In the last decade, Ruby on Rails has become increasingly popular for building web applications. Developers refer to Rails as a language that was designed explicitly for their happiness and for good reason.

What is Ruby on Rails?

Ruby on Rails is a powerful web application development tool and a framework written in Ruby programming language that gives a very clear structure of the code. It was open-sourced in 2004 by David Heinemeier Hannson after being extracted from the project management application, Basecamp. RoR is a full web application stack that includes facilities and libraries to manage frontend code, supporting Sass and CoffeeScript out of the box, with no need for external tool to manage the compile process. It embeds its own server, therefore you don’t even need to install software apart from a working Ruby installation.

Why Rails?

Ruby might not be the easiest language, but it combines some of the best characteristics of dynamic languages as well as incorporates superb solutions from static languages. It improves productivity thanks to its object-oriented paradigm which reduces the amount of code that needs to be written. It was designed to be a “joy of use” with a strong focus on readability.

It follows a resource-oriented approach, which encourages you to think about your business logic from a data standpoint, which helps keep your interfaces consistent and predictable by other developers.

Rails has proven to significantly speed up the development process. It gives a cleaner code base, less redundant code and also allows you to reuse its existing components rather than creating them from scratch. Rails provides multiple plugins known as Ruby Gems, which can be used instead of features that would have to be created.

This, with its additional integrated testing tools and scaffolding features makes Rails quick and efficient.

In today’s business and economy where time is money, naturally higher speeds and efficiency mean reduced costs. As rails is highly automated, it helps developers eliminate significant sections, allowing them to concentrate on solving specific problems rather than taking the time to first understand the framework itself.

Rails follows a Model-View-Controller paradigm, so your data and logic (the model), what it looks like (the view) and how it interacts with the user (the controller) are broken up. This gives the developer a lot of flexibility to modify the layout or the view, without disturbing the rest.

It supports a wide range of databases with SQLite as a default, and MySQL and PostgreSQL as choices for production.

A Rails application can be deployed both on cloud infrastructures, like Heroku, or directly to private serves.

It uses Bundler as a dependency management tool, enforcing the power of Ruby gems community, that ensures a consistent approach for adding third party functionality to your application.

The framework of rails and most of its libraries are open source. Rails itself runs on Linux which is open source. Open source softwares are highly beneficial because firstly, there will be no licensing costs. Secondly, there is a large and thriving community behind it, and people would readily help you out of your rough patches.

Readability – Convention over Configuration
Rails is actually as close to English as a programming language gets (with the exception of COBOL). It uses internal DSL, extending Ruby with its own semantics. The Rails team has maintained a good balance with DSL, using it only where it makes sense, else avoiding it. This makes Rails easy to understand and read.

Additionally, it chooses convention over configuration, which means naming, paths and patterns are usually predictable and shared amongst other developers. This makes it a lot easier for other developers to pick up where you left off.

The self-documenting framework enhances this further.

Ruby on Rails is suitable for both state-of-the-art websites and complex applications. For nearly every problem you might encounter Rails has a component with adequate documentation from its contributors leading to a lot of saved time. All in all, Rails is a powerful framework that will encourage developers to be more productive and confident, even when working on complex projects.

Written by: Dipika Asnani, Digital Marketing & Content Writer at Promobi Technologies Pvt. Ltd.