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Heroku adds Python to bring more choice to PaaS

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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 (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.

4 Responses to “Heroku adds Python to bring more choice to PaaS”

  1. That’s awesome, glad to see the language agnosticism. Contrast that with Google’s approach with some areas they delve into that can be Python-centric (after all, Google puts food on the plate of Guido Von Rossum, the analog equivalent of Linus / Linux to Python, by employing him). At the recent Google I/O conference in one of the sessions, someone asked why Python and not Ruby and Guido responded witha bogus red herring stating that Ruby is essentially Rails (which is fully a bunch of crap and he should know better)! Keep it up Google, keep up the corporate hubris and see where that gets you (like Amazon forking Android)!