Are you on the fence whether to use Ruby on Rails to build a web application? Find out its pros and cons to help you make the right choice.
Choosing the right tools is paramount when building a website or web application. It gives you a solid foundation to grow, improve, and expand your efforts when building your products. However, one wrong move and the time and money spent will all go to waste.
Seasoned developers recommend using time-saving web frameworks like Ruby on Rails to help build web applications quickly. To get a drift of what Ruby on Rails is about, this article unravels all the things you need to know.
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What is Ruby on Rails?
Ruby on Rails (RoR) is a server-side, open-source web application framework. Built using the Ruby programming language, it’s a collection of code libraries that offers an efficient way to write code.
Just like other web frameworks, Ruby on Rails uses a model-view-controller (MVC) pattern. MVC is a software design pattern used for designing structures on web pages and databases.
Ruby on Rails first emerged in 2005 when David Heinemeier Hansson worked on Basecamp, a project management software. While working on this project, he introduced improvements in the Ruby programming language and developed a framework known today as Ruby on Rails. It reached a significant milestone when Apple released Mac OS X v10.5 “Leopard” with Ruby on Rails.
Over the years, Ruby on Rails brings a significant influence on other web frameworks. Laravel, CakePHP, and Django are just a few of the popular frameworks in other languages that borrowed some ideas from Ruby on Rails.
Among the frameworks, it is a popular choice, and for good reasons. RoR provides a pre-made solution to help developers save time on tedious and repetitive tasks. These tasks can range from creating website menus, adding forms, and tables.
Essentially, you don’t have to write each line of code all over again. This means that developers can look into a framework and search for the code to build their web app or websites. This stems from two key principles emphasized in Ruby on Rails:
- Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY) – a software development principle that aims to eliminate repetitions of information through abstraction. Automation removes the duplication in processes.
- Convention over Configuration (CoC) – a software design concept that relies on the development of a program by using a fundamental language’s functions, procedures, variables, and classes. It aims to reduce the number of decisions that a developer makes and eliminate the complexities that entail when configuring each area of web application development
Pros and Cons of Ruby on Rails
Choosing a technology suitable for developing web applications is similar to choosing a car. Some cars are simple and easy to use, like a Toyota Corolla. If you want a vehicle that offers more features and functionalities, there’s Jaguar Land Rover for you.
Just like shopping for a car, there’s no one way of choosing development technologies. There’s plenty to choose from, depending on your preferences and goals for building a product.
To guide you on making the best decision, consider factors such as speed, performance, scalability, ease of installation, and learning curve. So, is Ruby on Rails the right web framework for you? Here is a breakdown of its pros and cons.
Ease of use
Ruby on rails features an intuitive and user-friendly syntax which most programmers find easy to understand. Developers using RoR write less code, so this makes the web development process faster.
Since development projects adopt the same rules and principles, it provides more flexibility for developers to work from one Rails project to another at different stages of development.
Improved development speed
The RoR framework maintains several open-source libraries known as gems. It enhances or extends the existing functionalities of web applications that solve common problems. It doesn’t matter what features you want to implement, there’s surely a gem for that.
Additionally, Ruby on Rails equips developers with Active Support. It is a collection of library extensions, utility classes, and other transversal items. The latter aims to develop both Rails application as well as the Ruby on Rails itself.
The increased development speed is one of the reasons why startup founders choose Ruby on Rails. It helps them to shorten the development process for an MVP and create an exceptional product at a minimal cost.
Solid Industry Standards
As an opinionated framework, Ruby on Rails promotes quality standards and best practices on web development.
Again, at the heart of RoR is the DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) and CoC (Convention over Configuration) software engineering strategies. Both ensures a better, cleaner, and manageable way to build applications.
Additionally, Rails is built using MVC principles so it enhances the extensibility of your web applications. This makes sure that even when your application is complex, you can easily extend its usability with new features.
Strong community support
One thing great about Ruby on Rails is that it has an active community of developers that supports it. RoR developers actively improve the code base and implement new functionalities to their projects.
Almost all of the functionalities you can think of, the Ruby community might have already built that. An active community that uses Rails means that this framework is frequently updated, problems are resolved and security is always on top of their priorities.
As a result, you don’t have to do everything from scratch; other members are one step ahead of you.
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Compatible with other Front-end frameworks
Frontend frameworks such as Vue, Angular.js, and React integrates seamlessly with Ruby on Rails. So, it’s easier and faster for you to develop front-end elements with any frameworks you like.
When it comes to developing an application with special functionalities, customizing using Ruby on Rails has its challenges. Migrating databases, configuring routing, and others may lengthen the process of product development. The app development time is something you need to consider.
Slow Runtime Performance and Speed
One of the gripes against RoR is its slow runtime speed and performance. It’s slower compared to other frameworks such as Django and Node.js.
For performance issues on Ruby on Rails applications, it is more likely attributed to database and server environment, and the problem-solving skills of your development team, rather than the Rails itself. However, runtime performance should still be your utmost priority when picking technologies for your products.
Wrong Decision can cost you more
At the initial stages of development, Ruby on Rails might cost you more compared to other frameworks when wrong decisions are made.
Inexperienced Rails developers can make mistakes that will negatively impact the performance and functionality of your applications. In the long run, it will be difficult to fix since Ruby on Rails is an open-source framework with components that rely on each other.
A Powerful Framework for Your Software Development
Indeed, Ruby on Rails is an awesome web framework to use from simple to complex software projects. It has all the best elements that can do the job just as or even better than other frameworks.
An industry-standard code base, fast development speed, simplicity of use, and strong community support are what make it a great choice. Basecamp, Shopify, and Bloomberg are just a few of the successful projects that use RoR for developing their web applications.
If you’re building a system based on Ruby, we can help you. At Full Scale, we have a team of Ruby on Rails developers for these types of projects. We can screen, hire, and get your team members on board in no time!
Get your FREE consultation today so we can start scaling your project requirements.