I Miss Heroku's DevEx

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2022-05-12 02:30:03

If you've never really experienced it before, it's gonna sound really weird. Basically the main way that Heroku worked is that they would set up a git remote for each "app" it hosted. Each "app" had its source code in a git repo and a "Procfile" that told Heroku what to do with it. So when it came time to deploy that app, you'd just git push heroku main and then Heroku would just go off and build that app and run it somewhere in the cloud. You got back a HTTPS URL and then bam you have a website.

The developer experience didn't stop there. Most of how Heroku apps are configured are via environment variables, and there were addons that let you tell Heroku things like "hi yes I would like one (1) postgres please" and the platform would spin up a database somewhere and drop a config variable into the app's config. It was magic. Things just worked and it left you free to go do what made you money.

Heroku's free tier got me the in I needed to make my career really start. If I didn't have something like Heroku in my life I doubt that my career would be the same or even I would be the same person I am today. It's really hard to describe what having access to a platform that lets you turn ideas into production quality code does to your output ability. I even ended up reinventing Heroku a few times in my career (working for Deis and later reinventing most of the core of Heroku as a project between jobs), but nothing really hit that same level of wonder/magic that Heroku did.

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