Engine Yard to experiment, add Node.js support

The PaaS provider has started a new program for delivering experimental services

Platform-as-a-service provider Engine Yard is adding support for Node.js as part of a new program at the company designed to help it quickly experiment with new features and services.

The program, Engine Yard Labs, adds a new category of services at the company that are experimental and not fully supported. "It allows us to get some innovations to market earlier," said Mike Piech, vice president of product management and marketing at Engine Yard.

Engine Yard hopes to try out new ideas through the Labs and get user feedback before deciding whether to fully support the services.

The first technology it is making available as part of the Labs program is support for Node.js, a JavaScript framework used for low-latency applications. Engine Yard officially supports applications written in Ruby for Rails and PHP.

To start using the Node.js capability, customers request permission from Engine Yard to be included in the Labs program and they'll then see the Node.js capability in their dashboard. Customers pay the same pricing per instance as for other Engine Yard services.

The Labs services won't be supported by Engine Yard and may or may not become products, depending on the feedback.

Next up as a Labs project will be tools to help developers design applications from the start for the cloud. "What we're looking to do is provide more functionality and value at the development phase during the earlier part of the application lifecycle, so that there isn't this inflection point where you have to figure out how to run it in the cloud," Piech said.

Engine Yard could also add support for additional languages, as other PaaS providers increasingly are doing. Heroku, for instance, which made its name as a platform for Ruby development, now also supports Node.js, Clojure, Java, Python and Scala.

Other companies are offering additional languages "willy-nilly," according to Piech. Engine Yard will make sure it has expertise in a language before offering it, he said.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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