Why Use Ruby on Rails: Advantages and Usage Examples

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Why choose ruby on rails

Ruby, a programming language with a rich history, has been subject to various myths and prejudices that no longer reflect its current state or capabilities. Among these is “If Ruby on Rails dead,” a question generally asked by those less familiar with the language and its developments. This article aims to dispel such myths by diving into the evolution and strengths of Ruby, particularly through its most celebrated framework, Ruby on Rails (RoR).

Historically, two major criticisms were levied against Ruby: 

  • its perceived slowness;
  • the difficulty in scaling Ruby projects. 

These issues were more pronounced in the early versions of the Rails framework, which indeed lagged behind its contemporaries like PHP or Python in terms of performance. Contrary to these early challenges, significant improvements have been made in recent versions. 

Today, any performance issues in Ruby applications are more likely attributable to the architecture of the application itself or the developers’ proficiency with the language, rather than inherent flaws in Ruby or Rails. This article will elucidate Ruby on Rails benefits, tell is ruby on rails still relevant, and highlight why it remains a powerful tool for web development.

You may also like our previous article:

What is Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails, often simply Rails, is a server-side web application framework written in Ruby programming language. It is designed to simplify the web development process by making assumptions about what every rails developer needs to get started. Rails emphasize the use of well-known software engineering patterns and principles, such as convention over configuration (CoC), the model-view-controller (MVC) pattern, and the active record pattern.

Ruby on Rails is versatile and can be used for various types of web applications, from simple prototypes to complex, high-traffic platforms. Its adopters include some of the most popular websites and services, underlining the framework’s scalability and performance capabilities when expertly utilized.

Famous Companies That Use Ruby on Rails

  • GitHub;
  • Shopify;
  • Airbnb;
  • Twitch;
  • SoundCloud;
  • Basecamp;
  • Square;
  • Hulu;
  • Zendesk;
  • Twitter.

Rails also offers a vast library of gems (packages), which extend the framework’s functionality and can accelerate the development process by providing ready-to-use solutions for common tasks. This ecosystem supports rapid development, making Ruby on Rails a preferred framework for many startups and established companies.

Inheritance from Ruby

One of the reasons why Ruby on Rails is so popular is because it inherits the elegance, simplicity, and object-oriented nature of the Ruby programming language, forming the foundation of its design and functionality. Rails leverages Ruby’s expressive syntax and powerful language features to create a framework that emphasizes rapid development, convention over configuration, and the DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) principle. 

This inheritance allows Rails to offer a streamlined approach to web application development, enabling developers to write less code while achieving more functionality and maintaining the readability and maintainability of the codebase. Ruby’s influence is evident in Rails’ philosophy and its ability to facilitate the creation of complex, high-quality web applications with minimal effort.

Is Ruby and Ruby on Rails the Same

To put it simply, no, Ruby and Ruby on Rails are not the same, though they are closely related.  Ruby is a programming language, while Ruby on Rails is a web application framework that is written in Ruby. It uses Ruby as its programming language but extends its capabilities with libraries, conventions, and tools specifically aimed at web development.

Difference Between Ruby and Ruby on Rails

FeatureRubyRuby on Rails
TypeProgramming LanguageWeb Application Framework
PurposeGeneral-purpose programming, including web, system utilities, scriptingSpecifically designed for developing database-backed web applications
Development FocusBroad, covering a wide range of programming tasksFocused on web development, offering tools and conventions for efficiency
PrinciplesEmphasizes simplicity, elegance, and productivityConvention over Configuration (CoC), DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself), and MVC (Model-View-Controller) pattern
Community & EcosystemDiverse, encompassing various fields of software developmentPrimarily focused on web development, with a vast library of gems for extending functionality
Learning CurveRelatively straightforward, with a focus on language syntax and object-oriented programming conceptsSteeper, requires understanding of Ruby plus web development practices and architectural patterns
Use CasesVersatile usage across different domains beyond the webTailored for building scalable and maintainable web applications quickly and efficiently

How Does Ruby on Rails Work

In simple terms, Ruby on Rails works like a well-oiled machine, designed to make developer’s life easier and more efficient. It’s built on a smart setup called the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture, which basically splits the work into three interconnected parts.

  • First, there’s the Model, which is all about the data—how to store it, retrieve it, and what rules it should follow. It’s like the brain behind the operation, dealing with the database and making sure everything’s in order.
  • Then, we have the Views. This part is what users see and interact with. It’s the website’s design, the buttons, and the text. My job here is to make sure it not only looks good but also presents the right information from the Model.
  • The Controller is the middleman. It takes requests from the users (through the Views), decides what to do with them, and then talks to the Model to get the necessary data. After that, it hands off the data to the View to be displayed. So, in a way, the Controller is like a conductor, ensuring that everything runs smoothly and efficiently.

Rails also loves keeping things straightforward with its “Convention Over Configuration” motto. This means I don’t have to spend ages setting things up. If I follow the standard Rails conventions, many things work right out of the box.

