Google woos cloud developers with new tools

Google now offers debugging, tracing and monitoring tools for apps running on Google Cloud Platform

If the key to winning cloud business is to earn the approval of developers, as pundits say, then Google is busy wooing programmers with a new set of tools for its cloud platform.

"This transition to cloud computing over the past few years has actually been a setback for developers when it comes to the tools and components for building software. Most of the models were designed for packaged software, whether they are debuggers, tracers or profilers," said Brian Goldfarb, Google's head of marketing for its Cloud Platform. "We're focusing on bringing modern programming concepts to cloud development."

At the Google I/O user conference, being held this week in San Francisco, the company has unveiled debugging, tracing and monitoring tools designed to help developers better understand how their apps are running on Google's hosted services.

It has also unveiled a number of new tools to aid in creating mobile applications.

The development tools can help programmers and administrators more quickly determine why, for instance, a program running on Google App Engine may be running slow, or why a database may be returning a large number of errors.

One service, Google Cloud Monitoring, provides a dashboard and set of metrics for watching the performance of applications on the Google Cloud. The service is based on technology from Stackdriver, which Google acquired in May.

Cloud Monitoring can provide operational details about a wide array of Web infrastructure software, including Web and application servers such as Apache, Nginx, Tomcat and Microsoft's Internet Information Services, as well as for database and caching software such as MongoDB, MySQL, Redis and Elasticsearch.

Other new Google services will allow developers to dig more deeply into their programs for further analysis.

Cloud Trace details how an application processes requests and the latency time it takes for executing these tasks.

Cloud Debugger offers a full stack trace, allowing developers to add watch points to their programs that will provide the state of a program at specific points of operation.

"The users never know you are debugging an application. There's no performance impact at all, but you can see local variables and have insight into the entire call stack," Goldfarb said.

Google has also ramped up a number of services for mobile applications, not surprising since mobile apps are a growing part of the Google Cloud business, Goldfarb said.

The Google Cloud Platform is used by both Snapchat, a messaging service favored by young people, and by a mobile voting application built for "Rising Star," the U.S. televised singing competition.

At the conference, the company demonstrated its Google Cloud Save, which provides an API (application programming interface) for hosting user data in the cloud. At the conference, the company demonstrated how the service can make its data easily accessible from the Google App Engine or Google Compute Engine.

The company's editor for writing Android programs, called Android Studio, has been updated as well, to allow mobile programs to easily hook into back-end services that run on Google App Engine. Android Studio also has templates to connect with Java Servlet, Java Endpoints and Google Cloud Messaging.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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Tags application developmentGoogleGoogle I/Odevelopment platformssoftwareinternetcloud computingInfrastructure servicesDevelopment tools

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Joab Jackson

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