Ferris Could Let Python Developers Take A Day Off


Python developers looking to minimize redundant coding when building apps for the Google App Engine will want to take note. Cloud solution provider Cloud Sherpas has released Ferris, an open source Python framework that automates much of the coding associated with targeting Google's web-based application platform.

Claiming an industry-first, the company says that once it's set up, the customizable framework automates much of the redundant coding common to most Google App Engine apps. "You define the model and attribute types, and all the parts from the data store to the UI are generated for you," said Tim Lockyear, senior solutions specialist at Cloud Sherpas. "Then the developer gets to spend more time on the business logic." Developers can download the Ferris framework beginning today; it's licensed under Apache v2.

Cloud Sherpas develops and markets web-based solutions, and built the framework to make its own developers more productive. "The Google App Engine platform is great, but [our solutions were] taking a long time to build." To help solve the problem, a Python specialist on Lockyear's team analyzed some of the redundancies and used them to construct the framework. "We immediately doubled our appdev revenue, and we attribute that to the framework," said Lockyear. "You adjust the scaffolding as you want it and plug in [the desired] components. And it's easy to extend without having to change the core of the framework." Google apparently agrees. At the first annual Enterprise Global Partner Summit this week, the company named Cloud Sherpas Partner of the Year for Google App Implementation.

Lockyear said Ferris gets its name from the title character of the 1986 pop classic film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", the tagline of which was "One man's struggle to take it easy." Said Lockyear, "[Ferris Bueller] never wanted to do anything additional that he didn't need to do. Developers don't want to do mundane things over and over, and customers certainly don't want to be paying for redundant development services. This framework takes a lot of that redundancy out."

The Ferris framework employs a model-view-controller architecture to help accelerate app development, automatic CRUD (create, read, update and delete) scaffolding, Jinja2 Python templating and theme engine implementation, and integrates with the Google Client API and OAuth2 authentication protocol.

While Google's App Engine platform isn't for every organization or project, Lockyear says it addresses many of the infrastructure-related problems enterprise app developers face for most projects. "For each app they build, they need to determine which server the app will run on and access, which network, who will have access and who will maintain it," he said. "And for mobile apps, there's also security concerns for data outside the firewall" and additional access issues. "With App Engine, there are no such worries," and the cost is based on usage. "You only pay for spikes in usage, not for luls. And because it's running in the cloud, it's available to all devices at all times."

PUBLISHED FEB. 28, 2013