The all-in-one guide for product owners, project managers, RoR adepts, and everybody who seeks a deeper understanding of Ruby on Rails.
Welcome to the Ruby on Rails all-in-one guide from Ideamotive!
After our React Native Development Guide, this is another massive piece of content where we take a deep dive into our favorite development frameworks.
No more Googling. No more web digging. We give you all the info about Ruby on Rails in one place.
After reading this guide you will know:
What exactly is Ruby on Rails?
How does its stack up against other web development frameworks?
When to use and when not to use Ruby on Rails?
How does the Ruby on Rails development process look like?
Why did we create this page?
Blog posts, YouTube tutorials, development forums, workshops, code repositories… There are so many resources to go through when you are looking for comprehensive and reliable information about Ruby on Rails.
Who has the time to browse them all? This is your single reliable resource that gathers all Ruby on Rails knowledge in one place. No more searching!
We want everybody, regardless of background, to be able to get value from this guide. Which is why we assume no previous knowledge of terminology, and we explain things in detail.
Who should read our guide?
Are you looking for the right technology for your next web development project?
Are you a developer who wants to learn Ruby on Rails?
If you’re a startup, product owner, C-level professional, or marketer, this guide will help you get the hang of Ruby on Rails without reaching the bottom of Google.
It also aids developers who want to learn to code in Ruby. Finally, it is simply meant for anyone interested in web app development.
The only person who won’t find much use for this guide would be a high-level master Ruby on Rails developer. If you’re not on that level yet, then you’ll definitely be able to learn something!
Go ahead and read it offline on your preferred reading device. Heck, you can even print it, but we don’t recommend it for ecological reasons - this guide is gigantic, so it would take a lot of paper (stay green!).
Thinking about building your web product with Ruby on Rails?
Talk to our tech advisor. We will audit your requirements, build a product roadmap and put together an A-class development team.
Table of Contents
Ruby on Rails (aka Rails aka RoR) is an open-source framework for building web applications. It allows programmers to use readymade solutions to common issues, which means they can save time — and money - during the development process.
Similarly to many of the best software projects in the world, it was first built as a kind of side-project. It was created by David Heinemeier Hansson, founder and CTO of Basecamp. Basecamp was the first true Rails web application.
“[...]a website is defined by its content, while a web application is defined by its interaction with the user. That is, a website can plausibly consist of a static content repository that's dealt out to all visitors, while a web application depends on interaction and requires programmatic user input and data processing.
For example, a news site would be a "website", but a spreadsheet or a collaborative calendar would be web "applications". The news site shows essentially the same information to all visitors, while the calendar processes individual data."
Rails was extracted from Basecamp in 2003. It took two more years of development led by David and supported by a global community of like-minded developers, and Rails 1.0 was finally released to the public in 2005.
It quickly started growing in popularity as “the open-source web framework that's optimized for programmer happiness and beautiful code”.
Remember: the role of frameworks is to give software developers readymade elements (code libraries) to save time when building new software.
This particular framework is a collection of code libraries written in the Ruby programming language. These libraries are readymade, must-have functions for web applications — like forms, buttons, or menus.
You know how, when you write a report or paper, sometimes you just copy paragraphs from other papers and rewrite them in your own words? This is kind of similar to what code libraries are for programmers.
There are several frameworks, for different purposes, for virtually every programming language out there. But Rails is a very special framework, and it makes for a great web application development environment.
It’s different than most frameworks. Why? This question is best answered by the creators of the official guide to Ruby on Rails:
“[Rails] is designed to make programming web applications easier by making assumptions about what every developer needs to get started.[...] Rails is opinionated software.”
Like most frameworks, Rails provides readymade elements (essentially templates) for building a specific type of software — in this case, web applications.
But, because of its unique design, it also forces programmers to use explicit development practices — “The Rails Way”.
Don't Repeat Yourself:
"Every piece of knowledge must have a single, unambiguous, authoritative representation within a system." In other words, applications are less buggy when the same information isn’t repeated over and over in the codebase.
Convention Over Configuration:
in commercial product development, an MVP working application usually needs to be built as fast as possible. Rails makes it easier by providing default settings that drastically limit the amount of initial configuration.
