Endpoints for all

Google App Engine introduces ‘experimental’ Java 7 runtime support

Following a short winter break, the Google App Engine team have returned to their monthly release cycle, with the 1.7.5 update to the cloud platform.

The biggest feature from a Java developer standpoint is the overdue introduction of ‘experimental support’ for the Java 7 runtime. The team had previously detailed Java 7 SDK features back in October to test the waters, before opting offering formal runtime support this month.

There are three ways in which you can configure Java 7 support: in the command line, configuring Eclipse or by altering the Maven configuration file. GAE users can finally utilise some of Java 7’s features, including the ability to use strings in switch statements and the invokedynamic functionality.

Google say the Java 6 runtime will be decommissioned “in a future release”, but are keen to stress the importance of the term ‘experimental’ as well, strongly encouraging local and production testing for all existing applications before using Java 7 support. Not all classes are supported, as detailed on the Java Class Whitelist.

Another experimental feature in 1.7.5 is the introduction of Google Cloud Endpoints, allowing users to expose their code as RESTful services. This in turn, allows developers to create a backend for web and mobile clients, such as iOS and Android.

Elsewhere, an update to the Google Plugin for Eclipse enables users to build GAE backends that can communicate with client side Android applications. For further information on the release, check out the release notes.

Chris Mayer

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