Salesforce Takes App Development to the Next Level with New and Upgraded PaaS Service – Will it Eliminate the Competition?

Salesforce’s Heroku has recently taken a big step in the PaaS world, with the launching of Heroku Elements- a marketplace of pre-integrated app components, services, and tools that empower developers to build engaging customer-facing applications.

Looking to make it simpler for developers to find and reuse components to build applications (rather than building every application from scratch,) Heroku allows developers to use preconfigured components residing on its PaaS running in the cloud.

Each component, library and pattern stored in Heroku Elements, can be installed with a single click using Heroku Buttons technology that Heroku created to simplify component integration within its PaaS environment.

Craig Kerstiens, Product Lead for the Heroku ecosystem, says that while Heroku has opened other online marketplaces, its Elements is designed to provide a unified marketplace through which developers can access and sell pre-integrated application components.

Heroku Elements includes new categories of app components, some built by Heroku, but the vast majority of which are built and maintained by Heroku’s ecosystem of more than 1,500 partners and open-source developers. To help developers determine which components they might want to use, Salesforce will also provide information such as number of installs, recent updates and where a component was created, Kerstiens says.

But what’s new here? Red Hat’s OpenShift Hub does the exact same thing… Does it?

Well, at a time when competition in the PaaS category is especially fierce, it’s clear that Salesforce is trying to increase the appeal of its PaaS platform to both professional and “citizen” developers alike. The driving idea is pretty simple: Heroku Elements gives you the option to try and buy not only a bunch of different bits and pieces that can be worked into an app, but it also tells you what other bits and pieces work well with it.

For example, if your app is written in the popular PHP programming language, you’re going to want to make sure that any other components for an app you buy work well with that language. Also, Heroku Elements tells you how many people are actually using the component in question for their real-life business apps. Of course developers always test their products, but businesses are naturally risk-adverse and want to make sure they’re not the first ones to try something.

“There is a quiet revolution underway in software development: The nature of the work is shifting from developing and deploying large complex applications to connecting new and existing services in unique and value-added ways,” wrote Forrester Research Analyst Michael Facemire and Kurt Bittner. “New solutions to help developers find the right services they need and keep track of what they used to manage dependencies are needed to manage the potential complexity developers will unwittingly create.”

Amanda McDonnald
Amanda is the Lead Author & Editor of Rainforce Blog. Amanda established the Rainforce blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Salesforce usage.
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