And let’s not forget about “Don’t Repeat Yourself” (DRY). Rails encourages developers to write the code once and reuse it wherever possible, which saves a ton of time and keeps the code cleaner and more manageable.

In essence, Ruby on Rails takes a lot of the tedious, repetitive work off hands, allowing developers to build web applications more quickly and with fewer bugs. It’s like having a helpful assistant who knows exactly what a Rails developer needs! And that’s why Ruby on Rails is so good. 

What Are Ruby on Rails Advantages

Since we’ve already brushed the surface of the great things about Rails, I want to dive a bit deeper into its advantages. Rails isn’t just another framework; it’s a powerhouse of features and philosophies designed to make web development not just easier, but more enjoyable and efficient. Here’s a rundown of the key advantages that make Ruby on Rails stand out:

Convention Over Configuration

Rails’ philosophy of Convention Over Configuration simplifies decision-making in the Ruby on Rails software development process, reducing the time and effort needed for setup and configuration.  It prioritizes established conventions for software coding and structure over the need for developers to specify minutiae through configuration files. 

For instance: 

  • Rails eliminates the need for any Rails programmer to make countless decisions about the structure and configuration of their applications: where to place files, how to name classes, or how to connect different components of the application are all decided by the framework’s conventions. This drastically reduces the cognitive load on developers, allowing them to focus on the unique aspects of their projects rather than on setup and configuration.
  • Rails automatically connects models to database tables based on naming conventions, saving developers from writing boilerplate code to make these connections manually. 

And other cool things allow developers to focus on what really matters: the business logic. 

Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY) Principle

As previously mentioned, Rails champions the DRY principle, minimizing code duplication. This not only accelerates Ruby app development but also simplifies maintenance and updates, a key advantage for sustaining and evolving business applications.

High Scalability

Initially, Rails faced scalability concerns, often attributed to developers importing practices from other languages. However, advancements in caching, data denormalization, and architecture have empowered Rails to support heavily loaded services efficiently.

Nowadays, a business can seamlessly handle peak loads during high-demand periods, such as promotional events or seasonal spikes in web traffic. 

This also means that businesses can roll out new features or scale up operations without the need for a linear increase in hardware or resources, effectively managing growth without escalating costs.

RESTful Application Design

Rails’ embrace of RESTful design, organizing applications around resources that can be created, read, updated, or deleted (CRUD operations), stands in contrast to more rigid, operation-centric designs like SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol). While SOAP focuses on actions and procedures, REST centers on data and resources, making it inherently more flexible and aligned with web standards. For a business, this means easier integration with other services and a more adaptable infrastructure capable of evolving with less friction or overhaul.

MVC Architecture

The Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture separates concerns within the application, making it more manageable and scalable. 

For businesses, this separation enhances maintainability and accelerates feature development, leading to faster market responsiveness and reduced costs for updates and expansions.

For example, if a business decides to update its user interface (UI), the MVC architecture allows for changes to be made to the view without altering the business logic. This separation can cut down the time and resources needed for such updates, meaning less downtime and faster delivery to market.

Strong Community Support

The Ruby on Rails community is one of its greatest strengths, characterized by:

  • over 5,000 contributors to the Rails source code;
  • more than 150,000 libraries (gems) available, extending functionality and reducing development time;
  • a global network of ruby on rails web developers and companies sharing knowledge, which translates to quicker problem-solving and innovation;

That means businesses aren’t locked into proprietary solutions from specific vendors.

Databases Abstraction

When working with a database such as Postgresql, Active Record (ORM used by Ruby on Rails) allows you to abstract from the current database at higher levels. This makes it possible to write almost the same code for any supported database.

The framework works with all popular SQL databases, so you can focus on the implementation of business tasks rather than writing a huge number of low-level SQL commands.

So, no need for a specialized database administrator for routine tasks because they can be done on a higher level. 

Off-the-Shelf Security Features

Rails takes security seriously, offering built-in mechanisms to protect against common threats like SQL injection and XSS attacks: 

  • active Record sanitizes SQL queries automatically.
  • Cross-site scripting (XSS) sanitizes helpers and Content Security Policy (CSP) integration.

So businesses have a reduced risk of data breaches which is always a good thing nowadays. For example, the strong_parameters feature ensures only permitted attributes can be updated through web forms. Here is Ruby on Rails code:

class UsersController < ApplicationController
  def create
    @user = User.new(user_params)
    # Additional logic to save @user
  end

  private

  def user_params
    params.require(:user).permit(:username, :email)
  end
end

It’s Actively Developing

The open-source nature of Rails ensures it is continually evolving, with regular updates and new features enhancing its robustness and versatility. 

Rails aims to release a new major version approximately every two years. Major releases may include significant changes requiring application adjustments to maintain compatibility.

There are also minor releases every six months that include new features and improvements that are backward compatible with the major version.

And finally, patches. Patch versions are released as needed to address bug fixes and security vulnerabilities. The Rails team is proactive about security and often releases patches promptly after discovering a vulnerability.

