Heroku adds Python to bring more choice to PaaS

Platform-as-a-Service pioneer Heroku continues its march into the world of multi-language PaaS today by adding support for Python and the Django framework. It’s just the latest change in an evolutionary several months for Heroku, and for PaaS overall as tries to become the face of cloud computing.

The history of PaaS hasn’t always been characterized by this much choice. As I explained when Heroku added Clojure support in July:

Platforms-as-a-Service have been notorious for supporting only single programming languages and/or application stacks, and for being opaque. But that has been changing lately thanks to providers including Google App Engine (s goog), DotCloud and Microsoft Azure (s msft), and projects such as Cloud Foundry.

Since then, the Heroku, which had been Ruby-specific, also added support for Java (s orcl) — a very big deal, especially now that it’s part of Salesforce.com (s crm) — and PHP Fog has become AppFog, which is leveraging a Cloud Foundry (VMware’s (s vmw) open-source PaaS project) foundation to support numerous programming languages and frameworks.

Also new Wednesday, Ruby on Rails PaaS specialist Engine Yard complemented its recent PHP addition by making JRuby support generally available on its platform. JRuby is a Java implementation of the Ruby programming language that lets Ruby applications run on the Java Virtual Machine.

Supporting multiple languages should make PaaS palatable to a wider range of programmers who don’t want to learn multiple platforms if they need to code in multiple languages. That, along with improved features around monitoring and some lower-level control, might even woo large numbers of the much-sought-after enterprise developer that was previously scared off by the single-language, black-box-style opacity of PaaS 1.0.

PaaS already has proven particularly popular among the new breed of Facebook and mobile developers that don’t necessarily have much experience dealing with operational concerns. After Facebook announced new features last week, Heroku saw almost 34,000 new Facebook applications launched in just 24 hours.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Squamata55.