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Across all app development platforms, Heighliner has a unique focus on cloud-native developer-experience and has many out-of-the-box features.

We've also studied other app development platforms and would like to share our insights on the comparison, hopefully helping you navigate through the prismatic choices out there.


Helm is a CLI tool to manage Kubernetes resources and provides Golang-based templating.

Compared to Helm, Heighliner has a more robust templating engine and a more robust CLI:

  • Heighliner uses CUE for templating which can provide typed schema that Golang template can not.
  • Heighliner manages more than Kubernetes resources, e.g. CI/CD pipelines, framework scaffolds, Grafana dashboards, etc.

Besides, Heighliner has built-in stacks that provide end-to-end app development best practice. In comparison, most Helm charts are just single-component things.

Infrastructure as Code Tools (Terraform, Pulumi, CDK)​

IaC tools focus on generality and flexiblity. It tries to adapt to all cloud providers and all tooling.

Compared to IaC tools, Heighliner focuses on developer experience and application architecture. Heighliner stacks cover the entire app development lifecycle and provide end-to-end best practice. You can use Heighliner to bootstrap app development naturally.

But they are not in conflict either. Under the hood, Heighliner uses Terraform to provision infrastructure resources as well.


Heroku is a cloud-based platform for deploying and managing applications. It also has built-in support for languages like Node.js, Ruby, Python, Go, Java, etc.

Compared to Heroku:

  • Heighliner is customizable: You can easily extend platform features by codifying stacks.
  • Heighliner is open-source and integrates cloud-native tools and service. Heroku is a closed-source platform.


Nocalhost is a cloud-native development tool based on IDE (VSCode, Intellij). It creates a tunnel between local IDE and Kubernetes so that developers can build, test, and debug applications inside Kubernetes.

Heighliner covers the full lifecycle of app development, including boostraping, setting up CI/CD pipeline, deployment strategies (canary, blue/green), etc. Nocalhost is part of Heighliner platform to provide remote development features.

In-house Dev Platforms​

Most organizations start by building in-house development platforms on Kubernetes through custom scripts and tools. This is simple and effective, but it is not scalable and flexible. As the number of application and infrastructure stack increases, the cost of maintaining these platforms becomes expensive, error-prone, and unmanageable.

Heighliner can replace in-house development platforms with many benefits: more features, more reliable, more flexible, and easier to maintain. Heighliner has official stacks for poular languages and frameworks. You can also extend your languages or infra stacks with Heighliner. It's an open source and community driven project that can be used by any organization.