Ruby on Rails is a highly dynamic framework that keeps evolving despite its maturity and new competitors emerging in the tech space. It has been on the market for over 15 years and still manages to find its place in the world of development. But should you still use this old-timer with all these innovative frameworks popping up? Let’s figure this out.
Ruby on Rails (RoR) is an open-source web application framework with an MIT license. It is based on Ruby, which is an interpreted, high-level, general-purpose, object-oriented programming language used for building servers, processing data, and web scraping. Ruby is very similar to English, which makes it easy to read and understand even for a beginner coder.
RoR is a full-stack framework, meaning it can help build incredible products on both the front and back end. However, it’s more commonly used solely for back-end purposes, as its front-end functionality is rather limited. This server-side web development framework is based on the MVC design pattern, which stands for Model, View, and Controller:
This architecture helps separate the business logic of the data input and the presentation logic. It allows for a modular approach to coding and editing, making sure that each component — model, view, or controller — can be changed without affecting the others. This helps streamline the development of an application and make the process clearer.
In 2005, RoR started growing very popular. One of the things that made this possible was the implementation of convention over configuration and DRY (don’t repeat yourself) principles. It solved a lot of problems for developers.
Convention over configuration helps web developers reduce the number of decisions they make when they tell the framework to implement the required logic. It allows sticking with the default code structure and making alterations only when there are deviations from the conventional rules.
The DRY principle ensures the absence of repetition or ambiguity in the code. According to DRY, every software element and its modification should have a single representation in the code. This is one of the most prominent advantages of RoR, as it makes the code simpler and less buggy.
This code simplicity is the reason why tech startups and big companies use RoR for creating prototypes. Development agencies like Twinslash have created numerous SaaS solutions, informational portals, e-commerce websites, and social networks using Rails. Let’s discuss some of these most common types of projects in detail.
One of RoR’s benefits is the ability to support loads of traffic. It is a perfect fit for social networking apps such as Basecamp and Dribble, which deal with numerous requests and heavy traffic regularly. The modular and scalable nature of Rails allows it to balance traffic streams efficiently and ensure the stable performance of the applications.
E-commerce platforms like Shopify use RoR for its ability to handle the multiple interactions these services have to facilitate. RoR’s modular structure makes building e-commerce platforms easy, and its support of third-party libraries and APIs for checkout and payment options are also great advantages.
SaaS startups choose RoR for several reasons: low costs, time savings, high performance, ease of deployment and migration, and a huge active community.
Tech startups often use Ruby on Rails for building minimum viable products (MVPs) because of the wide availability of libraries and third-party packages that streamline the process of app development.
Almost everyone must have heard of Airbnb and Couchsurfing. These are home-sharing apps that deal with large amounts of daily transactions and data-sharing operations, which require a solid backend. Ruby on Rails provides that strong basis and manages a vast amount of data effectively.
Companies in the fintech industry are striving to simplify various payment procedures while dealing with loads of data and trying to ensure its security. Ruby on Rails is capable of solving all these issues by providing tools for effective data authentication and the needed level of performance and scalability to facilitate large numbers of requests.
Apps With Complex Databases
RoR was created as an alternative to heavy solutions like .NET framework. With its ease of use and ability to deal with large volumes of traffic, Rails is capable of building a complex database that will remain lightweight. A good example is GitHub, an internet hosting service for developers, and Bloomberg, a global financial news and analytics platform.
Since new frameworks like Node.js and Python emerged, the popularity of Ruby on Rails (RoR) decreased compared to the early 2000s and 2010s. But in no way does this make RoR irrelevant in 2022. In fact, it has been continuously evolving over the years and remains one of the best tools for web development.
Here are the main benefits of Ruby on Rails:
Speed is the biggest edge RoR has over other tools. The very core principles the framework is based on — MVC and DRY — make sure the coding process is quick and efficient. Moreover, RoR has tons of built-in gems — various libraries that add new functionalities to the developer’s toolkit and streamline the coding process. These ready-to-use packages reduce development time and allow coders to focus on adding valuable features rather than doing routine work.
Ruby on Rails is clean, minimalistic, and easy to understand. Many experts in the tech space claim that the framework is “just like English” — thus easy to master. This low entry threshold makes the pool of available devs so much wider, simplifying the hiring process for companies looking for RoR specialists.
While a startup might not recognize this benefit right from the start, it will come in handy down the road, when the business starts going well and there’s a need to scale it. With its ability to handle large volumes of data, Ruby on Rails is great at scaling and providing growth opportunities for the business.
From simple info blogs to heavy databases and interactive online shops — Ruby on Rails can do it all. With its impressive library of gems and various tools, RoR can be used to build almost any kind of website or app.
Ruby on Rails is test-driven, which means that automatic tests are performed minimizing chances for an error in code. It uses data encryption and measures to prevent scripting attacks and SQL injections.
People are too quick to write off Ruby on Rails. However, big tech companies like Bloomberg, Dribbble, GitHub, Fiverr, Shopify and Soundcloud are still using RoR. According to a Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2022, Ruby on Rails is in the top 15 most used frameworks among all developers, with a share of 5.83% of coders choosing this particular technology. Among those who’ve used RoR in the past, over 55% love it. This popularity is the most important indicator of relevance for a framework, and that’s why Ruby on Rails is not going anywhere.
The community also plays a crucial role in the operation of an open-source framework. And RoR’s growing support group of dedicated developers ensures that this technology stays relevant.
Proper maintenance and frequent updates help rails stay competitive, keep up with the times, and cater to the changing needs of modern businesses. Rails 7.0.4, released in September 2022, included improvements to the performance, bug fixes, and better compatibility — with a lot of fixes in the popular Active Record tool. And the team is not stopping there: on their website, you can see regular announcements of updates and small bug fixes that improve the overall performance of the framework.
Ruby on Rails is widely used in the tech world in 2022 and will continue to serve various backend needs for years to come. While it may not be as good at general development approaches as, for example, Python, RoR is capable of building complex applications with advanced features much faster. Ruby on Rails developers can build simple but highly functional MVPs, detailed databases, interactive e-commerce platforms, and much more. It is a dynamic and flexible technology that helps reduce development time and cost and ensure the quality and security of code.