Podrazik's Prediction: Java Next Google App Engine Language

by Tim O'Brien

Stumble upon this blog post via Google Reader today, and I don't think it has received much attention. Michael Podrazik wrote about his prediction that Java will be the next Google App Engine Language. Quoting from Michael's prediction:

Steve Yegge blogged recently about how you are only allowed to write C++, Java, Python and JavaScript code at Google. He went into even more detail here. So if Google is going to go with something other than these it would have to be the result of an explicit change in policy.

He continues:

So how reasonable would it be to offer a hosted Java environment? While almost any hosting provider currently gives you the option of running PHP, lots of 'em give you Perl, etc. virtually nobody except boutique hosting providers let you run Java. There's a good reason for this. First of all, Java is an enterprisey language and the apps that use Java on the server side are not especially well suited to run in a shared environment. Secondly, even if the market existed, there are technical limitations that make running Java in a shared resource pool problematic. ... The fact that you can't just run a Java program using an Apache module or through CGI, and the fact that there tends to be a mismatch in the skill sets that *nix ops people usually have and the skill set required to effectively manage a Java app just further muddies the waters.

This echoes the sentiments expressed Deployment is Colonization but also brings up an interesting possibility. Could Google be getting ready to solve the long-standing issue with Java application hosting by doing something revolutionary?

Podrazik goes on to predict that Google will release a reduced capability JSE and do something along the lines of Android (Dalvik) and GWT's reduced Java API.

I pinged some people who should know about if it were something that was in the works, and the response leads me to believe that this might just be conjecture. But, it is interesting conjecture nonetheless. The comment threads are equally as pessimistic, but the idea that Java is the next Google App Engine makes sense in the context of Yegge's statement that Google only codes in C++, Java, Python, and Javascript.

All eyes toward Google I/O.

(C'mon the last post was my JavaOne session notes? Where's everybody at?)


2008-05-20 19:32:04
more likely something based on grails.
Michael Podrazik
2008-05-20 20:43:31

You really think something based on Grails is more likely?

I'm not saying it's impossible, or even one of many suggested frameworks, but I seriously doubt it would be the featured offering.

2008-05-21 10:33:43
I actually meant groovy, which is basically Java....but that seems like it would fit the app engine design of using an interpreted language with a rich library.
Tim O'Brien
2008-05-21 10:51:29
@mss, although I have said bad things about Groovy in the past, you won't hear me saying them now. I think the idea and implementation have come a long way in a few years and people like G. LaForge and Scott Davis are evidence that it has attracted some really brilliant people. Also Jason Dillon's work on GMaven lately is not to be missed.

But, I'd be surprised if Google came out with a Groovy-only solution. Partly because of the reasons Michael alludes to. I think that if Google does have some sort of Java offering on Google App Engine (and it is a big if), then we'd see something more along the lines of GWT + some reduced Java API. And, not something that would rule out a technology like Groovy. Whatever happens, it's interesting conjecture. I'm wondering if Google is going to time an announcement with next week's Google I/O meeting.