Automatic Deployment and Testing

Rails simplifies deployment and testing in multiple ways:

First, it’s Capistrano – an automated deployment tool that supports scriptable deployments.

Then, built-in test frameworks go such as MiniTest and RSpec integration. They facilitate behavior-driven development (BDD) and test-driven development (TDD) methodologies.

For instance, a project utilizing continuous integration and deployment tools, along with Rails’ testing frameworks, can automate much of the testing and deployment pipeline. This efficiency means new features can be developed, tested, and released rapidly, significantly reducing the time-to-market. For businesses, this agility ensures they can respond to market changes or customer feedback swiftly, maintaining a competitive edge.

Rapid Development

Rapid development in Ruby on Rails isn’t just an isolated advantage; it’s the cumulative result of leveraging the framework’s array of built-in features and philosophies. Each element of Rails—from its Convention over Configuration paradigm, through the efficient MVC architecture, to the comprehensive ecosystem of gems—interlocks to streamline the Ruby on Rails programming process. 

This integration means developers spend less time on boilerplate code and configuration and more on implementing unique business logic and features. 

Active Record simplifies database interactions, further accelerating backend development, while the robust community support ensures solutions and improvements are readily available, minimizing troubleshooting time. 

Collectively, these aspects of Rails form a powerful toolkit that significantly reduces Rails programming timelines, allowing businesses to adapt to market changes swiftly, iterate on user feedback, and maintain a competitive edge by rapidly bringing new ideas to market.

Cost-Effectiveness

Finally, all the factors above lead to one simple conclusion: Ruby helps to cut costs of development from scratch, introducing new features, and maintaining the existing product. And this is an awesome and impressive advantage. 

What Is Ruby on Rails Good For

You can build literally anything with the Ruby on Rails framework. Well, I personally did it. 

Still, here are some Ruby on Rails usage examples where this technology is an obvious choice: 

E-commerce Platforms

With its secure and scalable environment, Rails is an excellent choice for developing e-commerce platforms. It supports complex databases and integrates seamlessly with payment processing systems, providing a reliable foundation for online stores with varying sizes and complexities.

Content Management Systems (CMS)

Rails’ flexibility makes it suitable for building custom content management systems tailored to specific needs. Its modular architecture allows a Ruby on Rails programmer to add or adjust functionalities as required, making it a solid choice for businesses that find off-the-shelf CMS solutions as limiting.

Social Networking Sites

The framework’s capability to handle large volumes of data and traffic makes it a good fit for social networking sites. Rails facilitates the development of features common to social media, like feeds, friend networks, and messaging systems, with ease.

SaaS (Software as a Service) Applications

Rails is a popular choice for building SaaS applications due to its modular design, which supports the development of multi-tenant applications (where a single instance of the software serves multiple customers). Its robust security features and efficient handling of requests are crucial for the SaaS model.

APIs for Mobile Applications

Rails is also an excellent backend solution for mobile applications, providing a powerful and scalable API layer. Its support for RESTful architecture means developers can create APIs that mobile apps can consume, ensuring smooth communication between the mobile frontend and Ruby on Rails backend development. So, that’s a big advantage of Ruby on Rails. 

How I Mastered Ruby on Rails in SumatoSoft

SumatoSoft is a software development service provider that has become a technological partner to its Clients across 27 countries. Our portfolio includes over 250 successful projects in various industries, such as eCommerce app development, Elearning software, Finance, Real Estate, Logistics software development, Travel, and more. 

The company delivers exemplary services in 12+ business domains and works with all types of technologies like the Internet of Things, Big Data, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, web, mobile, and progressive app development. However, our key areas of expertise are Ruby on Rails development and development of the Internet of Things. So, we can be considered as Ruby on Rails web development company. 

We mastered Ruby on Rails working on projects like: 

And dozens of other projects. We also enjoy writing about Ruby on Rails technology and know its usage, pitfalls, and benefits of Ruby on Rails. Look at our blog articles: 

We can make a massive contribution to the development of complex projects. Contact us if you are looking for high-level technical expertise. 

The Bottom Line

Ruby on Rails stands out as a versatile and powerful framework that excels in rapid prototype development, making it a prime choice for startups and projects aiming for quick market entry.

Key to Rails’ appeal are its Convention over Configuration and DRY principles, which streamline development processes, enhance security, and ensure scalability. This framework provides a solid foundation for developing web applications that require quick iteration, reliable performance, and the ability to grow with user demands, positioning Ruby on Rails as a go-to solution for a diverse range of web development projects.Our company can help you implement your ideas and create high-quality web projects in a short time and with decent technical support.

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    1 Share your idea
    2 Discuss it with our expert
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    If you have any questions, email us [email protected]


      Please be informed that when you click the Send button Sumatosoft will process your personal data in accordance with our Privacy notice for the purpose of providing you with appropriate information. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
      Vlad Fedortsov
      Vlad Fedortsov
      Account Executive
      Book a consultation
      Thank you!
      Your form was successfully submitted!