The utility of the original command-line script is now diluted even farther – mainly because you now have to go to the website to scrape the web – but that wasn’t really the point of putting
wotlisten online; the point was to see just how easy deploying to Heroku really was.
The answer is: remarkably so. I wrapped the original script into a little Sinatra application, with two views, and a tiny bit of error handling for convenience. Sinatra’s something I’ve been playing with for a while now: it’s really excellent for wrapping small scripts into little webapps with the bare minimum of extra code, and when combined with lightweight tools like DataMapper, and sqlite, just powerful enough for the lightweight tinkering I seem to do so much of. If you’re a Ruby developer and you haven’t played around with Sinatra, you owe it to yourself to check it out – it’s a lovely library to have in the toolbox.
With the webapp written, I installed the
heroku gem, which helped me create a new remote git branch pointing at my Heroku account. Deployment is trivial – far simpler than using something like Capistrano; all that is necessary is to push my master branch to the
heroku remote, and upon a successful push, Heroku notices that I’ve pushed out a Rack application – and it directs requests to it automatically.
It took about ten minutes to write the Sinatra app, and another ten to get it up and running on Heroku; the single snag I ran into was the same as Tom did – the need to unpack haml into a vendor directory.
I’m very, very impressed. It’s all very well being able to build small, trivial toys like
wotlisten, but it’s often a hassle to deploy or configure them. Heroku really takes most of that pain away, and makes setting a tiny Sinatra app live a trivial task. It’s definitely going into my toolbox – or, perhaps, that should be toybox – for the near future.