AppEngine needs an AppStore
Posted by David Chandler on November 30, 2009
I continue to be blown away by the power and EASE of Google AppEngine: one-button deploy from Eclipse, all the admin tools built right in (log viewer, data viewer, task queues, cron jobs, etc.), a graphical dashboard for monitoring performance and usage quotas, and even a system status page that lets me know how the Google infrastructure is performing.
I’m convinced this is a killer platform on which to deploy applications, especially for small businesses already moving into the cloud with Google Apps. And wouldn’t you know, you can already link AppEngine and Google Apps in two important ways:
- Your AppEngine apps can show up on your Google Apps home page. This happened for me automatically when linking my AppEngine app to a custom domain name using my Google Apps account.
- Your AppEngine apps can authenticate Google Apps users.
The only problem is, many of the small businesses likely to use Google Apps are doing so precisely because they don’t have an IT staff to maintain servers, email, etc. So they’re certainly not going to have software developers on staff to write custom AppEngine applications for their businesses. But there are plenty of folks like myself willing to write such apps, and AppEngine is already well suited for delivery of pre-packaged applications. It’s already got the control panel and admin tools built in, doesn’t require any database set up, and it’s easy to upload code.
All that’s needed is a marketplace for these applications. That’s where an AppStore comes in. Imagine if you could just sign up your business for a Google Apps account and select from thousands of pre-built applications for managing your business with the same ease as downloading an app for your iPhone. As a developer, I’d love to market such applications, and what better place to reach them than their Google Apps control panel? I’d be ecstatic to give Google a cut of the action! Besides their cut of the application purchase, Google gets more Google Apps sign-ups and sells more AppEngine resources. Google is already a market maker for small business applications through the core search engine and accompanying ad revenue, but a Google AppStore would be far more efficient for both buyer and seller. An AppStore would make many niche applications economically viable by eliminating fixed costs up front and enabling super-efficient marketing, thus realizing the much-written-about “long tail” of software development.
Google, are you listening? You’ve got something here! AppEngine is fantastic, and an AppStore would take it through the stratosphere!