There’s always that critical moment for creative types, getting an idea to move from inside your head to the outside world, capturing it while it’s still fresh. It’s the same for app developers, taking a brilliant idea from vaporware to seismic game changer, from potentiality to actuality. If you can get to the market fast enough.
So what language do you choose to build your software in? For many startups, that answer has always been –and continues to be– Ruby on Rails. Ruby is the flexible programming language built to keep programmers happy and Rails is the framework that helps Ruby come alive in application development. As the old adage goes, Ruby on Rails gets you 90% of the way in 10% of the time. Just ask the teams behind Github, Dribbble, and Shopify. Here’s just a few examples as to why Ruby on Rails continues to be the choice of software developers and startups the world over.
Great for APIs
Modern applications are heavily reliant on APIs. Whether it’s something like OAuth to build a sturdy and safe authentication system or bringing in data from other applications, chances are you will need to interact regularly with APIs from other applications. Additionally, you’ll likely want to export your own API and Rails is already set up to assist with that.
When it comes to API consumption and service, some people find other frameworks work well with Ruby. But a more robust application calls for a more robust solution, which is where Rails comes in. Providing a solution with a middleware layer that provides added security, proper parsing of ingested APIs, and a testing mode that brings you a full application experience in the API layer, Ruby on Rails makes for a dynamic combination.
For more information, check out the RoR docs on APIs.
Built for Testing
Testing has been a key component of the Ruby and Rails ecosystem. As the Rails platform has evolved, testing became more and more an ingrained and vital portion of what we do as developers. Since the advent of Rails 6, testing has taken an even more vital function. Things like Parallel Tests work alongside ActiveSupport:TestCase, and Action Cable Testing, meaning we are able to test further and deeper into our applications, ensuring things are solid and stable when we release it out into the world.
Solid and Mature
When Ruby on Rails came to see more interest about 10 or 15 years ago, the knock on it was that it wasn’t stable. You still occasionally hear the refrain, “Rails Doesn’t Scale”. It really wasn’t true then, but it’s really not true at all now.
But most languages don’t scale when written poorly. Java doesn’t scale, neither does PHP, and Node.js doesn’t scale either. These languages are reflections on shoddy programming. This goes hand in hand with other ideas – like a secure application only works if you pay attention to security. Scaling is dependent on what you are trying to do. Ruby on Rails is built for teams so that they can then build complex microservices or monolithic applications, whatever you are looking to do. And it works quickly, with scaffolding and tools built into the system.
It’s Open Source
One of the key components that make Ruby and Rails so great and easy to use is the fact that it’s Open Source. And a benefit of building a startup in an Open Source language is the community. Closed Source language makes you dependent on the company or organization making those decisions. And those decisions are likely not what’s best for you,
With Ruby and Rails, you are part of the community and part of that larger ecosystem. When you need to make changes or need support, there are multitudes of strangers –from the newest rubyist to the core team– out there ready to help directly or build more things into the ecosystem.
It Still Makes Us Happy
Conceived in 1993 by Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto, the idea behind Ruby was to create a language that took the best of other languages, but left behind the things that made developers not enjoy writing code.
Maybe it’s cheesy to say it outloud, but Ruby still makes us happy. When we build applications for startups or work with legacy applications, we know we will enjoy building these things because Ruby and Rails are tools built for stable, mature, enjoyable applications.
Like any great relationship, as the years have passed, Ruby on Rails have grown stronger. Together, they continue to impress developers and entrepreneurs, from Silicon Valley to Ruby’s home in Tokyo to everywhere in-between.