In case you did not hear the news, Google has announced the availability of Java on Google App Engine. This is a very big development for many developers as Java is widely used, but not typically supported cheaply. Many hosting services allow for Java applications, but normally you just get the ability to drop in a war file. For an average price of $10 per month, no fancy Tomcat configurations are allowed and there are likely several restrictions on what you can do. With the Java support, they included integration with Google Web Toolkit and a plugin for Eclipse. This all amounts to a serious run at the java development community.

With the announcement of Java on GAE, we also get cron support! For those of you who have never worked on a unix box, cron is a utility that allows you to run a program on a specific schedule. They also announced a database import tool, and a soon-to-be-released export tool. These are serious platform changes that shows the app engine is no longer a toy.

Why is this a big deal? Well, Google is now making a play for startups who want to host things in the cloud. In addition, this is significantly easier than something like Amazon’s Web Services offerings. In order to get the capabilities offered by Google App Engine, people normally need a significant amount of unix knowledge, database knowledge and software development knowledge. What they have done is made it simpler for one person to be a fairly robust startup with significant infrastructure support in the cloud.

Before I make pronouncements of Google killing Amazon and other absurdities, let’s see how everything plays out. I will be trying out the java support as soon as I can, so hopefully I can expand a little on how easy they have made it. If it is as good as it sounds, this could be very big.

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