Days 12–14: Setting up a Public Instance

The rest of this series can be found here.

Setting up a Public Instance

Today, I’m working on setting up a public instance of this app, since must apps aren’t built just to run on the dev’s local computer. I initially tried running on the server I host several other sites on, but it’s a shared host running Ruby 1.8.7 and Rails 2.3.18, so it’s significantly behind current, and I’m unable to update it.

I could easily run on AWS, Google Cloud, etc., but since this is mainly a self-educational project, I don’t want to pour money into keeping a server running just to host it.

I found several services that host a couple of (small) free apps, and decided to try Red Hat’s OpenShift service. Their free tier lets you host up to 3 apps, and includes everything I need for this.


Initially, I tried setting up the app through OpenShift’s web service, and pulling in the existing GitHub repo. No matter what I tried, however, I ran into errors. I eventually ended up creating a new app from scratch using their client tools: $ rhc app-create checklist ruby-2.0

I tried for a while to figure out how to use the new OpenShift app, add my code to it, and deploy, but eventually gave up as I was getting nowhere and spending too much time on it.


Heroku also lets you run a free dyno. I signed up for their service and went through the getting started guide.

  • Installed their command-line tools
  • `$ heroku create app-name` set up a new app
  • I had to switch over from SQLite3 to PostgreSQL (see this article)
    • Had to install PostgreSQL first:
    • `$ brew install postgresql`
    • `$ ln -sfv /usr/local/opt/postgresql/*.plist ~/Library/LaunchAgents`
    • `$ launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/homebrew.mxcl.postgresql.plist`
    • Then continued with the database switch
  • `$ git push heroku master` is all it takes to go live

But…something went wrong. I’m being told to check my application logs. Thankfully, Heroku is much more helpful than OpenShift was: $ heroku logs --tail.

I also didn’t realize that I needed to run $ heroku run rake db:migrate to get set up…duh. Finally…the app is up and running publicly.

Overdue support

I also added support for styling overdue items and sorting the list by completed status and then due date


Whew…seems like deploying a Rails app is a bit more complicated than a PHP site (including WordPress), though it’s been so long since I started with those types of sites that I’ve forgotten the learning curve.

Next up: setting up user accounts so everybody won’t start using my app and get all their todo items mixed up with each other’s…

The current code can be found here.

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