The pace of execution and rapid release to the market, define today’s startup ecosystem. An iterative and incremental development framework is vital to this process. While several technologies exist, Ruby on Rails is still the go-to choice for several developers even in 2019 for their minimum viable product (MVP).
Read on to find out why.
RoR focuses on Simplicity
One of RoR’s biggest strengths is the programming language and development environment built around it. It is a concise programming language that is expressive and easy to understand. This is also why it prefers convention over configuration. Unlike other programming languages, Ruby on Rails does not need complex configurations that add little value to the main application.
This saves developers from writing large chunks of complex code. RoR development embodies the ‘quick and clean’ mantra. The creators of Ruby on Rails did not intend to create a sophisticated programming environment. Instead, they created a programmer-happy environment that would help a great majority of developers quickly deal with unglamorous parts of development and boost productivity.
Startups and new product owners need exactly this. Developers can make incremental changes on every feedback iteration, speeding up their time-to-market.
RoR is secure and flexible
Ruby on Rails offers many easy to use built-in tools and gems that ensure operational security and safety. For instance, you can redirect all HTTPS requests by specifying config.force_ssl = true in the production environment configuration file.
By default, newly created Rails applications have a one-liner in the application controller protect_from_forgery with::exception to protect against all other forged requests.
Several tools such as brakeman let developers check Rails applications for security vulnerabilities. rack-attack mitigates abusive requests and lets developers rely less on short-term, one-off hacks to block a particular attack.
Ruby on Rails provides Migrations, a domain-specific language for managing a database schema. Migrations is database-agnostic. This decouples the backend database with the front end UI. This affords developers the flexibility to develop frontends in just about any language from HTML5 to Angular/ReactJS and use any database on the backend. At production, any changes in either one do not entail making a change in the other.
Rails application development is time-efficient
Developers working with Ruby on Rails typically develop applications 30-40% faster than others with different languages and frameworks. RoR is based on the MVC (Model View Controller) design pattern. This enables efficient development with parallel developers working on models and instances. The MVC pattern separates business logic from the application to prevent spread out across multiple components. This prevents redundant code and creates easy to maintain and understand codebases that other teams can quickly understand.
RoR supports built-in mechanisms that support automated test coverage of your applications. There are several guides on the web that explain this process in detail. Several helpful guides on the official RoR page show how to get started on automated testing.
Rspec is a widely accepted domain-specific language testing tool for rails applications. A behavior-driven development (BDD) framework, Rspec sees wide usage in production application testing. With Rspec tests are written beforehand and then enough code is developed to fulfill these tests followed by refactoring. It has a simple syntax making it one of the most widely used testing tools for Ruby applications.
Ruby on Rails is also an object-oriented programming language and allows code reuse in more ways than one. In fact, there are at least seven ways to reuse code with Ruby. Developers can define code at unambiguous places for code reuse. RoR also has gems that can be reused and/or customized for reusability.
Rails applications focus on quality
Ruby on Rails encourages both test-driven development (TDD) and behavior-driven development (BDD). Both of these development principles advocate writing tests first and then developing code to ensure these tests pass.
This not only cuts down on buggy code but also development cost. As a result Rails applications are high quality, developer-friendly with a testable and maintainable codebase.
Ruby on Rails has an active community
RoR has been around since 2009 and it has an active developer community around it. It is also open source. This means there are plenty of high-quality open-source software libraries to choose from and active support from the community. This helps startups build complex functionalities relatively quickly.
Due to the popularity of existing frameworks, there are plenty of people encountering similar challenges. It is more likely for developers to find solutions to complex integrations in the community.
The Rails Developer community is very active, productive, vast, reliable, and constantly growing. With more than 150K gems and 31 billion downloads, RubyGems.org is a popular gem hosting service.
Popular apps built using RoR
These erstwhile startups using Ruby on Rails built their first MVPs.
Twitter. Twitter is originally a Rails application. It garnered a large share of users before being migrated to Scala.
Github. The world’s largest code repository was built with Ruby before moving on to Java. Github started as a fairly conventional Rails application. Its developers also developed the Redis-backed Resque library.
Airbnb. Ruby on Rails made the world’s largest hospitality marketplace. Sensitive parts of Airbnb such as payments processing today run on Rail apps. While Airbnb actively uses Ruby, its sheer scale has paved the way for adoption of newer technologies as well.
Basecamp. This application is the very origin of Ruby on Rails. Basecamp, written in Ruby, is a user-centric project management tool with a focus on communication. Its original author David Heinemeier Hansson extracted the Ruby on Rails framework that came to be in 2003.
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