... wherein I bloviate discursively

Brian Clapper,

Now blogging on App Engine

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About a week ago, I wrote that this blog is now running under Django on a low-end VPS I lease. Writing my own simple blogging engine was a good, well-defined project I could use to acquaint myself with Django.

Over this weekend, I decided to rehost it on Google’s App Engine. Again, it’s a well-defined project that I can use to learn more about how App Engine works.

As it turns out, porting the application to App Engine wasn’t difficult.

  • App Engine’s database API is similar to Django’s. It differs in the details, but the overall approach is quite similar.
  • App Engine’s default template engine is from Django, so I didn’t have to change any of my templates.
  • App Engine doesn’t specifically use views in the way Django does. Instead,n you tie URLs to individual scripts that App Engine invokes. In practice, however, those scripts end up serving essentially the same role as a Django view.

In my first port, I simply ran Django underneath App Engine; App Engine supports that configuration. However, while that got my blog up and running quickly on App Engine, it didn’t force me to dig deeply into any part of App Engine other than its database API.

So, I spent a few hours converting the software to use App Engine’s webapp framework, rather than Django. As it turns out, it wasn’t terribly difficult. The biggest issue was that App Engine does not provide automatic generation of administration screens, so I had to write my own screens to enter and edit blog entries. All told, however, it wasn’t a big effort.

Later, I’ll write one or more blog posts on writing a simple blogging engine using App Engine.