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Platform-as-a-service provider Heroku’s launch of an Facebook Application Package was aimed to help companies build Facebook applications using Heroku’s platform more easily.

Heroku enables businesses to easily build, deploy and scale their applications, and Facebook has been the most popular social platform fPlatform-as-a-service provider Heroku’s launch of an Facebook Application Package was aimed to help companies build Facebook applications using Heroku’s platform more easily.

Heroku enables businesses to easily build, deploy and scale their applications, and Facebook has been the most popular social platform for these applications. So, the company’s new Facebook Application Package brings that knowledge and experience helping customers build applications to bear, with resources specifically catered to help Facebook developers. Included in the package is Heroku’s dedicated database service, dynos and workers, New Relic application performance monitoring, and memcaching.

Heroku’s CEO Byron Sebastian says that “Facebook applications are a clear category where we’ve seen customers large and small successfully reach millions of new potential customers and users on our platform. The Heroku Facebook initiative helps customers leverage the best practices we have identified from working with these applications.”

Heroku is the only cloud platform provided by Facebook to the developers and it is living up to its reputation of being able to deploy the applications quickly and without much hassle. Heroku provides a template for whichever language developers choose (Node.js, PHP, Python or Ruby). The template application will have basic functions for accessing the Facebook API to get lists of users’ friends, photos, interests and other data.

The advantage to using Heroku, of course, is that it removes a lot of the complexity of managing servers to run applications. Note that, this is not the first venture into Facebook application land for Heroku. The company has offered a Facebook Application Package since November 2010. The newness here is the simplification of creating the applications.

If you’re just a 100% developer who wants to get something up and running and doesn’t want to worry about scalability too much, Heroku could be worth the extra expense. Because, despite the cost, what Heroku offers is a very simple “no hassles” hosting service that, crucially, can handle significant workloads. You could rig up something similar with VPSes, dedicated boxes elsewhere, or even Amazon EC2, but you’re going to be spending time doing server configuration.

But all said, there are downsides to Heroku too. If you are building an application, your primary concern is it’s functionality, usability and overall appeal. One of the biggest issues with Heroku is that you have to code your application with the platform in mind. This makes you have to plan longer term than you might want to, especially if you decide you don’t like your experience. With Heroku you are locked-in.

That is, unless you want to recode your application for another platform. Then, there is the huge issue of compatibility: Heroku has its own custom application servers. These are not standard open-source servers, but servers that severely decrease the level of application compatibility, generally forcing you to re-write your applications. In Heroku, your apps share application servers and databases with other users. This kind of limited isolation can obviously lead to issues of data privacy and possible crashes and errors due to other user’s applications.

Without any doubt, Heroku has more merits than demerits, and for Facebook to choose Heroku as its only PaaS provider is a big thing. Developers love it and so do we!or these applications. So, the company’s new Facebook Application Package brings that knowledge and experience helping customers build applications to bear, with resources specifically catered to help Facebook developers. Included in the package is Heroku’s dedicated database service, dynos and workers, New Relic application performance monitoring, and memcaching.

Heroku’s CEO Byron Sebastian says that “Facebook applications are a clear category where we’ve seen customers large and small successfully reach millions of new potential customers and users on our platform. The Heroku Facebook initiative helps customers leverage the best practices we have identified from working with these applications.”

Heroku is the only cloud platform provided by Facebook to the developers and it is living up to its reputation of being able to deploy the applications quickly and without much hassle. Heroku provides a template for whichever language developers choose (Node.js, PHP, Python or Ruby). The template application will have basic functions for accessing the Facebook API to get lists of users’ friends, photos, interests and other data. The advantage to using Heroku, of course, is that it removes a lot of the complexity of managing servers to run applications.

Note that, this is not the first venture into Facebook application land for Heroku. The company has offered a Facebook Application Package since November 2010. The newness here is the simplification of creating the applications. If you’re just a 100% developer who wants to get something up and running and doesn’t want to worry about scalability too much, Heroku could be worth the extra expense. Because, despite the cost, what Heroku offers is a very simple “no hassles” hosting service that, crucially, can handle significant workloads. You could rig up something similar with VPSes, dedicated boxes elsewhere, or even Amazon EC2, but you’re going to be spending time doing server configuration.

But all said, there are downsides to Heroku too. If you are building an application, your primary concern is it’s functionality, usability and overall appeal. One of the biggest issues with Heroku is that you have to code your application with the platform in mind. This makes you have to plan longer term than you might want to, especially if you decide you don’t like your experience. With Heroku you are locked-in. That is, unless you want to recode your application for another platform.

Then, there is the huge issue of compatibility: Heroku has its own custom application servers. These are not standard open-source servers, but servers that severely decrease the level of application compatibility, generally forcing you to re-write your applications. In Heroku, your apps share application servers and databases with other users. This kind of limited isolation can obviously lead to issues of data privacy and possible crashes and errors due to other user’s applications.

Without any doubt, Heroku has more merits than demerits, and for Facebook to choose Heroku as its only PaaS provider is a big thing. Developers love it and so do we!


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