I was doing some sample Rails apps recently and was looking for a place to run them. Heroku would have been my first port of call but given the limits on database size for the free account, I looked around to see what else was out there. I ended up on OpenShift. The free account gives 3 gears (or VMs) with 1GB storage on each. This is better for me as I can run a proper database on it without the 10000 row limit. The 1GB storage is also persistent so you can use it to store assets.
Redhat has an rhc gem which allows you to control your gears from the command line. You can create new apps from here or you can do as I did and create them from the OpenShift web page. They have a large list of pre-configured applications covering languages such as Java, Ruby, Python and frameworks like Node and Rails.
I selected the Rails 4 application. This forks the Rails 4 example repository from Github. The name you give your application forms the basis for its url i.e. appname-username.rhcloud.com. You can choose a database - the options for Rails are MySql and Postgres. This creates a blank Rails application - to add OpenShift support to an existing application you can follow the steps here.
After a short wait a screen pops up with the database credentials and instructions on how to clone the application to a local git repository.
After I clone the repository I typically change the configuration. I want to also store the application code on Github, so I rename the origin repository to openshift.
git remote rename origin openshift
Then I add a new origin remote using
git remote add origin firstname.lastname@example.org:gerardcondon/rails-app.git
and I do an initial push to this remote
git push origin
The current master branch is still tracking openshift/master so now I change this to track origin/master using
git branch master -u origin/master
Now by default changes are pushed to Github when I run
git push. When I want to deploy to OpenShift I have to manually specify it using
git push openshift
After the push, Openshift will stop the application, perform any db migrations and restart it again. There is also support for adding in your own operations at various stages in the deployment.
If I want to clone the repository on a new machine then I clone from Github and add an OpenShift remote using
git remote add openshift ssh://<<openshift repository ssh url>>
The repository’s ssh url is available from the application’s dashboard on OpenShift.