A few days ago we added support for PHP in public beta. If you are an ISV, consultant, or developer you can take advantage of the new language when building Salesforce extensions and customer facing applications. In this post we provide a short summary of how the new PHP is different,  how it can make your app development more efficient and fun, and where to learn more.

What’s New

  • You can run PHP apps on the Salesforce1 Platform using Heroku. The language is fully supported.

  • The new PHP includes modern dependency management and frameworks. Composer is a dependency management tool that allows for declarative and explicit dependency management, and recommended frameworks include Symfony and Laravel.

  • Heroku XL Support: high performance dynos are available for PHP allowing your apps to scale without worrying about hitting performance bottlenecks.

  • Integrate PHP apps with Salesforce and Force.com via OAuth, Heroku Connect, and/or Canvas.

  • Experimental HHVM and Hack support: HHVM is the virtual machine for PHP used by and currently in development at Facebook. Heroku’s PHP buildpack supports HHVM as an experimental alternative runtime to standard PHP, which means in addition to excellent performance, customers can also take advantage of the new Hack programming language that evolves and extends PHP with many features such as strong typing and generics, while maintaining full interoperability with existing PHP code.

Which Apps and Databases are Good Fits?

As part of the Salesforce1 Platform, Heroku allows you to create custom apps and delight customers using programmatic development . If you have PHP skills you can  leverage them with Salesforce and its ecosystem of apps and technologies. The same value holds true for each language, of course some of them being more conducive for specific use cases. For example, node.js is very popular for mobile apps. As far as databases, Heroku Postgres is a fully managed SQL compliant database as a service with equivalent agility to the Heroku runtime: set database followers, fork the database the way you can fork an application, share data via URL with dataclips, and the ability to synch SQL with Salesforce data using Heroku Connect.

Can I Connect PHP Apps with Salesforce Apps?

One way of connecting Salesforce with a PHP app is at the authentication level. OAuth allows users to login using their Salesforce credentials to a Heroku app built on PHP and vice versa. Heroku Connect allows the synchronization of Salesforce data with data stored in Heroku Postgres. This allows you to build functions in your PHP app that extend Force.com and CRM use cases, and leverage customer data to make apps richer for the end customer. Another way to use PHP is via Canvas, which is a way of integrating a PHP application within a Salesforce UI. 

Learning More and Getting Started

Check the blog posts on the history and future of PHP and details on the new PHP stack. Developer accounts require no credit card to get started. Find the first steps in the documentation and don’t hesitate to get in touch. Give it a try!

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