Powering ReadMe: Insider Tools

This is the second post of a three part series on the tools we use to make ReadMe.

Last week we posted about all things that help ReadMe run from the user perspective. Today, we’re going behind the scenes to tell you what helps us run ReadMe, and keeps our small team sane.

Hosting: We’re hosted on Heroku. We were using AWS up until, like, a day before launch. At the last minute, I switched over. I didn’t have the time or skills to manage AWS servers. Learning all the ins-and-outs of AWS can quickly become a full time job. With Heroku, it (usually!) just works. So far, I haven’t regretted it at all — although I can see us making a switch in the future. I’d love ReadMe to be backed by git, and that’ll require some crazy stuff on the server.

Database: Our database is on Compose.io (formerly MongoHQ) for the same reasons. ReadMe uses Mongo, Redis and ElasticSearch, and after a few weeks of trying to get them to all work and work together and scale, I gave up. Thirty seconds into using Compose, and things were working like a charm. With one click, you can set up any of the databases. They have connectors between Mongo and Elasticsearch, which keeps the data synced. It has saved me weeks of work, and I’m much more comfortable having them host the data than trying to manage it myself. They know what they’re doing, whereas it was far outside of my skill set.

Some other quickies: We use CloudFlare to cache our main website. Our emails are sent using Mailgun. All our code is lovingly hosted on GitHub. All communication is done via Slack. We use Heap for our dashboard analytics. Since it’s Angular, Heap’s way of tracking all clicks has been so much more useful than Google Analytics.

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