Web application technology has grown so fast in recent years that one is spoilt for choice when it comes to picking the one that meets your specific needs. Think of it as deciding which car to buy. Do you want to compromise speed over style? Speed over safety? Some models have a lot of gadgets and buttons but are difficult to understand. Whereas others rely on tried and tested features.
When it comes to web development technologies, the same analogy holds true. Sifting through the plethora of choices, one needs to take into consideration important factors which can help in making an informed decision. These include scalability, ease of installation, learning curve, hosting, documentation etc.
One such web application technology that ticks all the boxes is Ruby on Rails. It uses an underlying assumption of what a developer would need to get started. This leads to less lines of code and more functionality than most other programming languages and frameworks can achieve. That is why most developers who have usedRuby on Rails have termed it to be more fun than other web development applications.
Also known as Rails, it is a server-side web application framework which used the Ruby programming language. Rails provides the model-view-controller (MVC) framework which give default structures for web pages, database and a web service.
It first came into notice when David Heinemeir Hansson improved the Ruby programming language while working on another project in the early 2000s. The end result was Ruby on Rails which became the preferred choice of open-source web app building framework for programmers due to its clean and refined output and simplicity. What sets it apart from other competing frameworks is its ease of use and fast speed.
The icing on the cake for the Ruby on Rails came when it was included in the default install for the launch of Apple Inc.’s Mac OS X v10.5 “Leopard” in 2006. After that, many programmers were quick to jump on the wagon and the framework’s popularity went through the roof as its functionality improved as well. One reason for its popularity was how it made web application less daunting for beginners. Some of the applications that were built using theRuby on Rails development services include HEY, Cookpad, Airbnb, Basecamp, Sound Cloud, GitHub, Twitch, Hulu, Square, Shopify, Zendesk and many more.
Basic principles of Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails is known amongst programmers as an ‘opinionated software’. What that means is that it has certain principles which are immutable. These assumptions about what is the ‘preferred’ way to do things is known as ‘The Rails Way’. Once you master this philosophy you will notice a spike in your productivity. However, if you use lessons learned from other programming languages while using Rails, you will keep hitting roadblocks and your overall experience will not be a happy one.
The Rails philosophy is simple and rests on two basic principles:
- Don’t Repeat Yourself: Or (DRY) is an underlying principle of software development that believes in brevity and avoids repetition. It states that “Every piece of knowledge must have a single, unambiguous, authoritative representation within a system”. In simpler terms, by not writing the same code over and over again, we make it sleeker and less prone to bugs and crashes.
- Convention Over Configuration: As mentioned earlier, Ruby on Rails is opinionated and it has strong views on what is the right way to go about things. This is its default setting and the sooner you accept this principle the easier and joyful will be your experience.
Benefits of the Ruby on Rails Framework
Some of the benefits of Ruby on Rails are:
- SECURITY: Due to the rise of cybersecurity breaches in recent years that have targeted Saas, e-commerce platforms and financial institutions, more and more companies have resorted to Ruby on Rails. This is due to its built-in mechanism that prevents against common threats and security vulnerabilities such as insecure direct object reference or forceful browsing, cross-site scripting and SQL injection.
- SIMPLICITY: Ruby on Rails uses intuitive and easily understood syntax that is compact and handy for programmers and web application developers. There is no need to add comments and make it clunky.
- FASTER DEVELOPMENT: The framework has an edge over its competitors due to its significantly higher number of free open-source libraries known as ‘gems’. With more than 158700 Ruby gems freely available on the web that have been downloaded more than 48 billion times already, they not only help in modifying the existing functionality of web apps but also assist in solving a majority of the common issues and bugs. Not only that, the gems offer library extensions along with utility classes that enhance and strengthen the existing Rails applications. This leads to many web development applications being streamlined on a shoe-string budget.
- HELPFUL COMMUNITY: There are many chat rooms, forums and websites dedicated to the Ruby on Rails community which is vibrant and is always willing to answer queries relating to problems beginners might be facing. In addition to that there is a ‘RailsConf’ in which RoR developers and members of the community gather regularly to speak and share their experience of the framework.
- FRONT-END COMPATIBILITY: Due to its easy integration with front-end frameworks, Ruby on Rails is fast becoming the preferred framework for many front-end components. These include Vue, React and Angular among others.
Ruby on Rails has won over web developers with its fast application delivery, efficiency and scalability. Whether it is an e-commerce platform or Saas solution or a financial institution, Ruby on Rails provides security with regards to web product precautions through the use of its numerous gems that enable authentication protocols, encryption libraries, strong parameters usage and skipping forgery requests. That is why Ruby on Rails is the desired framework of choice of most developers.