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8 Reasons To Choose Ruby On Rails For Your Next E-commerce Project

Nov 27, 20185 min read

Dawid Karczewski

Senior full stack developer and CTO at Ideamotive.


Winning the e-commerce race is currently a matter of providing performance, security and customer experience. And that’s basically the focus of Ruby on Rails framework.

From this text you will know:

  • What is Ruby on Rails?
  • What are the types of e-commerce platforms to develop with Ruby on Rails?
  • What are the pros of using Ruby on Rails in e-commerce platform development?
  • What are the most notable e-commerce platforms built with Ruby on Rails?

What is Ruby on Rails?

Ruby on Rails is a great example of a solution designed to solve a particular problem, that later proved itself to be far more functional and convenient than previously expected. The framework was designed for Ruby programming language by David Heinemeier Hansson during work on Basecamp collaboration suite. It is free to use open source software, used by many global brands and services, including not only Basecamp but also GitHub, Groupon, Airbnb, SoundCloud and Zendesk among others.


And these are only a few best Ruby on Rails companies!


The framework aims to make code design as simple and effective as possible, with high emphasis on the swiftness of the code design process. To achieve that, designers decided to include three main approaches:

  • DRY – Don’t repeat yourself. The framework supports programmers in reusing the code and avoiding the repetition of the code in various places in the software.
  • Convention over configuration – the framework operates on the set of preconfigured, default patterns and developers are encouraged to use them in their work instead of building won configurations.
  • Modularity – Ruby on Rails has a rich library of plugins that enable designers to use additional functions without the need to build them on their own. It may be the login process, the ability to scan and send the images or a checkout process in the e-commerce.

Ruby on Rails operates with the MVC (Model View Controller) architecture that applies to any app that operates with Graphic User Interface. The “Model” describes the app logic “View” describes how the part of the model may be shown on the user’s interface, while the “Controller” is responsible for app management by processing the user’s actions.


According to the “BuiltWith” data, Ruby on Rails’ popularity is rising among the internet’s most popular services. Currently (18.11.2018) there are over 2,729 websites that are using Ruby on Rails in their daily operations, with 1,153 (11,53%) among top 10k websites with the most traffic. Ruby on Rails is a third most popular internet programming language, staying behind only PHP and ASP.net, and used on daily basis by Walmart, Goodreads, and Groupon among others.


Read also: 50 Best Ruby On Rails Companies Websites [State For 2020]

Types of e-commerce platforms to build with Ruby on Rails

Due to its versatility and flexibility, the Ruby on Rails web development framework may be used in building various types of e-commerce platforms.

  • B2C – the most common type of stores sell goods to the end-users. Most popular e-commerce platforms of any type, be that SaaS, open source or licensed software, support the B2B operation models. Ruby on Rails, with its user interface-centric philosophy, is a perfect fit for building a modern webshop, aimed at delivering the outstanding user experience.
  • B2B – despite being more obscure than B2C channel, wholesale operations or selling the specialized goods for businesses is a thing. Frost & Sullivan predict that B2B e-commerce will hit $12 trillion in sales worldwide by 2020 from $5.5 trillion in 2012. With the growing trend of consumerization of B2B commerce and decline in traditional B2B sales channels (69% of B2B sellers admit that they will stop printing catalogs during upcoming 5 years), transferring the best practices from B2c channel by embracing Ruby on Rails web development is more than a good idea.
  • B2B2C – the emerging model combining the B2C and B2B by building the internet marketplaces operating in the B2B2C model is gaining popularity. The most prominent internet players including Amazon, AliExpress, and Walmart decide to open their websites for outside partners and enrich their own offering. Combining the B2B model (working with business partners selling goods) and B2C (selling directly to consumers) e-commerce may reach the next level and Ruby on Rails’ versatility is the best way to do that.
  • Subscription-based – the subscription-based e-commerce is a niche-yet-interesting trend in modern internet retailing. According to McKinsey 2018 report, the subscription market has grown over 100 a year over the past five years, with the largest retailers generation more than $2.6 Billion in sales in 2016, up from $57 million in 2011.

