Wednesday, August 6, 2008


I think that it's interesting that Google's App engine is implemented in Python. After all they've hired so many people to work on Javascript - and Javascript has a long history as a server-side platform.


Charles Severance said...

Casey - I think that the key is the Google (as far as we know) does not have their own Javascript runtime VM. They *do* have a kind of weird Java JVM (Davlik) but they have Guido as an employee - so they have the #1 committer of possibly the second-most-robust VM on the planet. And frankly if you want to hack a VM just a bit to customize it for security / performance / policy issues - it also helps to be the lead committer on the language that runs in the VM and the run-time of that language. It also helps that through the lead committer, the open source Python VM can slowly follow the Google Custom Python VM - using the millions of Python users as QA for the Google infrastructure (i.e. Python 3.0). If you assume (as I do) that services like App Engine are *all about* the custom VM, Google's obvious first choice and likely the only choice for quite some time (as much as folks are dying for a free/scalable cloud service from Google using Java).

By the way - I say *none* of this as criticism. I think that App Engine is so cool - that I have switched both my Web Programming courses this Fall to using it. And switched a pure programming course to Python. I like to be ahead of the curve - even if I turn out to be wrong once in a while.

caseyd said...

True enough - but I've been mulling over this presentation from Google IO: "Server side javascript on the Java VM" which was strangely compelling. And not just due to the skills of the presenter.

( I used to do server side javascript in the web 1.0 days, back when it was called LiveWire. It was pretty neat but I really had to wrestle with all that prototype stuff. Got clobbered by the office automation offerings from MS. )

When I think about entry points to application development the HTML -> JS route is one of the most available. People feel confident about working through that path. It's a hard path for scalability and maintainability tho.

Your classes are going to be great!