Launched top iPhone app & social site with Heroku

"From now on, we're only deploying on Heroku"


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The Best Camera is the one you have with you. The Best deployment platform is Heroku.

When world-renowned photographer Chase Jarvis bought his first iPhone he immediately realized the potential of the platform. Inspired by the slogan “The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You™”, he created an inspirational 3-part “ecosystem”. An iPhone app that allows you to shoot, edit and share your images; a book that celebrates photography with any camera; and a thriving, online community made of iPhone images from around the world.

Ubermind was a natural fit to develop the iPhone app and online community. With a long history developing for Apple platforms and over 10 iPhone applications, Chase worked closely with Ubermind to develop The Best Camera.

Collaborative Development

Creating The Best Camera was a tight collaboration from day one. What started as an idea in Chase’s head evolved over a few months into a rich and complex iPhone application and community site. Leveraging Heroku’s git based deploys, Ubermind could push out a new backend service update in the morning, get feedback from Chase by lunch, and spin up changes by the end of the day.

Crush of Traffic

Just a few months after kicking off the project the team launched the full ecosystem. Immediately the iPhone app popped up into the Top 20 iPhone. Spurred by features in Wired, Macworld, New York Times, and Switched, tens of thousands of new users downloaded the application. For Ubermind, handling the crush of traffic was as easy as moving the dyno slider up to meet demand.

“After seeing how well the launch went, our CEO has now said all our future iPhone application backends will be developed in Rails, and we will push to production on Heroku”

Provable ROI

Ubermind’s job is to make awesome apps. Creating amazing applications means also having amazing web services to back them up. Rails is a natural fit for creating the web services, and Heroku for deploying them. With Heroku, Ubermind is able to provide a reliable platform with clear documentation on how money is being spent. When traffic comes in, they scale up the dynos. And when it ebbs, it’s a slider away to lower costs.

“It scales, it’s reliable, and it’s easy for us to use. When a mobile app takes off it’s easy to scale, and to see how the money is being spent”

Before this project, Ubermind had never deployed a production application on Heroku. Previous apps were deployed through the in-house IT staff on dedicated hardware. Although they started on Heroku for development, the plan was to migrate off before production. Based on the ease of management and great experience they had during development, IT did a full evaluation of the alternatives, and decided that Heroku was the best option available. In fact after seeing how well the launch went, Ubermind’s CEO has now said all future web services will be developed in Rails, and deployed in production on Heroku.

“We did an in-depth analysis, comparing Heroku to self-managed dedicated hardware or running EC2, and concluded it wouldn’t be worth our time to not use Heroku”