This is surely inspired by the philosophies that led to the creation of the underlying programming language, Ruby. What is the difference between Ruby and Ruby on Rails?
|Ruby||Ruby on Rails|
Ruby on Rails (RoR, Rails) is a web application framework running on the Ruby programming language.
It provides tools for developers to build web applications faster, and have more fun doing it.
Building in Rails requires developers to learn and adapt to “The Rails Way,” which is a strict set of practices that Rails creators believe to be the best practices for building web applications.
Very similarly to Rails, the most important thing about Ruby are the strong convictions of its creator, which influenced every aspect of this programming language. In many ways, Ruby was also designed to maximize programmer happiness.
Another thing that connects Ruby and Rails is that if you’re not able to adapt to the fundamental coding philosophies of these technologies, you won’t have much fun using them at all.
In the framework category, Ruby on Rails didn’t make the cut with the rest of the most popular frameworks. This isn’t surprising, as RoR is not for everyone. But those who know how to use it can do amazing things with it.
7.1% out of 57,378 developers that responded to the survey use Ruby.
This shows when you look at the need for Ruby on Rails specialists, instead of its popularity among developers. You’ll see that the demand for Ruby on Rails is big.
RoR is a mature technology, and in the software industry, things can be very trend-driven. Rails used to be “the thing” if you wanted to build web applications a few years ago.
But while other technologies may have taken its strong position in popularity rankings, Ruby on Rails remains just as powerful — and in many cases proves itself even more powerful — as the currently popular technologies.
Additionally, RoR has a huge community of developers and supporters who have been working on this technology for years.
However, it’s hard to say where exactly this technology stands until we’ve compared it to popular alternatives. So let’s do that!
|Ruby on Rails||PHP|
|Performance||Can be slow if the app is poorly designed. Great for CPU-intensive tasks.||Pure PHP is faster until you add a framework like Laravel when the performance drops below RoR levels.|
|Maintenance||Easy to maintain apps thanks to the community and constant improvement.||It can be easy to maintain, as long as a popular web framework with community support is used. Otherwise, apps are much harder to maintain.|
|Scalability||Uses a lot of resources - there’s a threshold when it becomes too hard to scale.||Uses fewer resources, a bit easier to scale.|
|Support||A supportive global community that might be smaller than the amount of PHP developers, but you definitely won’t be left without an answer if you have an issue. A smaller amount of editors and tools available.||Probably the largest amount of support resources out of all programming languages — but a lot of them are outdated. There are a lot of third-party editors and tools for PHP.|
|Cost||Skills from other languages (like PHP) transfer easily.||Easier to learn. Easier to find developers. Also quite expensive to host apps (in the case of modern apps with powerful functionality).|
|Development Speed||Faster to build a fully functioning web app. Offers “scaffolding” — it can generate code based on specified parameters.||A bit slower to build a fully functioning web app, especially if you don’t use a popular web framework.|
Need more information? Check out this comparison of Ruby on Rails and PHP.
|Ruby on Rails||Django|
|Performance||Great for commercial startups and modern web apps. Great for CPU-intensive tasks.||Great for academic/scientific uses due to the design of Python.|
|Maintenance||Easy to maintain.||Some say that updating Django is even easier than RoR.|
|Scalability||Harder to scale.||Easier to scale.|
|Support||Large web-development oriented community.||Smaller web-development oriented community.|
|Cost||A bit harder to learn. Less popular, might be harder / more expensive to find developers. Hosting costs similar to Django.||Easier to learn. Python is more popular among developers. Hosting costs similar to RoR.|
|Development Speed||Requires much less configuration, speeding up development times.||Greater customization comes with more to configure, which slows down development times.|
Need more information? Check out this detailed comparison of Ruby on Rails and Django.
