Google is slowly killing Google App Engine

Google app engine (GAE) is a platform as a service that allows you to start a web app project without worrying about servers.

Currently, GCE has two environments :

  • Standard environment
  • Flexible environment (still in beta)

The standard environment is the oldest one, it’s the subject of this article. I played a lot of with that environment. If you look around the documentation, you will see signs of the disinterest of google.

Google is shifting its marketing toward the container based version of google app engine : “flexible environment” or even Kubernetes (Kubernetes is based of google internal container technology. When they saw docker taking the market by storm, they open sourced a small project in a hurry and said “Hey guys looks at us, we also do containers for a decade, contribute please “). Anyway, a perfect example of this is the GAE Taskqueue. Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to imagine a scalable distributed system without a queue in a web environment. GAE TaskQueue is great … if you limit it to GAE code. TaskQueue has a REST API if you want to use it from outside the GAE environment like compute engine. Its been out for around 4 years and still in beta.. and its half working.. you can lease a job but you can’t tell the system to update the lease, for example if you want to increase the lease time to finish the job, making it pretty much useless in some cases and its been like that for a long time.

Another example of a long beta ? Sockets, Its been 4 years now and the product is still in beta. I think there is other features that are designed the same way and Google just doesn’t see any profit in investing on so old environment with the rise of container technology for the public like docker for example.

I don’t want to start a rant about why you shouldnt use Google app engine, just try it yourself, it free, if it’s not the incomplete features, it’s the prices that will scare you away.

Google app engine is great for prototyping, however, I will not recommend it for any serious project. Quite frankly despite my opinion about kubernetes, i would choose a kubernetes cluster in google compute engine over Google app engine, you have the freedom on the machines specifications, at least you dont feel robbed by the prices, you get all the benefits of billing by the minute and competition with other cloud providers. If not, I would try to hack something with AWS Lambda in AWS cloud depending on your needs, its not that different form google app engine, mixed with AWS API gateway you can go quite far.

This article is about some thoughts vagabonding on my mind. I am sure there is successful projects (filter : app engine) out there, best thing is to try it by yourself.


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