June 5, 2013
Google Gives Training Wheels To App Developers
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Want to build an Android app but don´t want to bother with the backend nuts and bolts that keep it running properly? Google has got you covered. The Android maker has released a cloud-based backend kit which handles some of the nitty-gritty work of creating an app which requires authentication, cloud storage, server queries and push notifications. This offering also operates on Google´s App Engine cloud service which offers server scaling and a host of Google APIs, all manageable through a web-based dashboard. In essence, Google wants developers to not to just write apps for Android, but to write apps using their APIs and standards, and they´re willing to give away the keys to do it.
According to a blog post, this starter pack ships with a “generic, ready-to-use” backend which can be deployed for most Android apps. The starter also comes with client side framework class, or templates for how backend infrastructures should look. This frees the developer from the arduous task of not just having to write their own backend code but also testing and correcting it.
As the Google Developers blog puts it, this allows developers to worry more about the behavior and style of their app rather than how well its backend is built.
As a cloud-based back end solution, this package also allows developers to test and run their apps on a myriad of devices. As Android apps must often be tested on a wide range of devices to see how well they operate on each specific unit, this could be a huge help for developers who need to access data on the go. The backend service also allows developers to write apps which need to broadcast messages, such as social or forum apps. This service can create apps which send messages to individual devices or to all devices running the app.
Continuous queries are also supported with this new starter pack, allowing developers to write apps which need to constantly communicate with the server, such as apps which offer live updates in sporting events.
Developer data is also kept safe and secure while on the cloud. Google uses their own authentication and authorization protocol, meaning only those developers with rights to data will be able to see it.
While the starter pack is meant specifically to spare developers the arduous task of tinkering with their backend, Google has opened up the source code for all to see. If a developer wants to use this backend code as a launching point, for instance, they´ll be able to tweak it to better fit their needs.
Google announced this service last month during their I/O conference, but it´s only just been released today. The Android maker describes this service as a “one-click” solution to creating Android apps, and while it certainly makes things simpler, it takes a few more clicks to create a working app. The “one click” Google is likely talking about involves deploying the backend rather than developing an app from start to finish.
Developers who want to use this service can start at the App Engine page and then open a new project. Once the project is named, they can start initiating this backend and get their development under way.