|Ruby on Rails||Node.js + Express|
|Performance||Mainly good for commercial startups and modern web apps. Great for CPU-intensive tasks.||Powerful underlying libraries make for very fast web apps — but it’s not suitable for processor-intensive tasks. Great for I/O intensive tasks.|
|Maintenance||Easy to maintain. Easy database migrations — it’s portable across all platforms.||Still new, so there are glitches and instabilities. But it’s still relatively easy to monitor and support.|
|Scalability||Easy to scale until a threshold — gets much harder at a certain level.||Incomparable scalability — chosen by companies with insane traffic (like Netflix).|
|Support||Large web-development oriented community.||The community still has to grow, but there are good resources out there.|
|Development Speed||Requires minimum configuration. Opinionated, assume best practices for building apps. Hands down the fastest way to build an app.||Non-opinionated requires additional code and configuration before it can match RoR’s out-of-the-box features.|
|Ruby on Rails||C#|
|Performance||Ruby on Rails has a slow CPU processing time in comparison with many other languages, which works to its disadvantage. What more, Ruby is not compiled and it’s fully interpreted at runtime. That also doesn’t work in the favour of RoR.||In this aspect, C# is the undeniable winner. Name any individual routine. It will run much faster in C# than in Ruby on Rails. It’s compiled to intermediate code which is then run by CLR (Common Language Runtime).|
|Maintenance||Easy to maintain apps thanks to the community and constant improvement.||By the support of the Microsoft C# has much more complex documentation than Ruby or Rails. So the maintenance is also on the level.|
|Scalability||Uses a lot of resources - there’s a threshold when it becomes too hard to scale.||Uses fewer resources, a bit easier to scale.|
|Support||In the case of Ruby on Rails, you can’t find a lot of information and help from the creators but the Ruby community provided an enormous and high-quality suite of tools and libraries.||The C# as a commercial product of a big corporation offers a lot of informational resources and professional support. However, community support is declining and even the actions of Microsoft to encourage contributing to public projects aren’t successful.|
|Cost||Less popular, might be harder / more expensive to find developers.||The developer’s pool is bigger. Thus, it is easier to find less expensive solutions.|
|Development Speed||Complex syntax but it has solutions to reduce the amount of code in bigger apps.||Very fast and intuitive. Better for small apps.|
Need more information? Check out our in-depth Ruby on Rails vs C# comparison.
|Ruby on Rails||Angular|
|Performance||Ruby on Rails has a slow CPU processing time in comparison with many other languages, which works to its disadvantage. What more, Ruby is not compiled and it’s fully interpreted at runtime. That also doesn’t work in the favour of RoR.||AngularJS is pretty much used for the frontend. The main feature if AngularJS is Dynamic views, i.e. If you change the url, the content will change without refreshing the page.|
|Maintenance||Easy to maintain apps thanks to the community and constant improvement.||Quite hard to maintain. Requires decent developers.|
|Scalability||Uses a lot of resources - there’s a threshold when it becomes too hard to scale.||Uses fewer resources, a bit easier to scale.|
|Support||In the case of Ruby on Rails, you can’t find a lot of information and help from the creators but the Ruby community provided an enormous and high-quality suite of tools and libraries.||Angular has a rather impressive community, which helps with documentation and additional questions.|
|Cost||Requires a lot of computing resources to run efficiently. Requires highly skilled programmers.||The developer’s pool is much smaller.|
|Development Speed||Ruby on Rails is a much mature framework in comparison to AngularJS. You can make a basic CRUD operation based app in minutes.||Quite fast. A better use for single-page apps.|
Rails is great - but it is not a “golden solution” for every type of web project (although the spectrum is pretty wide).
The official “Getting Started” RoR guide shows you how to build a simple blog as your first application, but it can do much, much more, from custom websites to extremely complicated platforms like GitHub, Shopify, Airbnb, SoundCloud, Zendesk, and Square, to name just a few.
Wondering if your Ruby on Rails is suitable for your project? Read the section below!
"Ruby on Rails makes it fast to bootstrap your product and get an MVP running for a small startup."
Ruby on Rails makes it easy and fun to build apps. It allows for open source web application development. And when programmers are happy, they tend to finish their work faster. But that’s not the main reason why RoR is great for startups and SMBs.
The main reason is this: thanks to the “Convention over Configuration” principle, Rails is truly one of the top technologies for the types of projects that startups and SMBs often do:
Rapid Application Development is the opposite of Waterfall methodologies. It’s a project management method designed around fast prototyping, quick iterations, and adapting software to user needs in as little time as possible.
