I've been messing with a service called Nitrous. It's an IDE, deployment environment and SSH console that lives in your browser. It's designed to allow quick and easy, persistant dev environments to be set up without needing to manage multiple local environments. Say, for instance, you have a laptop, a workstation and an office workstation and you work from all of these places. Nitrous allows you to do your dev work within their browser IDE/console environment, and publish directly to popular deploy targets such as Azure or Heroku. In my case, I'm publishing via rsync to this box, and that works really well.

It seems (and I could be completely wrong) that Nitrous is spooling up small EC2 compute units with an application stack of your choosing (Ruby/Rails in my case) and you can either use the free tier, or if you need additional resources for a larger application, you can buy "N2O" or perform some tasks (ala dropbox) to have some extra stuff added to your account. The free tier provides 384MB of RAM and 750MB of storage. More than enough for my experimentation. One of the benefits of upgrading, is that they won't "shut down" your "Box" with inactivity, which is just a way of saying they leave it running all the time rather than requiring you to start it after some period of inactivity. The cheapest tier will provide you enough "N2O" to run a 1gig VM with ~5.7GB of persistant storage.

nitrous ui

It also appears that they'll soon be supporting custom domains for your environment.

What I've done is pulled down my blog (tracked via git) and some other projects I've been messing with into Nitrous, and I'm able to do post updates or test stuff directly from the browser. I haven't hit any snags yet, and the whole experience has been pretty great so far. I'm anxious to see how they continue to improve their service, because even in beta, it's impressive.