Over the last couple years, there’s been a rise in hosted application platforms that let developers take their mind off of server administration and instead focus entirely on writing and deploying code. The best known of these is probably Heroku, a platform for Rails applications that was just acquired by Salesforce for $212 million. Google’s App Engine is another popular option for Python and Java developers, and there are loads of competitors popping up.
DotCloud is a new Y Combinator-funded company launching today that’s similar to these, but with a key difference: instead of focusing on one or two popular development stacks, it wants to give developers more flexibility by letting them mix and match from over a dozen preconfigured components.
Founder Solomon Hykes explains that most services like Heroku limit what languages and tools you can use, which can prove problematic over time. Sometimes companies decide they want to add a new language midway through a project, because their developer happens to be exceptionally good at it. Or they want to adopt a different kind of database or framework to suit scaling needs. DotCloud is setting out to give them the flexibility they need to make those kind of changes midstream.
The product has been in alpha testing for the last three months, and has been used by 20 fellow Y Combinator companies during that time. Hykes says that the team tweaked the product based on the requests of these YC classmates and alums, and the broad adoption by these companies seems to indicate that they liked what DotCloud came up with.