Monday, February 25, 2013

Django on Heroku: Revisited

Last week, I spent quite a while getting a simple "Hello World" Django app in place on Heroku. This week, I wanted to see if I could repeat the process by posting a small working demo project. Things went much more smoothly this time around.

I used git to grab a local clone of the project. I used virtualenv to setup a virtual environment and pip to load that environment with the project's requirements.

I created a local PostgreSQL database so I could test things locally. I remembered to set the DATABASE_URL environmental variable and to sync Django with the new database. I debated on whether I needed to run python collectstatic in order to move the website's static files (such as scripts and stylesheets), but the site ran fine locally as-is without it.

Since everything seemed to work fine locally, it was time to push to Heroku. I double-checked that .gitignore was in place with venv and *.pyc in it. When I ran git add . I realized that I'd done all of this testing without touching a single project file. That's a neat design.

I created a new heroku app and used git to push the files to heroku. I initially forgot to sync the database on Heroku's end, but the resulting error message was obvious and it only took a minute to correct. To make sure everything really worked, I used Django's default admin interface to add some database contents (a poll with 4 possible answers). Everything seems to be running fine.

Given the light expected traffic, I didn't bother to switch out the default Django server for gunicorn.

All of this took me about 1 hour, compared to last week's 20 hours. Now that I've got this down, maybe Heroku isn't so bad after all!

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