Google Developers Academy

Introduction to Google App Engine

Learning objectives
  • Background on cloud computing
  • Cloud service levels
  • Google App Engine
  • App Engine execution environment
  • App Engine services/APIs
  • Get started using Python App Engine
  • Get simple guestbook running in App Engine
  • Prior experience with cloud computing not necessary
  • Basic understanding of web development may be helpful but not required
  • Basic skills in a high-level programming language
  • Computer with Python 2.7 installed

This class provides a high-level introduction to cloud computing, building the proper foundation (in the first two lessons). Once you have an understanding of the various cloud service levels, we'll tell you where Google App Engine fits into the picture. The final lesson features some hands-on experience to get you started. You'll need a PC, Mac, or Linux computer with Python 2.7 installed. (Yes, there are older versions of Python and App Engine, but we strongly recommend you use 2.7 instead.)

You may be asking, "Google App Engine also supports Java and Go, why not those languages?" For the quickest learning experience, Python is the best choice for new programmers — it is used to teach children how to code), and also popular with seasoned veterans. Here is one good explanation for experienced developers comparing Python to a statically-typed language such as C# (or Java or C++).

While there is no active coding, we will use the Python App Engine UI ("the Launcher") to get started. The development server will be used to run the "Hello World" getting started app that’s generated by the Launcher. Readers who prefer to get started using Java or Go are welcome to do so. As long as you stay within context, you'll be okay as the Python code should be fairly readable and easily ported to the other runtimes. Java users need a modern version of Eclipse (3.5+) as well as the Google Plugin for Eclipse installed. From within Eclipse, you can create the same boilerplate app and use the Java development server. Go users can download its respective SDK and participate as well. Find your files on the App Engine downloads page.

Sample App

The traditional "Hello World" app will be covered in the third lesson (Getting Started).


  • Python (prior knowledge helpful but not required)
  • HTTP (simple request & response)


Before we can tell you what App engine is, you need to know what cloud computing is in the general perspective. In this lesson, you'll learn just that as well as get a backgrounder on how the cloud came to be. You'll get an in-depth introduction to each of the cloud service levels and find out where App Engine fits in.

In this lesson, we'll tell you what Google App Engine is and what it isn't. You'll learn about its supported language runtimes, the sandbox execution environment, App Engine's various services and APIs, and which types of apps you can build and host on App Engine. We'll also cover migration of data and apps to and from App Engine.

The next step is to get started using Google App Engine! In this lesson, you'll download the Python SDK and create your "Hello World" app and optionally upload it to Google to see it live in production available to users around the world!

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