Amazon has brought Python support to its Elastic Beanstalk and tightened the links between the platform-as-a-service and its Relational Database Service (RDS).
The updates released on Sunday give developers access to another programming language to use when on Elastic Beanstalk. It also heightens competition between the PaaS and other platforms such as Heroku, Engine Yard and Google App Engine.
Elastic Beanstalk automates the deployment of code onto the Amazon Web Services platform, saving developers time usually spent on crafting the links between components in the underlying infrastructure.
"The Python release brings with it many platform improvements to help you get your application up and running more quickly and securely," Amazon wrote in a post to its product news blog.
Developers can now use Python, PHP, Java and .NET on Amazon's Elastic Beanstalk. That compares with the availability of Ruby, Java, node.js, Scala, Clojure and Python on Heroku; Ruby, PHP and Java on Engine Yard; and Java and Python on Google App Engine.
Elastic Beanstalk is "way less expensive than Heroku", a user by the name of 'Arihant' wrote in a comment to the Hacker News messageboard in response to the release.
Customers do not have to pay to use Elastic Beanstalk, instead they pay for the AWS components that their application uses. Heroku, as it needs to make money independently of use of the basic AWS components, charges for its management layer, raising the overall cost.
As well as adding Python support, Amazon has tweaked the way its RDS service communicates with Elastic Beanstalk, to cut the steps needed to link a database with the platform. This lets developers easily link a capable database with their Elastic Beanstalk application.
The moves jar with what Amazon has said in the past about its ambitions in platform services.
In January, Werner Vogels, the company's chief technology officer, told ZDNet Amazon wants "one thousand platforms to bloom" on its infrastructure-as-a-service technology. This statement was a reference to platforms such as Heroku, which sit directly on top of AWS.
However, by broadening language support and adding easier database linking, Amazon is putting features into Elastic Beanstalk that close the competitive gap with platform leader Heroku.
Amazon launched Elastic Beanstalk in January 2011. Since then, it has updated the service with more language support and additional features, such as Git deployment.