A couple of months ago i was in San Francisco and I literally bumped into Simon Willison on 5th Street. He’s a lovely man, created a really nice service with his wife Natalie Willison (nee Downe) called Lanyrd, as a social overlay for tech events. The company sold to Eventbrite, and he is now a director of infrastructure there.
When we call RedMonk’s work “analysis by the people, for the people” people like Simon are who we have in mind. A huge part of our job is listening to the smartest developers in the world, and trying to capture some of their knowledge and distribute it more widely. A few years ago Simon worked in the next door office in Shoreditch, and it was great because I could pop in and he’d be tinkering with some new tool I should know about. Simon has a splendid radar for great tools. Matt Biddulph is another tools magpie that taught me a lot about modern Web development.
Tom Insam worked with Matt at Dopplr, a social overlay for travel serendipity, which sold to Nokia. I clearly remember the day he introduced me to Heroku for the first time. I remember being like yeah that’s cool, great developer experience, but how do you deploy. He had to gently explain – I already did. \o/
So when Simon told me about how fun he was having with Zeit I took notice. I am not generally a fan of things that come across like magic but Zeit does – deployment is one command – ‘now’. Any directory that contains a package.json or Dockerfile can be deployed with a single command. ‘now’ creates a unique URL every time you deploy a project. It utterly suits how modern developers think of deployment – ephemeral, immutable, disposable. Forky. Just install the CLI and ▲now.
You can deploy to Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Google Cloud Platform (GCP) without worrying about any cloud-specific semantics. This is also being applied to Kubernetes.
Scaling is absurdly easy too
Hyper.sh is making an aggressive play more as a host for Docker images rather than a developer tool per se- with per second pricing, really fast boot times, high end hardware. The design is really nice though and nails the Developer Aesthetic.
Just to confuse you Zeit is also building an terminal emulator written for Electron called Hyper.
In summary both Zeit.now and Hyper.sh are both really interesting tools, driven by making the developer experience almost comically easy. For me now at least, checking out Zeit for the first time feels like seeing Heroku. It just makes so much sense for how developers work today.
update: I hadn’t noticed this post On Moving from Heroku to Now before but I thought it was definitely worth pointing out, in terms of the “new Heroku” idea.
“Since Salesforce took over Heroku it seems to be a bit wobbly over what how it handles it’s free tier, and by no means is it particularly expensive, but the costs do go up as more project require 247 hosting. So I’m always on the look out for alternatives. Zeit’s now is just that. I had been on the fense until they landed control over environment variables, at which point I tried it seriously, then threw my money at them.”
It has some great takes on pricing, developing for immutability etc.
full disclosure: opinions our own but Salesforce is a client.