Using Google App Engine, a recent O’Reilly book by Charles Severance, is a very rare animal: a self-contained book on software development. An intelligent person who had never written a computer program could, without referring to other books, develop a very simple application running on Google’s servers. The book has been slammed by some nerd reviewers on amazon.com for being shallow and wasting time explaining what HTTP and HTML are, but these are precisely the things that I like about the book. The chapter on Python starts with a section titled “What is Programming?”
A person doesn’t have to devote his or her life to reading dozens of interlocking books. This 240-page book is sufficient for a satisfying introduction to the world of cloud nerds. If the reader wants to go deeper, the online docs for all of the subsystems described in the book are available.