Among these, the Ruby language stands as a dynamic language for creating web pages, and the Ruby on Rails framework stems from the Ruby programming language built for this purpose. Ruby on Rails web development history begins with David Heinemeier Hansson when he was working on a project management tool called Basecamp. He improved the Ruby code and created a framework known today as Ruby on Rails (RoR).
Benefits of Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails is a back-end web development framework set on making the time of RoR developers easier by improving development time and functionality. It does this by following its two principle guidelines:
- Don’t Repeat Yourself: "Do not Repeat Yourself (DRY) principle in a programming language is a developer advantage. You will see the repetition of code in other programming languages, which makes debugging complicated and cumbersome. The DRY principle is against duplication or repetition of code. It helps developers create simple, manageable, and higher quality applications, which are easy to upgrade."
- Convention over Configuration: "Ruby on Rails framework doesn’t require the developer to declare small things such as variable types. Instead, the framework supports strong naming conventions. The first letter of the variable determines its intended use. Since Rails is written in Ruby, the framework follows the same naming conventions, which helps decrease the code."
These principles are essential for RoR developers because Ruby on Rails environments rely on this mythology to create web applications. This also serves as one of the advantages of ruby on rails. Because syntax has to follow these principles, your codebase will be much cleaner, making for better readability and less code for programmers to write.
With the addition of Rails 6, all of the benefits are turned up to 100. There are many new features to play around with like parallel testing, action cable testing, bulk upsert and insert, switching between multiple databases, action text, better security, and more. You can check out this article on all the new features and improvements that come with Rails 6: Rails 6 Features: What's New and Why It Matters
5 Reasons Why Web Developers Love Ruby on Rails
I think that what most Ruby on Rails developers fall in love with is the development process associated with Ruby on Rails. Since the two main principles are inscribed in the language, it permeates everything. Here are some of the things we love about Ruby on Rails.
1. Rapid Application Development (RAD)
One of the biggest advantages of RoR is its speed; rapid application development (RAD) is one of the fundamental supports of ROR and allows you to create working apps faster. The Model View Controller (MVC) pattern in RoR is efficient and reduces the need to repeat work. Ruby on Rails takes full advantage of this by focusing on rapid prototyping and iterations for new features. This will lower the bugs introduced, enhance adaptability and flexibility, and make the rails application code more intuitive.
2. Open Source Libraries
3. Model View Controller (MVC)
Any long time fan of Ruby on Rails will swear upon the MVC architecture. Due to the MVC, it has become extremely time-efficient for RoR developers to create and maintain web applications.
A model view controller has three layers: the Model layer that works with data-related logic such as updating and transferring data. You can think of this as the back-end which works with business logic. Then, there is the View which is just the front-end. These can be things like HTML files, PDF, XML, RSS, basically anything that the user visually interacts with. And finally we have the Controller, which just helps the View and Model to communicate with each other. You can think of it as a mediator. This approach to programming is great because of its simplicity and ease of use, and can also be seen in other programming languages which shows the vast expanse of this architecture.
4. Great Testing Environment
There are three environments by default in a Rails application: production, development, and test. These environments are defined in a yml file. It’s important to have separate tests and respective data that won’t affect data in the actual development or production database. A test database allows users to set up, manipulate, and interact with test data in a dedicated and isolated fashion. This makes rails development a lot easier and more intuitive.
5. Code Modification and Migration
A key advantage of Ruby on Rails is that it is easy to modify and migrate code. Migration allows you to define changes in your database schema, making it possible to use a version control system to keep things synchronized. This makes it great for scalability opportunities and cost effective because you don't have to change your source code if you want to migrate to another platform.
What Types of Projects Ruby on Rails is Best For
Although Ruby on Rails is a general-purpose language, meaning it can do just about anything, it doesn't mean that it's good at everything. There are certain areas that it excels at.
- E-commerce application development
- Social-media-like applications
- SaaS projects
- Live-streaming apps
- News, trading and data analytics platforms
These are some projects that you can easily research and start even if you are still a beginner. If you are a beginner, you might want to start with something like the second point. The rails web application framework has many guides on their site about creating better and more efficient code.
Popular Ruby on Rails Sites
There are tons of sites that use Ruby on Rails as a server-side language for their back-end. If you need inspiration from other companies who use the RoR framework, our top picks are in no particular order:
- Github - This is one of the most popular web applications that any web developer will recognize. Github is a web-based hosting service where ROR developers can put all their rails projects on display. The site is like a social media but for software development, plus there is version control.
- Airbnb - Airbnb is a site made for travel gurus, people who enjoy going to different places. The idea is to connect travelers with hosts that have the perfect place to take a vacation. With over 200million users, there is a place for everyone.
- Shopify - Shopify is an ecommerce platform for those who are not web developers and want to get into the ecommerce scene. It is easy to create an online store with Shopify and perfect for any business owners searching to move onto the net, or freelancers who want to expand their client base.
- Hulu - If you are an avid binge-watcher, then there is no need to introduce this web app. But if you are not familiar with the paradox, then this is a media consumption application, it streams shows and movies anywhere. With a substantial user-base connecting daily, it does it smoothly by using Ruby on Rails.
- Basecamp - Basecamp is a project management tool used for teams who want to increase productivity. It’s perfect for just about anyone: individuals, teams, and managers. You have message boards, to-do's, schedules, pins, automatic check-ins, and more.
There are many web application frameworks out there with many benefits. Ruby on Rails is one of the many who promise performance, flexibility, and the ability to reduce your development time and code. But unlike the others, it delivers on that promise. Ruby on Rails is an excellent programming language capable of bringing your web application to the forefront. With a fantastic Model View Controller and guiding principles, this server-side programming language is a great choice for any developer.
Engine Yard is one hosting provider that solely focuses on providing hosting services for Ruby on Rails projects. Deploying your Ruby apps with Engine Yard is reliable and easy. Their simple deployment process automates your application environment on top of AWS and saves you from having to keep an in-house cloud and database specialist. Your application will run up to 50% faster with their infrastructure. Engine Yard's autoscaling capabilities ensure that there is no performance degradation when unplanned traffic hits and requires no manual setup or intervention. What's more, their platform uses monitoring data to optimize your application’s performance continuously.
Engine Yard Ruby Stack:
- Load Balancer – HAPROXY, AWS ELB/ALB
- Language – Ruby
- Frameworks – Rails, Sinatra, Grape
- Web Server – Nginx, Rack
- App Server – Unicorn, Passenger, Puma
- Database – MySQL, PostgreSQL, AWS RDS
- Caches – Redis, Memcached
- Utilities – Sidekiq, Resque, Delayed Job
With easy NoOps Ruby on Rails application deployment, various supported databases, 24x7 support, and continuous platform updates, there is nothing you have to worry about when deploying your Ruby on Rails application with Engine Yard.