Salesforce.com ties Force.com to Heroku for richer app development

Customers won't need 'ninja developers' anymore to create powerful new types of applications, a Salesforce executive says

Salesforce.com has made another step toward unifying its family of application development technologies with Salesforce1 Heroku Connect, which synchronizes data between its Force.com platform and Heroku.

Heroku Connect allows data to flow in both directions between Force.com and Postgres databases used by Heroku. As a result, developers can create applications that combine the transactional business processes powered by Force.com with Heroku's mobile and Web-friendly development tools.

While Force.com uses a proprietary programming language called Apex, Heroku offers support for open-source languages and frameworks such as Node.js, Ruby on Rails and Python.

Salesforce.com wants to give companies the ability to create "game-changing" applications such as the Uber ridesharing service, said Adam Gross, vice president of product at Heroku, which Salesforce.com acquired in 2010.

More than just a flashy user interface, such applications take advantage of powerful back-end business logic to deliver services to customers, Gross said.

But for the most part, creating such applications has required either "ninja developers" or "IT armies" deployed by the largest enterprises, something Heroku Connect will change, Gross contended.

Salesforce.com first announced Heroku Connect at the Dreamforce conference in November. Since then, it has undergone beta testing and is now generally available.

It's included as part of Salesforce.com's Connected Customer App Package, with pricing dependent on volume.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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