We recently announced the Mapper API, a first step in a broader effort to provide full MapReduce capabilities on App Engine. While we still have some work ahead of us, there’s already a lot that can be done with today’s Mapper API. One area of particular interest is report generation.
Most applications create and maintain large numbers of detail records: entities in data models, transaction history or event logs. In order to glean useful information out of these vast data sets, your application has to iterate over your entities, summarize and breakdown the results. That’s where the Mapper API comes in.
The Mapper API uses the Task Queue to enable your application to rapidly iterate over its data sets, whether small or very, very large. The API takes care of the tedious bookkeeping involved in efficiently scheduling and keeping track of all those tasks. The Task Queue, in turn, automatically ‘pushes’ the work to your app.
Christopher O’Donnell (@markitecht), a technology product designer and developer from Cambridge, Massachusetts, was kind enough to share with us some of the motivations and implementation details behind his own project. In a new guest article, Modern Funnel Analytics Using Mapper, Christopher makes extensive use of the Mapper API to illustrate the process of generating rollup reports. With his approach, he's able to provide both summarized results and drill down capabilities.
If you like Christopher’s article, you should also checkout out the many other interesting articles on the Google App Engine home page. And, if you have an interesting App Engine article or story you'd like to share, let us know. We'd love to hear about it.
Posted by Fred Sauer, App Engine Team