The new Heroku is instant Ruby deployment with a pure Git workflow. In my estimation, there is no faster or easier way to get a Ruby web app online. We’re finally making good on our tagline: “Never think about servers or hosting again.”
Things may have seemed pretty quiet on the Heroku front for the latter part of 2008. That’s because we were furiously rewriting our entire system from the ground up. After three (!) complete rewrites, we finally arrived at an architecture that has the capability to fulfill our vision for next-generation hosting. James has drawn up some excellent interactive diagrams explaining the technology behind the new Heroku.
Now that our architecture is locked down, we can start cranking out awesome features. The first of these, Merb/Sinatra/Rack support, was announced a few days go. And we’ve got a slew of other announcements on the way. Exciting times!
Now, let me clear up some of the confusion regarding the split between Heroku and Heroku Garden. Garden is the technology prototype we built a year ago, and its main feature is the ability to edit your code live on the web. While we’re very proud of the pioneering work that we did here, up-and-coming projects like Bespin may be poised to take code editing on the web to the next level. Heroku Garden is now in maintenance mode and has not seen any active development for quite some time.
So, you can use Heroku Garden if you are new to Rails and are not comfortable with installing your own local development tools, and are willing to put up with the level of reliability you’d expect from a prototype. But if you already work locally using TextMate, vim, or other editing tools, you should be using Heroku.com. Heroku is fast, reliable, and well-documented; and we’re hard at work continuing to improve it through new features, optimizations, and docs. If you have active apps on Garden but don’t need the web editor, pull down your code with Git and your database with yaml_db, make an account on Heroku, and deploy them there.
Regarding paid vs. free accounts: Heroku.com has paid account levels coming soon, but small apps will always be free. So Heroku is the perfect platform for staging, posting prototypes for your clients to play with, and hosting personal apps. (As an example of the latter, this blog, which gets around half a million pageviews a month, is hosted as a free app on Heroku.) Pricing for larger production deploys is in beta with a small group of customers right now, and will be publicly available in the near future.
Lastly, I just want to say thank you guys for all the love you've been showing us on Twitter. It feels great to have all our hard work starting to pay off in ways that are visible to my fellow Rubyists. Stay tuned, there’s much yet to come.