Last year I started playing with Heroku, and I’ve been very impressed so far. Heroku is a free (for basic service) Ruby on Rails hosting environment running in the cloud (Amazon EC2 in this case). Heroku is super simple to set up and use because you deploy with Git! The Git backing encourages version control and allows you to push bug fixes to your central repository as well as the productive server.
I’ve played with other free hosting sites and services, blogs and social media, and cloud platforms like EC2 and Google App Engine… the Heroku workflow beats all of them. I can’t think of an easier way to develop, test, and deploy! It seems that no one else can either: there are a lot of projects and posts about how to emulate this style in your own environment; there are also alternatives for node.js (like Joyent’s no.de service), PHP (like PHP Fog), and word is that Heroku is working to allow all platforms. I look forward to a future where software development, setup, test, and deployment are easy and integrated in the process!