Another super helpful thing is the unparalleled number of open-source code libraries and projects (known as gems) in the Ruby community. And developers are constantly building new ones!
What are gems?
In Ruby, a gem is a library that contains a specific piece of functionality as well as any files or assets related to that functionality. Gems can be found for all sorts of common functionality in an application - things like handling money and currency, integrating with credit card processing, tools to make Ruby coding even easier, and more. You could write these things yourself but one big benefit to using a gem instead is that it save time.
RubyGems is very similar to apt-get, portage, and yum in functionality
At the time of writing there are 148,845 gems available to download from the popular site RubyGems, which has 128,228 users.
This means that whatever you need in your application, there’s probably a gem for it. And if there’s a gem for it, then you can finish your app much faster than if you had to build every feature from the ground up.
“It’s crazy that people are suggesting Shopify has been successful despite Rails. Shopify has been successful BECAUSE OF Rails.”
What are the most important aspects of an e-commerce web application? To us it’s performance, user experience, and security.
Ruby on Rails has been around for more than 10 years. Over time, it has been perfected by a global community of developers, many of them working for the biggest companies in the tech game. There’s no doubt about it — Ruby on Rails is a mature technology.
For e-commerce project managers and developers, this translates into stability — and with stability comes good performance and security. Rails is based on a strong foundation of best software development practices, which means that it’s hard to mess up a Rails app.
This is insanely helpful in the context of e-commerce websites. Remember that every second an e-commerce site is down, they’re losing customers. So ultimately, mature and stable technology like RoR is the way to go if you don’t want to lose money on your e-commerce project.
By default, RoR apps are protected against popular attacks like SQL injection, cross-site scripting and cross-site request forgery. There are simple, but powerful security mechanisms for encryption and cookie signing, and it comes with the basic Rails package.
Rails reduces the need for configuration, but this aspect is really most visible when you’re first building your application. In later development stages, when you’re working on a living product, Rails gives developers a lot of flexibility in the parts where it matters.
What about user experience? Gems come to the rescue, again. There are ready-made gems for integrating your application with other crucial e-commerce elements:
This makes it much easier for developers to build websites with all the functionality that customers expect from modern e-commerce sites.
SaaS products are the ultimate web applications. They need to be scalable, fast, and secure. Software-as-a-Service probably beats all other application categories presented here in terms of the amount of connections and operations that need to be made in order to make the end-user happy.
This type of software relies heavily on building safe and fast APIs to allow your server to communicate, and exchange data with various other services. Luckily, Rails is deeply embedded with REST architecture for building reliable APIs.
REST is short for ‘Representational State Transfer.’
It’s a style of software architecture that defines certain rules for creating web services. Applications that follow this architecture style are referred to as RESTful.
Additionally, Rails provides powerful testing and debugging tools, which enable developers to make sure that their applications are working as designed. This, along with all the other advantages, makes Rails a great technology for building Software-as-as-Service products.
Time for the good stuff. We’ve scoured the web in search of strong, factual opinions from developers and project managers who actually used Rails.
Some of them loved it, others not so much! Here’s a round-up of what the global software developer community thinks about Ruby on Rails.
You can also check out:
1. Thread on Reddit about pros and cons of Ruby on Rails development
2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of Ruby? [Quora Thread]
3. Why is Ruby on Rails A Pitch Perfect Back End Technology?
Every developer, and by extension, every product team, has its own development process. Do you know how to build a web app? How to develop a web application with Ruby web development?
RoR is a great web app development framework. When you use a technology like Ruby on Rails, which forces programmers to use a set of strict conventions, there are still many aspects of the process that you can customize to your own liking. Ruby on Rails web development is a pleasure for programmers.
Because of that, we don’t want to get too deep into the process of building web applications with Ruby on Rails.
Instead, without dwelling on technical details and nuances, we want to show you the revolutionary project management methods that go along with the philosophy and conventions of Rails.
Project managers and programmers are always looking for a way to build products faster. RAD (Rapid Application Development) is one of the many methods that help them do that.
