Alternative to Heroku Review Apps

If you are familiar with the hosting service Heroku, you may have heard of their Review Apps feature. It lets you create disoposable Heroku apps for pull requets. This works in a similar way as Valist but has some differences.

Supported application types

Both Valist and Heroku can host backend services in their deployment previews. With a review app, you can only run one backend service. If you have a more complex backend with for example multiple different backend services and databases, then Valist can work better for you as each deployment preview can host all your services for each build, seamlessly connected with automatic hostname resolution.

In addition to backends, Valist can be easier to set up for static websites like single page applications using frameworks like React, Vue and Angular as they don't need a backend to run.

Integrations

One of the most prominent features of Valist which Heroku Review Apps is missing is its integrations to other common services like Jira and Slack. Easily share new versions of your app for every pull-request to team members and stakeholders by having Valist automatically adding a comment on a linked Jira ticket or posting in Slack.

These integrations can be set up very easily from withing the Valist app with only a few clicks. If you want similar functionality with Heroku, you will need to implement the integration to the services you need yourself with "postdeploy" scripts.

Hosting applications

As Valist is primarily focused on creating services to help teams be better at testing applications with on-demand staging environments, you would need a separate solution for hosting your application. If you are already using Heroku for your application, then it might be worth giving Review Apps a try. However, if the other features of Valist such as its integrations to team collaboration tools and its support for running more complex backend applications are appealing, then Valist can still be a good complement to Heroku.

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