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J2EE containers snuffed

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Heroku – the multi-language "platform cloud" owned by Saleforce.com – is now running Java applications.

Akin to Google App Engine, Microsoft Azure, or VMware's Cloud Foundry, Heroku is an online service for building, deploying, and readily scaling applications. It was originally designed for Ruby on Rails apps, but has since expanded to Clojure, Node.js, and now Java.

In May, the San Francisco-based Heroku rolled out a new service stack meant to run "any" modern language, and the addition of Java, founder Adam Wiggins tells The Register, indicates that it can. "Java is much more mature and more fragmented than languages we're done in the past," he says. "If we can do Java, we can do almost any other language. This proves our polyglot hypothesis."

Announced on Thursday as a beta, Heroku's Java cloud does not use J2EE containers, and the company believes others will soon follow suit. "J2EE containers, we believe, are about to be disrupted away," he says. "You don't need them for scalability, for reliability, for robustness." And by abandoning the containers, the company can run a service that handles Java alongside other languages.

"Techniques for deployment, logging, and scaling are applicable to all app deployments, regardless of language. A common deployment infrastructure reduces language choice to just a question of syntax and libraries," the company said in a blog post. "Reduced coupling between app and infrastructure enables picking the right language for each job."

Wiggins acknowledges that many Java programmers are unlikely to understand the company's stance on containers. But he seems to take a certain amount of pride in this. Heroku is trying to change things. Not to keep them the same. ®

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