It was developed in 1991 by an IT consultant from the UK named James Martin.
The basic idea behind RAD is less planning, more prototyping.
The global software industry was already moving at a breakneck pace back then. Planning was problematic because of the speed with which the market was changing.
It turned out that long-term planning and execution in the traditional Waterfall style was far from the best way to build commercially successful software products.
RAD became popular because it enabled developers and managers to be flexible, and adapt to the market.
There are four basic stages of Rapid Application Development:
In 2001, 10 years after the creation of RAD, a new, radical idea was born in a ski-lodge in Utah (or so the legends say).
It was during a meeting of 14 prominent figures from the tech industry, who were noticing that developers far and wide have started to switch to a new, more flexible, more iterative development process.
The result of this meeting was the Agile Manifesto — a short document that is a collection of general philosophies and conventions for a new, better way to build software.
The manifesto is short enough that we can quote the whole thing:
“We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”
There are also 12 detailed principles built upon these four core values.
This manifesto enclosed the key fundamentals of new project management methodologies that, similarly to RAD, relied on communication and enabled developers to change products along with changing user needs.
If you think Agile is just Scrum, think again! There are a lot of Agile methods, including:
They’re all different in certain aspects, but they all share the key ingredients of Agile project development. What are those ingredients?
Generally speaking, Agile is about focusing on great communication (which translates to many strategic meetings/calls with a pre-planned agenda), and the idea that development should be divided into small, for instance, weekly, timeboxes (sprints).
Do you know the easiest way to annoy a professional software developer?
Ask them for an application cost estimate! (queue the laugh track).
Some of you will know exactly why, but if you’re not sure why that joke works — check out this enlightening short essay by Michael Wolfe, a serial entrepreneur and founder of over five commercially successful startups:
In all seriousness, estimating the costs of building a web application is trickier the less information you have. It’s hard to say exactly how many work hours and how much money is necessary if you don’t know anything about the project except the elevator pitch.
But you can get a general idea of the potential cost if you look at average production and maintenance costs for common types of projects.
It’s hard to find any solid data or universal framework for estimating development costs. We have to make do with what we were able to find.
How much does Ruby development cost? For a general idea, here’s a very simple reference guide of how much certain projects cost on average. Here it is:
Yes, it does. Ruby on Rails gives certain points of leverage when it comes to managing your production budget.
Time efficiency - Ruby on Rails contains many ready-made plugins and modules, which allow developers not to waste time on writing the code from scratch. On average, Ruby on Rails developers build applications 30–40 percent faster than teams using other programming languages and frameworks. Every hour less than developers work means more money in your budget.
No licensing costs - Since Ruby on Rails is an open-source, distributed under the MIT license, you will not be paying for usage of the framework.
Community support - RoR has a huge community of developers who continue to create and publish new gems. These are also open-sourced and free to use. The active community also means that if you have a problem with your code, most likely there is someone on Reddit/Slack/Discord ready to help you out.
WYSIWYG text editors
input data validation
view generation (templating engine)
caching (so app can even load faster!)
dynamic client updates (websockets)
basic crash reporting (e.g. to email)
The basic answer is “it depends.” Depends on how big your application is, how complex, how many people are working on it, how many users it has, and endless other factors.
But there are certain basic costs that will appear in virtually all Rails web app projects. These include:
We do not say that Ruby on Rails will get you more money.
You still need to spend, covering the cost of your team (developers, project managers, designers, and so on), assets, and maintaining the app after it’s done.
But Ruby on Rails will certainly help you find cost optimizing opportunities when it comes to building your next web product. The great amount of ready-to-use gems and premade solutions is one of the most important reasons why you should go with Ruby. Of course, the scale of the gain heavily depends on the complexity of the project and the number of innovative solutions you would like to implement in the project. For some of them, you will need to build on your own.
But with Ruby on Rails, you will never have to reinvent the wheel.
And the RoR community already invented a solid amount of different wheels.
There are many paths to mastering the art and philosophy of the Ruby on Rails framework, and Ruby on Rails development.
