Benefits of Ruby on Rails as a Web Application Development Framework

Michael Harvey
August 17, 2022
 Mins Read

History and Rapid Growth of ROR (Ruby on Rails)

Ruby on Rails is a developmental framework for creating web-based applications. It comprises a development tool named Rails and a programming language called Ruby.

Yukihiro Matsumoto created Ruby in the mid-1990s to minimize the frustration and efforts involved in complex coding projects. The language compiled the best features of the dominant languages of that time: it is fast and meticulous at the same time and when compared to other popular languages like C, BASIC, C++, PERL and others, its structure including the syntax, grammar and culture is considered to be less complicated and easier to learn.

Ruby on Rails, or just simply ‘Rails’, was created in 2003 by David Heinemeier Hansson, based on the Ruby programming language. This is a software tool kit for the development of websites and applications; it provides the basic framework and structure for writing the desired codes, simultaneously, also simplifying their task by making the coding part less complicated and efficient.

The first version was released as open-source by Hansson in 2004.  In August 2006, Apple announced that Mac OS X v10.5 ‘Leopard’ would be shipped with Ruby on Rails. In March 2009, Rails version 2.3 was released with improvements in engines, templates and nested model forms. In August 2011, Rails version 3.1 was released which allowed reversible database migration and introduced jQuery as default JavaScript library.

Subsequently, Rails versions 3.2, 4.0 and 4.1 have been released, each with new development features and improvements to older versions. Rails version 4.2 is the latest version, released in December 2014; it introduces new features such as asynchronous emails, active job, foreign keys, web console and adequate record.

Guiding Principles of Rails

1. No Repetition:

DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) is a development principle stating the avoidance of duplicity which makes the code more efficient, maintainable and less prone to errors, which makes the representation unequivocal and reliable. This principle of avoiding duplication has been the guiding principle behind development of Rails.

2. Convention over Configuration:

Rails comes with a set of conventions of its own which ultimately helps in speeding up the development process by saving programmers’ time. This is as compared to the process of getting set up through the traditional way of configuring files, such as in Java development frameworks where multiple configurations with complex settings are needed, which make the job tougher for a coder.

3. Focus on REST:

Representational State Transfer (REST) is a unique architectural software style that emphasizes the better relationship between client and server, and also makes the structural component more logical and compatible to be opened as an API.

4. Opinionated or Rigid:

By following the ‘Rails way’, one has less work to do when solving a problem, making the process of development faster and more efficient.

Benefits of Using Ruby on Rails over Other Frameworks

  • It uses Agile software development method which applies a collaborative approach between cross functional teams for finding apt solutions. This ultimately promotes adaptive planning and development, fast delivery, scope for improvement and encourages speedy and flexible responses mitigating hurdles.
  • Object-oriented or user-friendly nature of the programming language Ruby, and the access to a vast library of open source code within the Rails user community.
  • Rails uses a very short and perceptive language which helps in removing hurdles effectively during the development process.
  • It is a MVC (Model-View-Controller) framework which provides default structures for creating web pages, web services and database. This makes use of already present web standards, such as XML, HTML and JavaScript.
  • The coding process involved is precise, making the codes short and clear to understand.
  • Navigation between different Rails projects is easier due to the usage of common conventions in coding practices.
  • Rails is quite flexible and also comes with proper testing framework.
  • Open source libraries make the process more affordable as compared to other costly commercial frameworks.

In conclusion, Ruby language is known among developers for its simple and uncluttered syntax which lessens the use of extra punctuations. The package manager RubyGems (gems for libraries) makes it easier to access open source software libraries. The dynamic nature of the RubyGems website allows programmers to use every latest addition in the open source codes.

Ruby on Rails provides a user-friendly and developer-friendly environment. Several renowned applications developed on the Rails framework are dominating the web world, including Twitter, Github, and Shopify.

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