AppFog gets (more) multilingual with Java support

Lucas Carlson, CEO, AppFog

AppFog, which started out as a PHP-based Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), just added Java (s ORCL) to its roster of supported programming languages. Full, multilanguage support is becoming table stakes in the PaaS world, where players like Heroku (s crm), DotCloud and Microsoft (s msft) Windows Azure now give users a broad choice of programming languages to work with.

AppFog (once known as PHP Fog) recently added Ruby and Node.js to its list. Still to come is support for Python, .NET and “smaller languages like Erlang,” said AppFog CEO Lucas Carlson.

Support for Java, which is widely used in enterprise accounts, makes particular sense for AppFog, which estimates that more than half (60 percent) of Java developers build PHP front ends to their applications.

Last August, the Portland, Ore.–based AppFog moved its service onto a foundation of VMware’s (s VMW) open-source Cloud Foundry PaaS. That decision makes it easier for AppFog to support more languages.

“One of the nice things about working with the open-source Cloud Foundry is that people with smaller languages can still contribute to the PaaS and still be supported,” Carlson said.

“PaaS is three layers. If you break it out, the user experience is at the top — the web UI, the pricing — in the middle is the lifecycle management of the applications, and at the bottom is the orchestration with the Infrastructure-as-a-Service players. That’s where the APIs for AWS (s AMZN) or Joyent or other underlying services sit. Cloud Foundry does the middle piece for us,” Carlson explained. “We add our secret sauce to make it better atop all that user experience and orchestration.”