I remember using Heroku in its very infancy when it was mostly a web based user interface for authoring Rails apps. I looked at it, thought “why would you want to author code in a browser; that’s dumb af” and promptly moved on. Now, more than a decade later, I find myself using Heroku daily for my latest side project – and absolutely loving it. This blog post lays out some tips and tricks that I’ve learned.

All of this assumes you have a Rails application and it is configured to use Heroku. If you don’t have the heroku executable then you can use brew on OSX to install it:

brew tap heroku/brew && brew install heroku

Getting Help

Just use the –help flag to the heroku command.

heroku --help

Running the Rails Console

To load up a Rails console for your project, change into the product directory and:

heroku run rails console

Accessing Your SQL Database

Just use the host parameter of your sql database’s client software and connect to it directly. Here’s an example from mine (details changed):


Get the details of what to connect to with:

heroku config | grep CLEARDB_DATABASE_URL

Running Migrations

Migrations should run automatically on deployment. Apparently, however, that is not always true and they can be run manually with:

heroku run rake --trace db:migrate

Thank you to the very first user of my new side project for finding this. Hat Tip.

Tailing Your Logs

Heroku only gives you access to the last 1500 lines of your logs:

heroku logs

For access to more logging into then I strongly, strongly, strongly recommend HoneyBadger.

Listing All Time Zones (or Running Any Damn Rake Task)

You can see your time zones or run any rake task with:

heroku rake time:zones:all

To View Your Configuration

View configuration details with:

 heroku config

Importing Your Development Data

See this blog post if you want to import your development data.


This is a good article on Heroku.