Web and mobile developer, soon-to-be entrepreneur and startup maker.


April 22, 2011 at 10:32pm

Deploying a Sinatra + DataMapper + SQLite app to Heroku

Recently I followed the excellent Nettuts' session on Singing with Sinatra, and I learned a lot about Rack-only apps.

I pushed the app to Heroku and all I was getting was “Application Error”. I found out that Heroku only uses PostgreSQL as database, so SQLite will not work at all. This is what you should do:

a) Make sure you have a .gems file on the top folder with all the gems you need:


Did you notice the dm-postgres-adapter at the end?. That gem is ABSOLUTE NECESSARY if you coded your app using SQLite and DataMapper and you want to push it to Heroku. I repeat. ABSOLUTE NECESSARY.

b) We also need a configure.ru file at the top folder:

require 'your_sinatra_app_file_name'
run Sinatra::Application

c) On your Sinatra file (the one that has all the code) we need to tell DataMapper which database to use:

# Setting up the database
DataMapper.setup(:default, ENV['DATABASE_URL'] || "sqlite3://#{Dir.pwd}/mydatabase.db")

The part ENV['DATABASE_URL'] is used by Heroku to assign a database to our app. If we are developing locally, we just use mydatabase.db, which is SQLite. Got it?

d) Finally, we push the DB to Heroku:

heroku db:push sqlite://mydatabase.db #assuming you are on your app directory

Our SQLite database will be translated to a PostgreSQL database automatically. No hassle!

Just push it (the app, I mean) and there you go. It will work. You are a hero.

You can follow me on twitter @yamilurbina or Google plus for any questions you may have. It’s ok, I’m a cool lad.


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