Aura is an open-source UI framework for developing dynamic web apps for mobile and desktop devices. Lightning Components framework is built on top of Aura. The big difference between Aura and Lightning Components is that Lightning components runs on Apex, whereas Aura runs on Java. Another difference is that Lightning Components have Salesforce specific components that are used inside Salesforce and in S1 Mobile app.

One nice thing about Aura is that you can build custom enterprise grade apps locally and run it in your own datacenter or on Heroku. In addition, you can also use Aura to understand the internals of how the framework works. In this blog I’ll show you how to run an Aura app and deploy it on Heroku and also on local machine.

Tic-Tac-Toe Aura App

As an example, I took the Tic-tac-toe lightning app and converted it into Aura. Since this app doesn’t use server, all I had to do was to simply copy all the components and change the namespace.

In Eclipse, the app looks like below:

Just like any Java web apps, we need to store components inside WEB-INF folder. Then you first start off by creating a namespace folder and then keep all your components inside that folder. And finally every component bundle has it’s own folder and a set of files as shown below.


Deploying Via Heroku Button

Click on the Heroku Button below to install it right from this blog post.


  1. Enter App name (optional)
  2. Press “Deploy for Free” button
  3. Press “View” button to see the app


Running It Locally

Make sure you have Maven and JDK 7 installed. Aura needs JDK 7 and won’t work in JDK 8.

  1. git clone

  2. cd tictactoe

  3. mvn clean install

  4. mvn jetty:run

You can open the project in Eclipse.

  1. File > Import > Maven > Existing Maven Projects and point to the root tictactoe folder

  2. Right click on pom.xml and select “maven install”

  3. Right click on pom.xml and select “Run Configuration” and enter “jetty:run” as target


Deploying a New Aura App On Heroku

Aura framework needs JDK 1.7 and Jetty to run. So in order to run it on Heroku, you need to configure both.

  1. To configure JDK 1.7, simply create a file in the root folder. And add java.runtime.version=1.7
  2. To configure Jetty, first you need to add the jetty-runner plugin to the maven file. This downloads the Jetty-runner to run the app.


  3. And finally, create a Procfile in the root directory with the following value:

    All it is saying is that we need a “web” process and run our app (war file in target folder) using jetty-runner.


Pro Tip

To manage multiple JDK on your machine, you may want to set environment like below and simply enter setJdk7 or setJdk8 when you want to change the JDK.


Learn More:

  1. Getting Started With Java On Heroku
  2. Deploy a Java app that runs With Jetty-Runner
  3. Aura OSS guide [PDF]

If you have any questions, please feel free to add it in the comment below or contact me on Twitter at: @rajaraodv

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