What is Ruby on Rails?
By Astrid Hall on January 10, 2019
Ruby is one of the more youthful programming languages. It is a dynamic, open source programming language with a focus on simplicity and, as such, productivity. It is natural to read an easy to write because of its elegant syntax.
It was designed in such a way to think and perform as quickly as you would want your business to grow. As a result, the language has proven to be popular, driven by the rising and rapid demands for new technologies and innovations coming to life.
Just before the turn of the new year, Ruby 2.6.0 was released, so it’s a truly exciting time for the language. The first public release of Ruby 0.95 was announced back in 1995,and it has risen in popularity since.
Rails is a development tool giving web developers a framework, which provides structure for the code they write. It assists in building websites and applications because it extracts and simplified common, repetitive tasks.
Rails is actually written in Ruby; Ruby is to Rails what PHP is to Symfony and Zend. The real attraction of Ruby resides in the elegance and efficiency of the language.
So together, we have Ruby on a Rails; a web framework written in Ruby within the Rails framework. Abbreviated to RoR, it allows developers to build databases, web applications, services and pages.
Popular presentation sharing platform, Slideshare, which was integrated with LinkedIn was built using Ruby on Rails. In addition, collaborative social coding hub, Github, was produced with RoR, the digital version of the hefty yellow telephone directory, Yellow Pages, and popular social networking site, Twitter, was built using Ruby on Rails in its infancy.
But why all the fuss?
Ruby on Rails has a number of key benefits, and it is proving a very popular framework for starts ups due to its ability to build applications 30 to 40 per cent faster than other languages or frameworks.
Other benefits include a level of consistency, where standardised file storage and programming conventions keep a project structure and readable, therefore saving additional time and resource.
Just because it is time efficient, doesn’t mean it compromises on quality. Ruby on Rails promotes bug-free development because of the Minitest tool built into the Rails core. This tool is a comprehensive test suite which provide many testing features. RoR also promotes test driven development (TDD) and behaviour driven development (BDD), both of which are highly beneficial.
As a result, it is very cost-effective if you’re seeking to launch an MVP quickly and within a tight budget; where the launch of your MVP is what will be your primary means of scaling in the first place.
Overall, it’s evident why Ruby on Rails is making such a name for itself. But as goes with anything, it can sometimes be a case of “old habits die hard”. Furthermore, Ruby on Rails is still a relatively young framework, so not everything is as tried and tested or even understood as it is with other languages and frameworks.
Do you work with Ruby on Rails? Have you tried it and loved it or yet to be convinced? Tell us what you think by emailing us or check out our current roles if you're looking for your next step in your career.