Several of us went to San Francisco last week to attend Google IO. As usual with conferences, meeting people was more interesting than listening to most talks. The AppEngine Fireside Chat was a Q&A session that lasted about an hour. Here is what I learned from this session and various chats with AppEngineers.

  1. Google has decided to provide its scalable datastore architecture as a service. At this point, the datastore is the product and the goal it to make it as widely accessible as possible.
  2. The google.appengine.api.datastore API alone would not have made for a very sexy launch. In order to attract more people and lower the bar the beginners would have to jump over, they looked for a higher level programming interface.
  3. Since some people working at Google have been using Django and know it, they reimplemented part of its interface for defining data models. Late in the project, they added GQL because Django-like queries were a bit too difficult. In both case, the goal was to make it easier for external developers to get started.
  4. But Google is not in the business of providing web application frameworks and AppEngineers made explicit that they would not be officially supporting a specific framework or a specific version of a given framework (not even Django 0.96, although there is a django-appengine-helper project on They expect frameworks to be provided by communities of developers.

My conclusion is twofold:

  • They will be focusing on supporting other languages in AppEngine (I would bet on Java being the next one available) rather than extending Python frameworks support.
  • Anyone is free to join with his own framework and provide support for it, the One True Interface being the one defined by google.appengine.api.datastore, not the one defined by db.model and GQL.

This is why Logilab published its own framework running on App Engine as free software and is providing support for it: Logilab Appengine eXtension.

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