Looking to make it simpler for developers to find and reuse components to build applications, Salesforce today launched an online Heroku Elements marketplace on top of its platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment.
Craig Kerstiens, product lead for the Heroku ecosystem, says that while Heroku has opened other online marketplaces, Heroku Elements is designed to provide a unified marketplace through which developers can access and sell preintegrated application components.
Rather than building every application from scratch, developers more frequently are composing applications using preconfigured components residing on the Heroku PaaS running in the cloud, Kerstiens says. Each component, library and pattern stored in Heroku Elements can be installed via a single click using Heroku Buttons technology that Heroku created to simplify component integration within its PaaS environment.
At the moment, Salesforce says there are 1,500 partners and developers creating components that reside on the Heroku PaaS. To help those developers participate in the Heroku Elements marketplace, Salesforce has included a search facility that makes it easier to discover specific Buildpacks.
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. In addition, developers can access add-on tools and services that are preintegrated with the Heroku PaaS platform.
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. By providing a seamless experience that makes it simpler to first discover and then invoke components using Heroku APIs, Salesforce is betting that the size of the overall ecosystem running on top of Heroku will continue to increase.
Naturally, it’s only a matter of time before other PaaS platform providers improve the quality of the developer experience. But by then the size of the Heroku PaaS platform would for all intents and purposes guarantee that Salesforce as a provider of application development platforms would be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.