For professional developers who already have experience building applications in Ruby, Python, or PHP, adapting to Rails should be quite easy. After getting to know Ruby, going into Rails should mostly be a matter of:
However, if you’re not a master programmer who can switch between languages and frameworks without blinking an eye, or you’re at the very beginning of your professional software development journey, here’s everything you need to become a skilled Rails developer.
Before you get into Rails, you need to learn the rudimentary technologies of modern web development, including:
And how can you learn these things? One of the best resources for beginner programmers is FreeCodeCamp. It’s an interactive in-browser coding course. You sign-up, you instantly start coding, and the curriculum takes you through everything you need to know to become a professional developer — including, but not limited to, everything listed above.
What’s more, at the end of the course, you will receive a certificate, along with your first professional projects to quickly build up your portfolio. Did I mention that it’s all for free? Oh, and there’s an insanely helpful community there as well. If you’re just starting out with a goal to build web applications for a living, there really is no better way to do it than FreeCodeCamp:
If you’ve got the money for it, you can also go for paid courses like Codecademy and literally thousands of similar courses around the web. Most of them pale in comparison to what you get at FreeCodeCamp for free, but they might offer additional resources to expand your knowledge.
The most important thing here is to take your time. Building modern web applications is not rocket science, but it’s also not gathering potatoes in the field. There’s a reason why developer salaries are so hugely disproportionate to other professions — it takes a lot of hard work to learn the necessary skills.
You’ll increase your chances if you take it slow. Be patient, and don’t expect to start earning the big bucks that programmers do within a few months. It will take you at least a year to master the foundations of web development if you’re coming into this with no prior experience or knowledge.
After you’ve mastered the basics, you can start thinking about getting into Ruby on Rails.
Is it possible for someone with basic web development skills to set up the Ruby on Rails environment and build an application? It definitely is! Is it a good way to learn? Definitely NOT!
Sorry, but you need to learn Ruby first. There’s no way around it. You don’t need to master it before you start using Rails, but you do need to get an understanding of how it works and get some practice time with building different things using this language.
Here are some resources that will help you:
With a strong foundation of basic web development skills, plus an understanding of, and experience in using Ruby, you’ll be ready to enter the world of Ruby on Rails. Which is a great world to be in, looking at the average Ruby on Rails developer salary. Is Ruby on Rails worth learning? Very much so!
One of the best courses is the Ruby on Rails Tutorial by Michael Hartl. It’s a pretty long course for building Rails applications, which in this case is a good thing because you don’t want to rush your learning. Finishing this course will enable you to start building applications in Rails, but there’s much more to learn!
You need to learn about all the different elements that make up Rails (like l18n and ActiveJob) as well as get accustomed to using gems. These resources will help you do so:
Another thing you might want to do is browse Rails applications on GitHub or other code repositories, and analyze how they’re made. Here are a few links to get you started:
As a final note — don’t try to go through all of the educational materials, or read all of the blogs on RoR. Once you’re able to start confidently building Rails applications, you should focus on practicing as much as you can (actually writing code), and use educational materials and the community to get unstuck whenever you’re not sure of the code you’re writing.
If you’re wondering which companies use Ruby on Rails, and which popular sites are actually Ruby on Rails websites, look no further — here are some of our favorite popular Ruby on Rails websites.
If you work in web and application development — you know GitHub. It is the most popular software hosting service with a gigantic open-source library.
The service is now used by 1.8 million businesses, start-ups, and software development companies. It is also supported by the amazing community of 28 million software developers who have contributed over 85 million repositories so far.
The Github frontend went through many changes, and throughout the year, Github devs used different JS libraries (Pjax, jQuery, and more) now focusing solely on Vanilla JS.
But the back-end is still pure Ruby.
Shopify is an e-commerce software platform with over 600,000 online retailers. It provides them with an easy to configure the framework to do business on the internet and sell online. The platform allows its clients to create their own shopping experience thanks to tons of easily customizable themes.
Shopify is probably one of the most successful Ruby on Rails-based tech companies worldwide. They have been scaling massively within the framework. Simon Eskildsen from Shopify boasted about being able to address 80,000 requests per second. They also use the Liquid templating language for the front end and Turbograft, their hard fork of Turbolinks.
