Yesterday, I went over to checkout Google App Engine and, because GAE made it so easy, ended up writing a little webapp I’ve been thinking about writing for a while. Besides, it’s been a while since I used Python so any excuse would have worked. Currently, it runs only on my laptop because I haven’t added security bits yet but it shouldn’t have any problem on the real thing.

Oh, shit. My MBP’s video memory seems to be on the brink. I am getting random lines on-screen now.

The app is a port/extension of part of the Twitter client functionality I had in Appily, my AIR client from more than a year ago that I shelved before starting SafePage. It scratches a usability itch that prevented me from using twitter more frequently. I wrote it to see how improving accessibility radically affects usage patterns. So far, it’s working but more time will tell.

What I found frustrating while coding for GAE are the usual constraints of sandboxing but, for languages with rich third-party library support like Python, it gets really bad because many of those libraries have to be rewritten or replaced to varying degrees. For example, I couldn’t use existing crop of Twitter client libraries so I had to code the necessary calls myself. Each such incident is no big deal but the difference between hastily handcrafted code and libraries polished over time piles up.

Anyway, it was fun. Hopefully, I’ll still be in playful mood this afternoon so I can add the missing security bits and let others play with it too. Be warned, it’ll be rough as concrete floor as I don’t have the bandwidth to apply normal furnishings over the gears. My intention is to keep churning out snack-size apps like this one until one of them gains some traction then dig-in to see if it has legs, conversing with the users all the way.

Call it, conversational entrepreneuring. 😉

Update: Wonderful. Just in time to catch the newly arriving shortend of the stick. I can understand why Twitter is doing this. They are riding a tiger that’s moving faster and faster, trying to turn it into a golden goose without getting eaten. The problem is that it’s neither impossible nor easy. I say, Hi Ho Silver!

3 thoughts on “So GAE

  1. Yeah the library thing is super, super annoying… Still it is amazing how fast you get something up and running with GAE, and that it can scale infinitely. And you know how I love Python!!!

  2. The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, although not just like the iPod’s. It really works well, but isn’t as quickly as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the internet browser that’s no problem, but if you are planning to see the web alot out of your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

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