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Integrating Google App Engine with iPhone

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Cloud computing on distributed, commodity platforms — like Google App Engine and Amazon EC2 — is perhaps the most exciting new trend in Web 2.0 application development.  Instead of requiring a dedicated high-reliability server farm, with all the associated costs and complexity, a commercial cloud platform allows applications to be built and hosted on an as-needed basis.  

As exciting as the cloud "back end" architecture has become, the availability of powerful, low-cost hand held mobile platforms have brought as much excitement to the "front end" — hand-held devices like the iPhone and Android put services at hand that were unimaginable just a few years ago.

A new article at DeveloperWorks, "Connecting Apple's iPhone to Google's cloud computing offerings" by Noah Gift and Jonathan Saggau, demonstrates the capabilities of both plaforms in combination.  By using the iPhone's native plist structure (an Apple-specific XML format), the authors construct an application in Python, hosted on AppEngine, that delivers one of Shakespeare's sonnet to the iPhone on request.  The example code includes AppEngine Python code, the iPhone Objective-C client, and an example of how the data is transmitted via HTTP using the XML plist.

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