You probably know this one. It’s one of the most popular online coding bootcamps, offering courses on Ruby along with 11 other programming languages.
The company has raised $47.5 million in four funding rounds, the latest one was closed in 2016.
A very valuable tool, which was made evident by the 2012 $1.2 Billion acquisition by Microsoft. It is a social networking toolset for the modern enterprise, which makes it easier for employees to collaborate in real-time regardless of where they’re located, which department they work in, or what type of applications they’re using.
Yammer offers apps for web, desktop, and mobile, and it can be integrated with other enterprise software. It was originally founded in 2008, and it has grown to 7 million users. It uses Rails, Java, and Node.js in its tech stack.
Many adventures may not have happened if it weren’t for this app and the immense value that it has introduced to the worldwide community of travelers. It is one of the world’s greatest startup stories, where the hard work of the founders paid off immensely, and resulted in the disruption of a whole industry.
With 4,500,000 listings in over 65,000 cities in 191 countries, Airbnb offers the widest variety of unique spaces for everyone, at any price point around the globe. The project has raised $4.4 billion in 12 rounds, the last one closed in 2017.
Most developers will know Heroku, one of the most popular cloud application platforms. Now Salesforce-owned (since 2011), it was initially founded in July 2007.
With support for multiple programming languages, including Ruby, Java, Node.js, Python, PHP, and Scala, it gives developers a very straightforward way to get their products to market quickly. It reduces a lot of the typical problems that come with deploying, scaling, and managing applications.
It is built on a relatively tight tech stack, written in Ruby on Rails along with Go and Erlang. Before it was acquired by Salesforce, the team had managed to raise $13 million in three rounds of funding in just three years.
Founded in 2010, Fiverr is a unique platform for listing and buying freelance services of all types — from typical things like copywriting, to weird things like ordering videos with a custom message recorded by a guy who dresses like Jesus.
It lists over 3,000,000 services across 100 various categories, from people in 196 countries. It has a place among the 400 top websites in the world according to Alexa.com. The tech stack consists of a lot of technologies, and Ruby on Rails is one of them.
The company has raised $111 million in five rounds of funding.
Available on mobile devices as well as in browsers, Scribd is an app that opens up access to a huge collection of books, audiobooks, documents, press articles, and other types of literary content. It is the biggest community-driven online library of its kind.
It was founded in 2005, and it grew to over 100 million active users monthly. The project raised $47.8 million in six funding rounds, the latest closed in 2015.
The tech stack consists of Ruby on Rails, along with React and Backbone.js, among other technologies.
This platform is the world’s leader in streaming for gamers. It powers the biggest events in the esports scene and also lends its infrastructure to provide live and on-demand content in cooperation with media, publishers, and game creators.
It is the main place where gamers go to the stream and watch others not just play but also lead their daily lives, go to the gym, and much more. The content on this platform has evolved a lot since its creation in 2007.
Twitch has raised $35 million in two rounds of funding, the latest one closed in 2013. It was acquired by Amazon in 2014 for $970 million. The tech stack here is a mix of C++, Ruby on Rails, Go, and Ember.js, among other technologies.
Founded in 2010, it is a kind of social platform that connects angel investors and potential employees with startups. It has raised $26.2 million in eight rounds of funding, the latest one closed in 2015.
Groupon is a website that offers discounts and gift cards from local companies as well as enterprises. It’s a niche type of e-commerce company, and since its creation in 2008, it has grown to become one of the biggest sites of its type.
The tech stack consists of Ruby on Rails along with Go, JRuby, Java, Clojure, Scala, and several other technologies. It is available in 48 countries. Groupon has raised $1.4 billion in seven rounds of funding, the latest closed in 2016.
In our opinion, this is one of the best Ruby on Rails company websites. This amazing platform allows you to seek funding for your project or support other people's ideas.
Almost 150,000 projects were successfully funded via Kickstarter so far, including Oculus Rift and Wasteland 2. We have also seen much weirder projects, e.g. combat kitchenware (a frying pan attached to a sword) or digging a hole without any reason whatsoever.
Kickstarter is one of our favorites RoR-based websites in terms of UX/UI design with a user-friendly interface and intuitive user path. The service itself was built with the Ruby on Rails framework and Perl language with the main libraries being jQuery, React, and History.js.