So what makes Ruby on Rails such a great tool for e-commerce software development?

8 reasons why Ruby on Rails is a perfect fit for e-commerce development

1. Flexibility

Ruby on Rails focuses on swift deployment, easy code management and building apps with plugins. By promoting the modular architecture the framework makes the designed platform easier to modify and futureproof – adding new features is less likely to tear the app apart.

2. Stability and performance

Setting a standardized set of policies makes the code more stable while boosting the performance. By reducing the configurational struggle to a minimum and supporting the appliance of common procedures Ruby on Rails supports providing a stable and well-performing solution.

3. Available integrations

Going global on the Internet only sounds easy and multiple payment options are the best example of the common pitfalls. By embracing the system of plugins, Ruby on Rails developers are able to prepare the tailored system for every market. What’s more, due to the popularity of framework in e-commerce software development, there are already ready plugins and integrations dealing both with the most popular and more exotic payment systems.

4. Numerous ready solutions

Due to the plugin-based development system, there are many already existing solutions enabling users to use blocks to design own system. There is no need to build the checkout, the cart or a payment gate from scratch, effectively saving loads of developers’ time and effort.

5. Easy deployment

The Ruby on Rails web development framework is rich in automation options, that enable developers to swift up the deployment. By embracing the DRY principle, there is a good chance, that the debugging process will be a less headache. But it is not the only way Ruby on Rails promotes the best coding practices and simply guides the developer through the process (if used properly).

6. Proven technology

Despite being quite a new technology with the first release in 2004(compared to PHP being in use since 1995), Ruby on Rails is used by world’s giants including GitHub, Walmart, and Airbnb. Considering that, there is a great bunch of developers and high-profile players interested in further development and maintenance of the technology.

7. Community support and documentation

As an open source software developed by market giants, Ruby on Rails has a strong community support and good documentation to make the cross-programming easier and support the efforts of other teams. Thus, the problem of being stuck with a particular problem may not be as hard as when encountered in some other less popular languages or frameworks.

8. Security

Last but not least, Ruby on Rails provides support for building secure apps. Any app is by default hardened against SQL injection by using placeholders in database queries. The developed product is also more secure when considering cross-site scripting and cross-site request forgery. There is also an easy mechanism to encrypt and sign cookies. And all built within the code.

All that sounds cool. So is there any actual e-commerce solution, that is working and ready-to-go? Actually – not just one.

Examples of e-commerce platforms built with Ruby on Rails

Being a perfect fit for e-commerce, Ruby on Rails web development has already been used to build outstanding e-commerce platforms:


Probably one of the most renowned Ruby on Rails product, backed by America Online and Trune Ventures. Companies using Spree include Urban Ladder, Fortnum and Mason and GoDaddy. As the framework implies, Spree is built with multiple extensions that allow users to build their own solution using ready building blocks. Currently, Spree is owned and developed by First Data, the online payments giant.


Spree ecommerce platform is a great example of ecommerce web dewelopment in Ruby


After Spree was purchased by First Data, the online payments provider, many developers saw the event as a threat for further development of the project. Solidus is a fork of Spree that is being developed independently. Spree is chosen by Bonobos clothing brand among others, mostly due to their heavy contribution into the Spree before the acquisition.


Solidus ecommerce platform is a great example of ecommerce web development in Ruby


Contrary to Spree and Solidus, Shopify is a proprietary software distributed in a Software as a Service model. The software was primarily used to power a Snowdevil store run by the founders, but later it proved to be an interesting product itself.


Shopify ecommerce platform is a great example of ecommerce web development in Ruby


Ruby on Rails web development framework is a great example of a solution for a particular problem, that is easy to extrapolate and deploy when encountering another challenge. Designed as a support when developing Basecamp, it is today used by over 11% of the most popular websites. A common story when it comes to designing first-class solutions.


We are Ideamotive – a Ruby on Rails agency providing custom software development services. Looking for heroes to help you with your next Web project? Drop us a line!

Dawid Karczewski

Dawid is a full stack developer experienced in creating Ruby on Rails and React Native apps from naught to implementation. Technological superhero, delivering amazing solutions for our clients and helping them grow.

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