Landing Matsumoto, also known as "Matz" in the Ruby community, is a coup for Heroku, as Ruby is the language the company was founded on and remains one of the core areas of focus for the company amid a rise in interest in the language among companies such as Engine Yard and New Relic.
"As a member of our platform development team, Matsumoto-san will continue his work on the Ruby language in close collaboration with the Ruby community, keeping the language open and advancing the technology in exciting new ways," said Byron Sebastian, general manager of Heroku and senior vice president of platforms for Salesforce.com, in a statement. "Matz will further accelerate innovation for Ruby and make it even friendlier for developers to build world-class apps."
Since its public release in 1995, the Ruby programming language has spawned a large and rapidly growing following and ecosystem of Ruby-based, complementary technologies. Used by a million developers worldwide, Ruby runs many of the world's most popular brands, from Comcast and Best Buy to AT&T's Yellow Pages, Hulu and Twitter. Ruby has become the leading development language used to write next-generation apps that are social, collaborative, and provide real-time information across mobile devices. Today, Heroku powers more than 150,000 apps written by Ruby developers, the company said.
"I decided to join Heroku because they are committed to openness and developing Ruby further," said Matsumoto in a statement. "I want to make the Ruby development experience even richer, more natural and more productive than ever for all Ruby developers."
Heroku officials said Matsumoto will continue his work as research fellow of the Network Applied Communication Laboratory, an open-source systems integrator company in Shimane Prefecture, Japan. He will also retain his position as fellow at Rakuten Institute of Technology, an R&D organization affiliated with Rakuten, Japan's largest e-commerce company.
A self-taught computer programmer, Matsumoto graduated with a degree in information science from Tsukuba University, where he was a member of Ikuo Nakata's research lab on programming languages and compilers.
In a July 12 blog post the Heroku team said, "In 1993, a time when most programming languages were focused on computational efficiency, Matz wanted to create a language focused on developer experience, happiness, and productivity. This insight was years ahead of the trend toward agile software methodologies."
Moreover, "Matz created a beautiful and elegant language that has steadily grown a passionate following, becoming wildly popular in recent years, partially thanks to David Heinemeier Hansson's Ruby on Rails web framework," the team said in its post.
According to the Heroku post, Matsumoto will continue to drive Ruby's design as a language, as well as the most widely used Ruby implementation (MRI), in his role at Heroku-along with a small team of Ruby's core committers.
"While Heroku is becoming a polyglot platform (now officially supporting Ruby, Node.js, and Clojure), Ruby remains one of our favorite languages; we will continue to invest heavily in its support," the Heroku team said. "We love Ruby, and we are honored to be able to give back to the community and to Matz, the Ruby dai-sensei, by providing resources for him and his team to continue to design and architect the language."
Heroku was founded in 2007 by application developers for application developers, with the goal of making the deployment and management of next-generation cloud apps as easy as their development. The application platform features a workflow and interface designed around how developers work. Because the platform is a service, there are no virtual machines to manage, no software to install and no hardware to manage. Salesforce.com acquired Heroku in December 2010.