Coding Rails apps in the cloud with Nitrous.io in less than 5 minutes

After my friend Minh from TechInAsia told me about Nitrous.io and their 1 million dollar seed funding around a month ago, I’ve been early waiting to get access and try it out. One of the promises was to get working development stacks running in a heartbeat. Today I finally got to try it and I have to say I was impressed.

Timer started, here’s what I did:

  1. I opened www.nitrous.io and signed up for an account. That was basically instant.
  2. Clicked on “New Box”, chose the platform (right now they offer Rails, Node.js, Django and Go), gave it a name, selected a region and clicked on “Create Box”. Provisioning and starting up the box took around a minute. It opened with a window in the browser that contained a file explorer on the left, a text editor in the middle, and a console in the bottom.
  3. A “git clone” in the console pulled in the sources from GitHub in a few seconds.
  4. A “bundle install” pulled in all the dependencies, this took around a minute.
  5. A “rake db:migrate” set up the local database.
  6. “Rails s” started the local server.
  7. And finally, a click on the “Preview Port 3000″ menu item opened a new tab in my browser, pointing to the right URL show my existing Rails app.

All this took less than 5 minutes and I was ready to go. A few further edits, running rails commands, migrating databases again, previewing changes, all that worked like a charm. And signing out on one computer and quickly signing in on the other preserved all the local changes and I could continue immediately.

Again, I’m impressed.




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  • Sameer Siruguri

    I agree, it’s really very impressive. One thing I’d add is that if your Rails app is using Postgres, you need 3 more steps:

    1. parts install postgresql
    2. parts start postgresql
    3. createdb

    You’re good to go now!

    • hendrikbeck

      Oh thanks a lot for the addition, Sameer! Are you using it for day-to-day development or did you just play around with it?

      • Sameer Siruguri

        I’m using it during my mentoring sessions, to help my students get past the “installation” barrier when using Windows. So – playing around, I guess, but for someone else’s day-to-day work, bit of both.

        • hendrikbeck

          Nice. I’ve thought the mentoring session use case is a very valid one but haven’t had the chance to try it out myself yet. Cool, have fun and good luck with everything, Sameer! :)