Basic automated deployment from Travis CI to Heroku

Basic automated deployment from Travis CI to Heroku
by Rotati Admin | Programming | January 2015


It’s important to get continuous feedback while an application is being developed. In today’s post, lets explore the process to setup a simple, single branch, open source Git repo hosted on that needs to be deployed to Heroku when the build passes.


First of all we need to install the Heroku Toolbelt and the Travis CI command line tool.

Then we need to create an account on both of these platforms. Since we are using a public repo, we can simply connect to our account directly. For Heroku, we simply need to create a new account via the Heroku Website.

Create and configure new Heroku application

To create a new application on Heroku, run the heroku apps:create command passing in your desired app name. If the app name is unavailable you will be asked to change it (usually namespacing the app name with your organization’s name results in a unique app name).

heroku apps:create rotati-app-name

Since we are going to deploy a Rails application we’ll need to provision the Postgres addon like so. Note that hobby-dev is the free Postgres addon :)

heroku addons:add heroku-postgresql:hobby-dev

Optionally, we might want to share access to this application Heroku Dashboard page with other developers (e.g. as collaborators on the project). This can be achieved using the following command:

heroku sharing:add

That should be all we need to do now on the Heroku side now lets move onto setting up Travis CI.

Create the travis configuation

Firstly, its necssary to ‘flick the switch’ for the particular repository you want Travis to watch out for and run tests against. On the page where Travis lists all your repos, flick the switch to ‘On’ for the repo you are working with.

Next up, in our Github repo, we change directory into the project directory and run the following Travis CI command to setup a .travis.yml file for us:

touch .travis.yml

travis setup heroku

We need to manually specify the version of Ruby in this file too. This can be done by opening the .travis.yml file in a text editor and adding the language: ruby and rvm version at the top of it. Since we are using Heroku, its necessary to use a version supported by Heroku (the latest version being the preferred version). At the time of writing this post this is v2.2.0p0.

The .travis.yml file should now look something like this:

language: ruby


- 2.2.0


  provider: heroku


    secure: AHKXwF0xyFComYIXqOKIHbll2ExrITTs8DSMH0pD5GZrTdMRSVCr8WmAd3Xf0TBLT8xq8xWpZREbgP3m6vCGuxpRW0wKRUoeytMuS2Nr7nVjq6MFhB811D/z/BkP6l5RK/uClBgRD77dOOWDPTl0k7bCLOashazpzL+pvf0LbhI=

  app: rotati-someapp


    repo: rotati/someapp

In our Rails application database.yml file, set the production: url property to the value of the environemnt variable DATABASE_URL which we know is now configured on our server.


   url: <%= ENV['DATABASE_URL'] %>

Finally, specify the Ruby version for the application to use in Heroku and also add the pg gem to your Gemfile and run bundle to install it.

# Inside Gemfile

ruby "2.2.0"

gem 'pg'

NOTE the version of Ruby specified in the Gemfile must be the same as the version specified in the .travis.yml file above (otherwise Travis will complain!)


While there are several steps to setup this CI workflow, once its done, well, its done and you will appreciate its rapid feedback and ease of use.

This process can be used to constantly review and test code as well as test drive (passing) code on a simple ‘staging’ server running on Heroku. Obviously there are many additional options that can be configured. One such option is deployment of an app from a specific branch as usually the master branch (as we are using in this demo) is reserved for Production ready code only.

For more details on configuation of Travis, check out the Travis CI Documentation.

about Rotati

Rotati is a full service Web and Mobile application consultancy. We use Ruby and JavaScript as our tools of choice.