Chapter 1: Introduction

Introduction

When I built my first web application as a teenager, getting that application on the web was easy enough. It was just a matter of creating a database via cPanel and then uploading some PHP files via FTP. That approach wouldn’t snag me any hacker cred, but it at least wouldn’t send me bald.

These days though, the deployment process generally requires a bit of extra work, and there’s two main reasons for this:

  1. Different languages and frameworks depend on different software that need to be installed and configured on web servers before use.
  2. To allow for helpful innovations, like services that run tests on your code during the deployment process (but before the code goes live).

Basically, there’s more going on behind the scenes, and that’s ultimately a good thing, but it does require some extra work by the developer.

There’s no reason to fear though.

Deployment can be a scary topic for beginners but, when working with Meteor, it doesn’t have to be. There’s plenty of helpful tools and resources, which we’ll talk about soon, and there’s also this book.

What’s so special about this book?

Aside from being written with the same breezy style as my first, highly-rated book about Meteor, the coming pages will deliver on a simple promise:

To quickly and painlessly get you up to speed with exactly what you need to know about deploying Meteor applications to the web.

This isn’t a comprehensive guide, meaning server management whiz-kids won’t get much out of it, but beginning web developers will learn:

  • The absolute easiest ways to deploy a Meteor application.
  • How to use a range of services to improve the deployment process.
  • Where to find answers when you’re faced with specific problems.

There’s always more to learn, and this book will evolve alongside best practices, but in just a couple of hours you’ll have a strong grasp of the fundamentals and the confidence to forge ahead with independence.

Let’s begin.

Prerequisites

Throughout this book, I’ll assume two things:

  • You have a basic undersanding of Meteor.
  • You have a basic understanding of the command line.

Both of these skills can be acquired by reading my first book — Your First Meteor Application — but this book is not a sequel, so I won’t assume anything specific. As long as you’re familiar with terminology like “project” and commands like the cd command, you’re good to go.

You’ll need a Meteor project to follow along with the book, so either prepare a project or download the “Todos” example application with this command:

meteor create --example todos

If you use you’re own project, make sure it relies upon a database, as one is required to understand the full scope of the deployment process.

A text editor will be required for editing configuration files, but the precise text editor doesn’t matter. (I’m still quite fond of Sublime Text.)

How To Read This Book

You don’t need to read this book from beginning to end. That’s the best way to get a bird’s eye view of the deployment process, but:

  1. Earlier chapters explain simple (but less flexible) deployment methods, and these methods will be more than adequate for most beginners.
  2. Chapters can be understood as independent tutorials.

This book, then, works well as a reference. Jump in with both feet, learn what you need to learn, and then make use of it.

That said, I have arranged the chapters with regards to their difficulty, so reading them in the order they’re presented would make sense.

The best way to learn is by doing, so when reading a chapter, actually follow along with the examples. At times, a credit card will be required to register for certain services, but no expenses will be incurred.