Using Google App Engine

An excellent introduction for beginners looking to set up their first application on Google App Engine.

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This book is a useful introduction to programming for the Google App Engine for those who are completely new to creating anything for the web. The book assumes no prior knowledge whatever and therefore includes brief introductory chapters on HTML/CSS, Python, and JavaScript/Ajax. In none of these chapters does it go into any great depth on those topics and so for someone who actually needs to learn those particular topics a separate book dealing with the specific topics would be a more useful alternative. Of those three subject areas almost everyone looking to create web applications should already know HTML/CSS and most of those should have at least some JavaScript knowledge before even considering attempting to create an actual application. Python is less likely to be a language that the person new to web applications will already know but the book makes assumptions that it is the first language that the person is learning whereas the person is more likely to already know some JavaScript and therefore drawing parallels between the Python commands being introduced and the JavaScript equivalents might have made the book more useful to the more typical reader.

What information that the book does provide about each of these introductory topics is at a very superficial level but is at least enough to give a complete novice the basic understanding that they'd need to be able to follow the subsequent chapters so that even a complete novice should be able to get a basic application working by following step by step through the book. For those with an understanding of those introductory topics you could probably skip the appropriate chapters completely and benefit even more from the remaining chapters based on your greater understanding in the first place. While few readers should actually need all of these introductory chapters, their inclusion in the book does make the book more useful to a larger group of people.

Once you get past the introductory chapters the chapters that actually deal with using the Google App Engine provide a useful introduction to each of the different aspects of the App Engine that each chapter deals with. For the most part the chapters themselves are in a logical order and each introduces one new aspect of the App Engine. The sample application which is developed throughout these chapters is a significant enough one to properly demonstrate the use of each aspect of the App Engine and close enough to the sort of real world applications that people are likely to want to create to give those who use the book properly a good basis on which to start building their own applications.

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