Cloud Hoster AppFog Adds Java Support

Cloud-based hosting service AppFog has added Java to the growing list of languages it supports, the company announced this week.

The Portland, Ore.-based startup, which initially billed itself as a PHP-based Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) provider, recently began supporting Ruby and Node.js, and said plans to add Python and .NET, among others. The addition of Java increases the company's "commitment to delivering a reliable, scalable, and effortless user experience to a wider range of developers, it said.

The company was founded about a year ago by Web developer Lucas Carlson, co-author (with Leonard Richardson) of Ruby Cookbook: Recipes for Object Oriented Scripting. The company's name comes from the idea of "bringing the cloud down to earth," Lucas said.

"The cloud made a big promise to Web developers," Lucas told ADTmag, "which was fast, scalable, reliable Web sites. But it was really difficult to deliver on that promise without a lot of specialized knowledge. So I saw an opportunity to create a service that would deliver on that original promise, which makes the cloud so interesting for Web developers."

The company is aiming to support even more "enterprise languages," Lucas said. That's one of the reasons AppFog moved its service to VMware's Cloud Foundry PaaS. Released in April of this year, Cloud Foundry is one of the industry's first open PaaS offering and a "new generation of application platform, architected specifically for cloud computing environments," VMware declared. IDC analyst Al Hilwa saw the Cloud Foundry release as an important strategic move that positioned VMware as "another emerging pole for Java developers."

AppFog launched as a Cloud Foundry-based, multi-tenant, hosted service in August. The move will make it easier for AppFog to add language support, Lucas said, because the company will be able to support all the languages, frameworks, databases and services that Cloud Foundry supports, including Python and Django. AppFog is now a contributor, user, and Community Lead for the Cloud Foundry Project.

"The first generation of PaaS, everyone coming into it picked a language," Lucas said. "Heroku picked Ruby, CloudBees picked Java, and we picked PHP. All of the big PaaS players are now announcing multiple language support, as we are. If everyone has the same technology and language support, what's the difference? I think the answer to that is the user experience. That's what we've been focusing on for the past year. All you have to do as a developer is focus on your code, hand us the code when you're done and we'll deploy it, manage it, scale it, and keep it secure."

AppFog's flagship PHP Fog service currently supports tens of thousands of app developers who have collectively created and deployed tens of thousands of applications using its platform, the company said in a statement.

AppFog made the announcement at the annual SpringOne conference, underway this week in Chicago. The AppFog PaaS is available now as an open beta.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].