We first met Leonardo Borges shortly after the Heroku acquisition at a Ruby Tuesday meet-up in Sydney. Leonardo has a great deal of experience as a Ruby developer using Heroku – both prior to and following its acquisition by salesforce.com at the end of 2010. In the week this story broke about the use of Heroku by his company Thoughtworks to assist the Charity Live Below the Line, we asked Leonardo to talk about how the Heroku Platform as a service (PaaS) offering has evolved since joining the salesforce.com world:
I’ve been working fulltime with Heroku and had 3 successful projects running on it - one of which I had the chance to talk about before - so I decided to share some thoughts about this experience.
Back in December 2010, Heroku had just been acquired by salesforce.com While great for Heroku, the Ruby community - myself included - was a little skeptical. A lot of people didn’t know what to expect next.
Around the same time, however, I was faced with the challenge of deciding which cloud platform, if any, we were going to use for our next project.
The Premier’s Disaster Relief appeal application could not fail. It was our utmost priority to make sure the application be as scalable and as available as possible.
In the end I made the call for Heroku - I wanted to see with my own eyes what they were capable of.
If you read the article I wrote about this project, you know the rest is history. The application was extremely successful, with Heroku living up to its promises, and getting a fair bit of media coverage.
Prior to, and while all of this was happening, Heroku was still hard at work. They aimed to be the cloud platform of choice for Ruby developers and were doing a great job at that.
But that wasn’t enough. Since 2010, Heroku had been opening their platform to more language choices, with Node.js being their first target, after Ruby.
Now, in 2012, in addition to Ruby and Node.js you can run applications written in Scala, Clojure or just plain Java! In fact, with the advent of Heroku buildpacks, you can run virtually anything by creating your application with a custom buildpack!
All of this is exciting news for a whole range of developer communities. And having an established company like salesforce.com backing Heroku also gives me piece of mind: from what I can tell it is definitely ensuring stability and continuity of the Heroku innovation efforts, which is great.
Even now, more than a year later, I still believe Heroku is the best platform as a service currently out there. Like everything else in technology, there’s no one true solution for every problem. Heroku is an invaluable tool in your toolbox, but you need to understand when and how it can help you in order to take full advantage of the role Heroku can play in your development efforts.