Facebook has teamed up with Heroku to give developers a faster way to get Facebook apps up and running in the cloud. Facebook apps have long been a major segment on the Heroku platform, but now Facebook has made it possible to start building a live Facebook app instantly, powered by Heroku.
The move means you have direct access to Heroku's offering for hosting your apps. The goal is to make life easier for developers by eliminating hassles associated with actually deploying and running an app once they've built it.
Not only is there now an option within the Facebook development platform to launch an app on Heroku, but your app is up and running without ever leaving the social network. That being said, if you want to add additional tools or services, you still have to log in to Heroku and set a password.
Heroku offers support for the languages that Facebook developers are most likely to use. Apps are created from one of four templates, based on the language choice you make at app creation time: Ruby, Node.js, Python, or PHP. The last two are only partially supported: apps in Python and PHP can only be created through the Facebook integration.
Heroku says it worked with Facebook to deliver on the following mutual goals:
- Avoid superfluous steps, like account signup or cutting-and-pasting of configuration values.
- Focus on apps, not servers. When your Facebook app suddenly gets big traffic, the last thing you should be doing is thinking about servers: you need instant scaling.
- Get your app running instantly. Who wants to wait around for minutes while their app "provisions"?
- Don't force cost decisions. You don't need a credit card to get started, and low-volume apps on Heroku are free forever.
To get started, head over to Facebook Developers, click Create New App, and then Cloud Services => Get Started. You'll have to get through a captcha and one more button press to get your very own Facebook app running on Heroku. From there, you can git clone the app to start working on it immediately.
For more detailed instructions, check out the "Getting Started With Your Facebook App on Heroku" tutorial and Facebook Developers' "Facebook and Heroku: an even easier way to get started" blog post.
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