AppHarbor vs Heroku: What are the differences?
Developers describe AppHarbor as "Instantly deploy and scale .NET applications". AppHarbor is a fully hosted .NET Platform as a Service. AppHarbor can deploy and scale any standard .NET application to the cloud. On the other hand, Heroku is detailed as "Build, deliver, monitor and scale web apps and APIs with a trail blazing developer experience". Heroku is a cloud application platform – a new way of building and deploying web apps. Heroku lets app developers spend 100% of their time on their application code, not managing servers, deployment, ongoing operations, or scaling.
AppHarbor and Heroku can be categorized as "Platform as a Service" tools.
Some of the features offered by AppHarbor are:
- You push .NET and Windows code to AppHarbor using Git, Mercurial, Subversion or Team Foundation Server with the complimentary Git service or through integrations offered in collaboration with Bitbucket, CodePlex and GitHub.
- When AppHarbor receives your code it will be built by a build server. If the code compiles all unit tests contained in the compiled assemblies will be run. The result and progress of the build and unit test status can be monitored on the application dashboard. AppHarbor will call any service hooks that you add to notify you of the build result.
- If everything checks out the application is deployed and configured on AppHarbor application servers. AppHarbor can scale an application vertically and horizontally within seconds for better request throughout, performance and failover. AppHarbor balance load across all instances running that application. Scaling an application gives higher request thoughput, redundancy in case of instance failure and better performance.
On the other hand, Heroku provides the following key features:
- Agile deployment for Ruby, Node.js, Clojure, Java, Python, Go and Scala.
- Run and scale any type of app.
- Total visibility across your entire app.
"Has a totally free account option" is the top reason why over 7 developers like AppHarbor, while over 694 developers mention "Easy deployment" as the leading cause for choosing Heroku.
What is AppHarbor?
What is Heroku?
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AppHarbor is an amazing tool for indie developers or startups that are just getting on their feet. To put it short, AppHarbor is the Heroku of .NET, being developer friendly, cost effective and performant.
Their platform has some nice features including the plugins (integrations with different services such as shared or dedicated RDBMS instances, document repositories, messaging queues, logging and monitoring services, etc.) that are extremely easy to use, and especially integrations with BitBucket and GitHub.
It's such a pleasure to work with the integrations mentioned, that whenever a developer pushes commits to the selected branch, AppHarbor automatically pulls, updates, builds, runs the unit tests and deploys. The cream of the crop is the fact that even the free tier supports this workflow which is practically a continuous delivery approach. And this makes AppHarbor perfect for startups and independent developers.
And, for established companies, I have to add the fact that their customer support is quite good.
I use Heroku, for almost any project of mine. Their free plan is awesome for testing, solo developers or your startup and its almost impossible to not cover you somehow. Adding an add on is a simple command away and I find it easy to use it both on my Windows PC or my Linux laptop. Their documentation, covers almost everything. In particular I have used Heroku for Spring, Django and AngularJS. I even find it easier to run my project on my local dev with foreman start, than ./manage.py runserver (for my django projects). There is no place like Heroku for the developer!
Can't beat the simplicity of deploying and managing apps, the pricing is a bit high, but you are paying for those streamlined tools. However, after several experiences of tracing issues back to Heroku's stack, not having visibility into what they are doing has prompted moving two applications off of it and on to other more transparent cloud solutions. Heroku is amazing for what it is, hosting for early stage products.
I've been using Heroku for 3 years now, they have grown super fast and each time they're improving their services. What I really like the most is how easily you can show to your client the advances on you project, it would take you maximum 15 minutes to configure two environments (Staging/Production). It is simply essential and fantastic!
I liked how easy this was to use and that I could create some proof of concepts without have to pay. The downside for NodeJS is remote debugging. Pretty much have to depend on logging where Azure allows remote debugging with Node Inspector.
Using Heroku takes away all the pains associated with managing compute and backing services. It may require a little extra optimisation and tweaks, but these constraints often make your app better anyway.
Not having to deal with servers is a huge win for us. There are certainly trade-offs (having to wait if the platform is down as opposed to being able to fix the issue), but we’re happy being on Heroku right now. Being able to focus 100% of our technical efforts on application code is immensely helpful.
Two dynos seems to be the sweet spot for our application. We can handle traffic spikes and get pretty consistent performance otherwise.
We have a total of four apps on Heroku: Legacy Leanstack, StackShare Prod, StackShare Staging, StackShare Dev. Protip: if you’re setting up multiple environments based on your prod environment, just run heroku fork app name. Super useful, it copies over your db, add-ons, and settings.
We have a develop branch on GitHub that we push to dev to test out, then if everything is cool we push it to staging and eventually prod. Hotfixes of course go straight to staging and then prod usually.
Heroku runs the web and background worker processes. Auto-deployments are triggered via GitHub commits and wait for the Buildkite test build to pass. Heroku pipelines with beta release phase execution (for automatically running database migrations) allowed for easy manual testing of big new releases. Web and worker logs are sent to Papertrail.
As much as I love AWS EC, I prefer Heroku for apps like this. Heroku has grown up around Rails and Ruby, massive set of add-ons that are usually one-click setup, and I once had to perform an emergency app scale-up a that I completed in seconds from my mobile phone whilst riding the Bangkok subway. Doesn't get much easier than that.