Just before going into it, a while ago, there was a partnership announced between Facebook and Heroku. As an application developer, if you wanted a place (for free) to deploy your social application, you could use Heroku -- and you would have a lot of automation behind setting up your canvas/tab configuration. This was back in the day when they had Page Tabs!
Traditionally, developers would use web hosting companies like 1and1 where you needed to pay a small amount per month and you would have a web site; however, the question was, "will it scale?". Being on a platform like Heroku, Windows Azure, PHPFog gives you the options you need to scale accordingly based on your social application's virality. We all know how it feels when you launch and your site goes down with the increase traffic.
Below is a snippet of my shell that I used to get up and running within a matter of seconds. This workflow assumes you already have the Heroku Toolbelt or Gem installed (gem install heroku).
Let's walk through what I did!
- Created a heroku application and named it "hello-php-jbueza"
- Initialized the current folder as a git repository (git init)
- Create a file "index.php" with phpinfo();
- Added the file and committed changes to my local repository
- Pushed to heroku remote (master)
Hope that helps! I understand there are other great platforms to deploy to like PHPFog and Windows Azure, but if you're using Heroku at your next hackathon (and you want to use PHP), this should get you up and running quickly.