Before you can start coding your first client application, there are a few things you need to do, if you haven't done them already.

Get a Google Account

You need a Google Account in order to be given access to Compute Engine in the Google APIs Console. If you already have an account, then you're all set.

You may also want a separate Google Account for testing purposes.

Sign up and try out Compute Engine

Follow steps in the Getting Started Guide to sign up for the service, set up a Linux or Windows virtual machine instance, and use the instance to host web content.

It's important to become familiar with Compute Engine basics before you continue. The API documentation assumes you have used Compute Engine and that you're familiar with web programming concepts and web data formats.

Learn about authorization

Compute Engine uses OAuth 2.0 to authorize requests. If you're not familiar with OAuth 2.0, take a look at how to authorize requests.

Learn about REST

There are two ways to invoke the API:

If you decide not to use client libraries, you'll need to understand the basics of REST.

REST is a style of software architecture that provides a convenient and consistent approach to requesting and modifying data.

The term REST is short for "Representational State Transfer." In the context of Google APIs, it refers to using HTTP verbs to retrieve and modify representations of data stored by Google.

In a RESTful system, resources are stored in a data store; a client sends a request that the server perform a particular action (such as creating, retrieving, updating, or deleting a resource), and the server performs the action and sends a response, often in the form of a representation of the specified resource.

In Google's RESTful APIs, the client specifies an action using an HTTP verb such as POST, GET, PUT, or DELETE. It specifies a resource by a globally-unique URI of the following form:

Because all API resources have unique HTTP-accessible URIs, REST enables data caching and is optimized to work with the web's distributed infrastructure.

You may find the method definitions in the HTTP 1.1 standards documentation useful; they include specifications for GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE.

REST in the Compute Engine API

The Compute Engine API operations map directly to REST HTTP verbs.

The specific formats for Compute Engine API URIs are:

The full set of URIs used for each supported operation in the API is summarized in the Compute Engine API Reference document.

Learn about the JSON data format

The Compute Engine API returns data in JSON format.

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is a common, language-independent data format that provides a simple text representation of arbitrary data structures. For more information, see