Real World Experience with Salesforce1 Heroku Connect

Cross-posted from the Appirio Tech Blog.

Today Heroku announced the general availability of Salesforce1 Heroku Connect. Heroku Connect makes it easy to build customer-facing applications that leverage your existing Salesforce data. Behind the scenes, the Heroku Connect database sync service and new API tools give developers and IT organizations the best of both worlds.

Web application developers can use the tools that they are familiar with, including Ruby, Node.js and Postgres, to create engaging, social and mobile applications while IT organizations have the peace of mind that their data and internal processes are on a rock-solid platform that is highly secure and accessible. The Heroku Connect service runs silently in the background, handling many of the common issues of using an API such as syncing data, local caching and conflict resolution.

So why are we so excited about Heroku Connect at Appirio? Because we’ve been using it since late last fall for a number of customer projects. For instance, we’ve always been a big Heroku supporter (we were one of their first Platinum partners) and originally built our CloudSpokes API using Heroku and the Force.com REST API (all of our data and processes live in our Salesforce org). At Appirio we were one of the first very early users of Heroku Connect as we saw the power of a native sync service.

Last fall we started an initiative to rebuild our CloudSpokes Ruby API in Node.js, and decided to utilize Heroku Connect. Since many of the development languages that run on Heroku are heavily optimized for SQL databases, working with the Salesforce APIs can be somewhat of a challenge even when using REST. With Heroku Connect, developers can use their familiar workflows. Their reads and writes are straight to the database, they can write unit tests using the same patterns they are used to, and leverage all the great features of Postgres (fork, follow, share). Our new Node.js API is super fast, highly scalable and easy to maintain.

Heroku Connect allows us to build salesforce.com-powered apps faster and easier and opens a new industry for customer facing and mobile applications. From partner intranets, to ecommerce, to customer support and training applications, Heroku Connect allows developers to build applications with familiar tools and methodologies while maintaining control of data and processes in salesforce.com.

We have a number of new projects in the works using Heroku Connect including a mobile application for our TopCoder Open programming and design tournament. We are running a series of challenges to build the UI using the Ionic framework, the API in Node.js with Postgres and Heroku Connect to sync data to our Salesforce org for data entry and event management.

Now is a great time to start dreaming up customer-facing applications that can drive your business strategy. Heroku Connect just made this dream a lot easier to realize.