Moving Pastcards to Heroku

Soon, I’ll be moving Pastcards from Google Cloud to Heroku. There’s more detail about how and why further down this post, but first, the most important question.

What does this mean for me, the Pastcards subscriber?

Nothing much! Or at least, nothing much from a functional point of view. I’ve been working behind the scenes over the last few months to retool the Pastcards code to run on Heroku and testing this new version. It all looks good, and I’ll be moving user data from Google to JawsDB (Amazon) sometime after Sunday, April 30th. Hopefully, you won’t even notice.

How does this change the Pastcards privacy policy?

Firstly, it means that instead of running on Google’s servers in Belgium, Pastcards code will now run on Amazon’s servers in Ireland.

Secondly, it means that Pastcards data will now also be stored in Amazon’s Ireland datacentres.

Personal data is still encrypted before leaving the Pastcards web application, which means that in the reasonably unlikely case that JawsDB is compromised, your data should be safe. And remember that Pastcards itself doesn’t store your credit card data or email address.

What should I do if I’m not OK with this?

That’s fine! You can end your Pastcards subscription by going to pastcards.io, logging in with your Instagram account and click the orange ‘Stop sending Pastcards’ button.

Why are you doing this?

Some technical detail: for the first year-plus of its life, Pastcards was implemented as a collection of microservices, running on Google Container Engine. This was a decision made while I was a freelance developer, with plenty of time to spend (and a professional duty to be) mucking about with exciting bleeding-edge platforms. And lo, it was exciting, and fun to tinker with, and skilled me up in a bunch of interesting things. However, it’s also turned out to have unpredictable and byzantine running costs, and has been fiddly to implement new features.

Now I have a full-time job and a new family, my priorities have changed. I’m no longer running a company to pay for the hosting, and the amount of time I have to spend on herding computers is somewhat reduced. So it makes sense to move to a simpler, less engrossing platform that does more of the work for me. Hence Heroku.

I’m still going to carry on developing and running Pastcards though! It remains a lovely thing, and worth spending the time to keep it going — it’s not going on an incredible journey. Next features on the list are prepaid vouchers and some controls over the kinds of photos you get every month.

Any questions, feel free to get in touch.