Over fifteen years have passed since the Ruby on Rails technology had been introduced. A smart reader will understand from its name that Ruby programming language has played an essential role in the creation of this server-side web app framework.
Today, there is a great variety of software development tools. Nevertheless, this framework, which is often called RoR or Rails, has achieved a significant popularity leap. Many engineers deem it a convenient and elegant solution for their undertakings.
Clients do not lag behind either. They might not know oats in Ruby on Rails advantages. Nevertheless, the reputation of the framework precedes all attributed pitfalls. We are not going to embark on a discussion of pros and cons. Yet, a basic introduction to RoR is needed.
What you should know about RoR
If you want a short but credible description of the technology, a few complimentary words like flexible and agile could be used. However, they are unable to convey all Ruby’s benefits hidden under the hood. And that’s not just the author’s opinion. Many famous brands and startups have chosen the framework for their needs. You can read about applications built with Ruby on Rails in more detail here. And now a short insight into the technology.
- The difference between Ruby and Ruby on Rails lies in the purpose. Ruby refers to a general-purpose programming language like C++ or PHP. It is used to create versatile software programs. However, building a fully functional web application with Ruby is a rather intricate task. For this reason, Rails, a web framework built on this language, should be the option.
- MVC is an essential term associated with the technology. It refers to the Model-View-Controller principle, which separates the app work into three subsystems. Each subsystem is responsible for a particular set of actions:
- Model – relationships between objects and the database, as well as validation, association, transactions, business logic etc. In a typical Rails project these days, the model layer is split into models (persistence, database, associations, validations) and services (encapsulates business rules and orchestrates usage of models).
- View – data introduction in a particular format, interaction handling and data collection from users.
- Controller – handing over data from views. Take a walk to Github to see an MVC Ruby on Rails example.
- The framework’s philosophy is exposed via the convention over configuration paradigm. You do not have to spend hours on configuration from the outset. However, any adjusments might take some time since conventions are what the Rails’ magic is based on.
- You are able to accelerate the web app building process by about ten times and significantly reduce the number of code lines compared to using a regular Java framework.
- Both the language and RoR are open source.
- Three default environments including production, development, and testing are available at Rails. It means that the entire software development cycle is optimized.
Under the Hood of RoR
If we clear up misconceptions about Rails technology, a clear understanding of its numerous benefits for web development will arise. As a result, such question as “what is Ruby on Rails programming language used for” become irrelevant. Developers opt for RoR because it is a robust solution. At the same time, its popularity among developers is also critical. So, let’s have a look at Ruby on Rails’ advantages and disadvantages.
Time and cost efficiency
Time constraints and a limited budget are a regular characteristic of any startup. That is the very reason why RoR is a good fit. The availability of numerous ready-made plugins and modules to build a web app faster is a huge bonus. Pick any other development tool and compare it to the Ruby on Rails programming language. In most cases, the development cycle of any chosen technology will be longer by one-third or even more.
The aforementioned Ruby on Rails MVC pattern is another timesaving factor. It is possible to speed up the engineer teamwork by three times due to parallel development. The app business logic should be separated as much as possible and RoR gives ready-to-use baskets to implement it. As a result, you get a scaffold for further work and unfavorable outcomes, like not very readable and redundant code, are excluded.
Consistency is also one of the benefits of Ruby on Rails, which reduces time consumption. The project remains readable and structured within the entire development cycle. With that in mind, the future code update will be fast and seamless.
Any business person knows that time is money. Yet, the relation between these two notions is direct. It means that time savings lead to financial savings. RoR allows you to follow a time-efficient model of work. And that’s not the only way the framework can save your budget.
RoR is open source, which means zero costs for the framework itself. And that’s not all. RubyGems is a part of Ruby that contributes to the language functionality. The tool is designed to manage the special libraries also known as gems. A vibrant community allows you to hunt down tons of gems on GitHub for free. With that in mind, you can cut your time and money consumption.
Since we brought up a topic of the RoR developers community, let’s look at it in more detail. The framework boasts one of the most dynamic and collaborative communities of any web development tool. Its members are known as Rubyists. You cannot work on Rails while not being a Rubyist, but being a Rubyist doesn’t automatically mean you’re working on the internals of Rails. Probably, the bulk of information dedicated to Ruby on Rails software development is available due to their efforts. It is difficult to explain such devotion since there are many other open source frameworks, but they are behind.
Rubyists are helpful and approachable people ready to assist you with any RoR-related problem, as well as suggest useful documentation, plugins, modules, etc. You won’t be left to on your own with your issues.
Currently, no web app builder can fail to mention this word. Scalability denotes the app’s capability to cope with the raised load. That is to say, your digital product should be capable of handling tons of requests per minute sent by multiple visitors.
Does 4 million requests per million sound impressive? That is Shopify’s feather in the cap. This e-commerce platform opted for Ruby on Rails scalability and came out on top. Of course, the framework itself cannot ensure great scalability. The architecture and deployment strategy, is also essential. Still, the RoR scaling potential is beyond praise.
The framework has some built-in security features. Moreover, the RoR community always maintains safety. The most used gems are well maintained, and patched whenever a security vulnerability is discovered.
A coin always has two sides. It would be unfair if we only mentioned the advantages of Ruby on Rails. Despite numerous positive aspects, the framework does have some drawbacks.
- You may face a hosting problem since not every hosting provider supports RoR. However hosting giants like Linode, AWS, and Heroku have no problem with apps built with Ruby on Rails.
- Despite the vast community and tons of information available online, the lack of documentation (especially regarding particular gems and plug-ins) can be a real frustration.
Do you need RoR or not?
Perhaps, the above-described points are not enough for you to make a choice. Choosing between Rails and its competitors can become a real challenge. With that in mind, the following chart will help you avoid hesitations and draw a line.
|RoR is a fit||RoR is not a fit|
Why opt for Ruby on Rails
In this post, we have no intention to force you to choose RoR for your needs. This idea should come to your mind by itself after your introduction to this wonderful technology. Any project manager or business owner will be impressed with the feasibility and performance derived from using Rails. Fast development, less effort, tons of information, not to mention the open source nature of the framework that entails plenty of ideas, solutions, conclusions, tools, and options throughout the Internet. The teach-and-learn capabilities are also enormous and here is the best place to learn Ruby on Rails.
RoR means not only a stable programming environment. It contributes to a constant evolution of other technologies. Many companies that use Ruby on Rails admit its influence on other popular platforms like Java, PHP, Node.js, etc. A desire for perfection triggers competitors to improve themselves and optimize tools for app deployment, dependency management systems, template engines, package managers, preprocessors and others.
Moreover, the experience of such famous names as GitHub, Shopify, Airbnb, Dribbble and much more should be the incontrovertible evidence of RoR’s applicability.
The Railsware team decided on the framework long ago. Besides, as you can see, the technology has contributed to not only the basic principles of our company but even its name. And the selection was not made because RoR is popular, but because it implements ideas in a fast and cost-effective way but its that pleases both client and developer.