Ruby on Rails is a server-side web framework written in the Ruby programming language. It was created in 2004 by David Heinemeier Hansson as part of the Basecamp project. Rails emphasize convention over configuration and aim to increase developer productivity by following the “don’t repeat yourself” (DRY) principle. Some of Rails’ key advantages are its built-in MVC architecture, Active Record for interacting with databases, and large ecosystem of gems (reusable packages of code). However, Rails also has a steep learning curve for beginners.
|Ruby on Rails
|React, Angular, Vue
|Setup and Config
|Rails provides routing
|React Router, own logic
|Embedded Ruby (ERB)
|JSX, Template literals
|SQL, NoSQL (MongoDB)
|Built-in MVC conventions
What is Ruby on Rails?
Ruby on Rails is a server-side web application framework written in the Ruby programming language. It was created by David Heinemeier Hansson and released publicly in 2004. Rails follows the model-view-controller (MVC) pattern and emphasize conventions over configuration, rapid development, and don’t repeat yourself (DRY) principles.
Pros of Ruby on Rails
- Rapid development cycle.
- Great for MVPs and prototypes.
- Convention over configuration.
- Strong community with many gems/plugins.
- Stability and maturity as a framework.
Cons of Ruby on Rails
- Not as performant as Java or Go.
- Not easily scalable.
- Steep learning curve for beginners.
- Ubiquitous – runs everywhere on the web.
- Huge ecosystem of tools and libraries.
- Very versatile across applications.
- More interactive, responsive UIs.
- Easier for beginners to pick up.
- Weak typing leads to bugs.
- Async programming is complex.
- Too many tools/options to evaluate.
- Front-end framework fatigue.
- Not as fast as compiled languages.
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- Only 15.2% had done back-end web development with Ruby in the past year.
Rails works well for:
- Custom web/mobile backend applications.
- Database-backed web services with APIs.
- Prototyping MVP ideas quickly.
- Admin panels and dashboards.
- Websites with lots of server-rendered pages.
- Adding interactivity to web pages.
- Building reactive single page apps.
- Creating mobile/desktop applications.
- Game development.
- Animations and visualizations.
- Asynchronous server-side programming.
- Real-time web apps.
Rails is a full MVC framework with structure and many libraries to learn upfront. There are more concepts like Migrations, Routing, ActiveRecord, etc.
- There are over 30,000 Rails job listings on Indeed.com with an average salary of $120,000. Ruby on Rails roles have grown 25% YoY.
When Ruby on Rails is preferable:
- You need to build a functional prototype or MVP quickly.
- You value convention over configuration.
- Your app is not expected to scale massively.
- You want a batteries-included framework to avoid decision fatigue.
- You need a highly interactive UI with dynamic functionality.
- You want greater creative flexibility over architecture.
- You are building apps for multiple platforms (web, mobile, etc).
- You expect your app to scale to a very large size.
Amelie Lamb is an experienced technical content writer at SoftwareStack.co who specializes in distilling complex software topics into clear, concise explanations. She has a talent for taking dense technical jargon and making it engaging and understandable for readers through her informative, lively writing style.