Heroku: Worth Reading About

If you are not familiar with Heroku, it’s a platform-as-a-service for deploying and running software applications. That sounds so simple, but Heroku was actually one of the first companies to do it, and do it well. Heroku started as a humble tool for building, deploying, and running ruby-on-rails websites, but grew to be so much more. At a time when most people were still deploying their applications by manually copying updated files to a remote server using scp/ftp, Heroku kicked off a generational leap in deployment capabilities for many developers and companies around the world.

For years, Heroku was the industry-standard. The perfect balance between ease-of-use and power for deploying and serving web applications. Their developer experience was (is) second-to-none, and to this day there are many new platforms that claim to be the “Heroku for X.”

Recently, Heroku has been in the news because of a security incident which has prevented a major part of their tool from working for a month now.1

This isn’t a blog post about the demise of Heroku. I still envy the company and think their core product is basically flawless (if a bit expensive). Professionally, I work on deployment and development tools. I love what they’ve done and always strive to achieve that balance of power and simple elagance in my own work.

There’s been a lot of very interesting stories, twitter threads, and blog posts written about Heroku lately due to this incident and the perceived fall-from-grace the product has had over the last few years. Many of these words come from past and current Heroku employees, some of whom I believe are some of the smartest engineers in the industry. This is a collection of those stories. Stories worth reading.

Added 18 May 2022:

  1. https://status.heroku.com/incidents/2413

  2. Warning: Clickbait title

  3. This post is from 2020 and predates the current incident, but it’s still a great read.

  4. Technically a blog post about Postgres, but contains tons of good details about early database work at Heroku.

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