to support additional languages beyond Python, but for now Python is it.
The cost for App Engine is Free (as in no money), but Google has limited access to the first 10,000 developers (which i suspect has already been exhausted since I applied this AM when I saw the news and didn’t get access). There is however, a free SDK that Google has made available that you can get now to help you get started building apps for App Engine.
I see this as a major step for Python and for Google becoming a true services platform. No longer is Google just about search (though I suspect that will always be their core business). By leveraging their infrastructure to offer a hosted application framework, Google follows the example set by Amazon. By using the open source Python language as its base, Google marks its own path and one that could have dramatic long term effects for the application world as we know it today.
Google has posted the full launch video from the Campfire event last night for App Engine…it’s an interesting show…