Tag Archives: Cloud

User Experience and Application on Google App Engine

So, we have been working on this application… web based, data driven, to be used in “social context”. I think today there’s nothing sexier than using the word social.

We designed this application nicely, fantastic by many ways. We were sure of putting this up on a public cloud, just that we were not sure of which one: EC2 or GAE. One of the most riskiest questions to keep open… but really, we were not sure. The only thing we were sure of was Java + jQuery + HTML5 (as much as possible).

EC2 gives you IaaS but then you must manage all the servers, load balancing, failovers. Even if you happen to choose BeanStalk, a lot of work has to be done, specifically database. Thankfully, we now have ElastiCache (launched around August 2011, IIRC) otherwise managing a cluster of Memcache was yet another task for the admins.

GAE provides you PaaS, so you don’t need to worry about doing all the stuff in previous paragraph yourself. Except that you have strong restrictions… a very small subset of Java SE library – specifically, not threads or direct sockets, no JDBC and Datastore, though amazing, is not an easy meat to digest for those not used to. And above all, the server side execution must complete in 30 seconds (now on what are known are front-end servers).

So, we designed our own data-access abstraction so that we can switch EC2 <=> GAE without any hassles. It took a while, but it’s a great thing that we have.

After writing core entities and business logic layer, it was time to start pushing it all up to the user interface. The dashboard – the landing page after login – has to get updates from various “components” in the system. All components worked great, except that the dashboard took somewhere around 1200ms to load for the first time. Note that most of the public resources (images, JavaScript, CSS) were loaded from GAE CDNs.

Just not acceptable!

Read more …