Today we are announcing a new data solution for combined users of the Heroku and Salesforce platform: Heroku External Objects. The newest feature of Heroku Connect, Heroku External Objects makes data from any Heroku Postgres database - like that from customer apps, transaction systems, or data warehouses- seamlessly available within a given Salesforce deployment. Leveraging the newly announced Salesforce1 Lightning Connect, Heroku External Objects gives Force.com developers a powerful new capability to help architect their Salesforce deployments and implement data services.
Every Force.com developer is familiar with the powerful database services the platform provides. Being able to easily add fields and objects, and relate them, has been at the center of the platform’s power for almost a decade. As developers bring Force.com into new and increasingly more demanding use cases, the ability to integrate different classes of data into a single deployment is very useful.
With Heroku External Objects, data persisted in Heroku Postgres can now be presented as a kind of “virtual” Custom Object. From the end user’s perspective, the data is presented just like any other Custom Object. But on the backend, the data is persisted only in Heroku Postgres. This makes the full capabilities of Postgres - such as large data volumes, SQL accessibility, and app development support - available to a Heroku External Object, while retaining its visibility within Salesforce.
This difference also means understanding some limitations. Unlike Custom Objects the Heroku External Object data is read only, and not available in reports. It can be searched, used in Apex and Visual Force pages, and retrieved via the Force.com APIs. Taken together, Heroku External Objects, the existing synchronization capabilities of Heroku Connect, and the existing Custom Objects features of Force.com provide developers with a powerful palette of data services for their Salesforce deployments.
Heroku External Objects works in tandem with Lightning Connect. Under the hood, Lightning Connect uses the oData standard to let data from any oData enabled source be easily presented inside of Salesforce. Lightning Connect already has support from significant members of the integration ecosystem.
Heroku External Objects is available today with Heroku Connect. To see how our customers build Salesforce connected apps with Heroku and Heroku Connect, join us for a webinar with Sharon McHugh, VP Sales, Innisbrook on December 16th. For more information and documentation, visit the Heroku Connect page, the Heroku Dev Center or the documentation on Force.com.