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Phoenix Prototype app

A convenience skeleton project for Phoenix.

  • Phoenix
  • Postgrex
  • Slim
  • Wallaby
  • ExMachina
  • Yarn
  • Sass
  • Bootstrap
  • additional acceptance environment
  • CI testing via CircleCI
  • .iex.exs for REPL aliases & imports
  • ready for deployment to Heroku Pipelines in acceptance and prod environments.

Getting started

Now you can finish your setup & verify things are working:

  • mix deps.get
  • mix ecto.setup
  • yarn install
  • brunch build
  • mix test

Running the server

Each environment is responsible for setting the SECRET_KEY_BASE. With the exception of the test environment, this value is derived from a system environment variable.

To set environment variables locally for the dev environment, you can create a .env file & run the server with a tool that reads .env. I recommend heroku local to mirror production more closely, or foreman.

Sample .env file


SECRET_KEY_BASE can be generated with the task mix phoenix.gen.secret.

As a convenience, a weak SECRET_KEY_BASE is hard-coded in the test environment. You can easily change this to read an env var a la the other environments instead.

Give it a spin:

  • mix phoenix.server
  • visit the app in a browser (default is http://localhost:4000, or in some versions of Chrome)

Now you're ready to remove demo content, which is easy to spot from the landing page.


  • phantomjs is required for acceptance testing with Wallaby, i.e. yarn global add phantomjs. Lean more about wallaby


  • If you use asdf, you'll be set up with the correct versions of node and elixir once they're installed. Otherwise, have a look at .tool-versions to see the current versions.


This app is pre-configured for easy deployment to Heroku w/ pipelines using CircleCI. CI is only used to run tests; your pipelines should be configured to auto-deploy branches after passing CI tests.

Convention is to auto-deploy master branch to acceptance, and production branch to prod.

  • Create Heroku apps for acceptance and production
  • Provision Heroku Postgres DB resources
  • Add buildpacks to Heroku apps
    • heroku buildpacks:add ""
    • heroku buildpacks:add
  • Add environment variables to Heroku
    • SECRET_KEY_BASE, which can be generated with the task mix phoenix.gen.secret
    • MIX_ENV should be acceptance and prod respectively
    • POOL_SIZE should be set 2 units below the max db connections allowed by the Heroku instance. This allows mix tasks to be run with 2 connections.
    • DATABASE_URL should have been filled automatically by provisioning heroku postgres.


  • You will see warnings from several dependencies the first time they're compiled. This is because many of them have not yet been upgraded for elixir 1.4; these can be safely ignored.
  • There's a decent chance you'll eventually want a production environment with more control & power. Heroku is currently the simplest way to get up & running for prototyping, and may even suit your app just fine long term.
  • Razor should be used for convenience, not to avoid learning more about Phoenix and Elixir. Please take the time to learn about the opinions provided by Razor & how they are implemented.

Learn more about Phoenix


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