2008 was a very, very big year for Heroku. We launched the first version of the platform, picked up some world-class investors, expanded the team with some amazing talent (there are 10 of us now), spoke at a zillion conferences about Ruby, Rails, Sinatra, the web stack, and cloud computing, and have grown like crazy.
Most importantly, we’ve had an incredibly successful private beta. We launched it less than a year ago, and we have well over 20,000 apps running on Heroku today. This is one of the largest collections of Rails apps in the world, ranging from enterprise software to web 2.0 apps to iPhone app backends, and everything in between. This richly diverse environment has been perfect for testing the platform.
What We Learned
Going from zero to 20,000 apps has been no small feat, and we’ve had plenty of growing pains. We also learned what our users want from a commercial version of the platform, and surprisingly to us, we discovered that there aren’t just a bunch of features we need to add, but some we need to remove as well (platform features often involve trade-offs).
Having made that discovery, we knew we needed to create a second version of the platform, to pursue exactly those requirements, designed from the ground up (with our hard earned knowledge) for commercial production use.
We started this new version 4 months ago, in a separate cluster, along with its own private beta, which we’ve let about 1,000 apps into so far.
Thousands of people use and love the first version of our platform, particularly the web-based editor, as it’s the best place to get started with Rails. We are going to keep this version free, and move it completely over to herokugarden.com. We’ll post more details about this transition shortly.
The second version of our platform is almost ready for release, as the results of the beta are showing excellent reliability and performance.
This second version will form the foundation of our commercial offering (the commercial version will still accommodate free usage). You will be hearing more about this over the next couple of months as we bring it out of private beta.
We have some really exciting stuff in store for you – 2009 is going to be even bigger.