If you’re not a photographer, you probably don’t know it — but trust me, it’s a big one for the industry.
It’s the world’s leading community and toolset for aspiring & professional photographers to publish their work, get recognized, and get paid for it through a network of exclusive distribution partners. The site provides a way for photographers to build a portfolio, as well as tools to better understand trends and one’s own photography.
It was founded in 2009, and is now host to over 15,000,000 users from 195 countries, helping them make a living from their craft. The project has raised $22.3 million in seven rounds of funding, the latest one closed in 2015.
This web application uses Rails in combination with Node.js, Python, and Go, among other technologies.
Sixteen years have passed since the release of the first version of the Ruby on Rails Web Development framework. In the internet world, it’s a whole era in which a product can rise in popularity and then slowly fade away.
But it didn’t happen to Ruby on Rails. It is now a truly mature technology, actively developed by a team of dedicated creators and supported by a great community. The huge amount of work put into the framework resulted in Ruby on Rails being one of the best thought-through backend technologies available on the market.
The long history of Ruby on Rails development gives a set of advantages:
What’s more important is that Ruby on Rails core team is still working on the updates for the framework (more on this in the next section). If you want to take a close look at what exactly is being done with Ruby on Rails at the moment, you can go ahead and analyze the Rails Github page, where you’ll find all the info you need, down to every single change that was made to RoR across the years.
What demonstrates the popularity even better are the numbers:
By the end of 2020, Rails 6.1 has been released, and wow, it has a lot of great stuff! Over the past few months, the devs have been working hard to improve several databases, add support for eliminating associations in jobs rather than in memory, converting errors to objects, and more.
It's amazing how Rails has grown over the years, and while it still needs some improvements to the customization process, Rails has never been better. The features in this release focus on adding features you need to keep your application running smoothly for years to come.
Let's take a look at some of the new features:
Rails 6.1 gives you the ability to switch connections for each database. In 6.0, if you switched to the read role, all database connections also switched to the read role. Now, in version 6.1, if you set legacy_connection_handling to false in your configuration, Rails will allow you to switch connections for one database by calling connected_to on the appropriate abstract class.
Rails 6.0 provided functional separation (multiple partitions, different schemas) of your database, but could not support horizontal sharding (same schema, multiple partitions). Rails cannot support horizontal sharding because models in Active Record can only have one connection per role per class. This has now been fixed and horizontal sharding is available with Rails.
In addition to adding support for horizontal sharding, the developers have added many new features and improved many internals for multiple databases.
You can find more info about it on the official Ruby on Rails website.
For now - we wait. But we will update this section as soon as new versions of Rails are released!
It is hard to predict the future in the long run when it comes to development frameworks. But the future looks bright.
The Ruby community is important as well — people will continuously create new gems and support the product itself. Most of the new frameworks can’t count on this kind of support from their users.
Let’s also not forget the huge amount of apps already written in Ruby on Rails. They will be developed and maintained as well, which will create ongoing demand for new solutions, updates, and Ruby on Rails specialists on the market.
Overall, Rails is still going strong, and the demand for Ruby on Rails developers is here to stay. It’s one of the most popular technologies for custom web application development. As a Ruby on Rails development company, we can proudly say that it is our favorite technology.
And for the non-believers who’d rather look at popularity numbers instead of digging into the subject matter, we have an opinion from Avi Flombaum, Organizer of NYC on Rails. It was originally written in answer to a 2016 Quora question about the decline of Rails, but it continues to be relevant:
We can’t tell you for sure whether you should, or shouldn’t use Ruby on Rails in your product’s tech stack. There are too many variables to consider, and it depends on the unique context of your project.
If you are a startup, there are plenty of areas where Ruby on Rails can come in handy. If you just start building your product, Ruby makes it fast to bootstrap and get an MVP running.
If you are a product owner of an existing product, especially if it’s eCommerce or SaaS, you may consider switching to Ruby as well. It gives you great performance, provides an amazing user experience, and high levels of security.
If you’re a developer looking to sharpen your skills and increase your earning potential, then learning Ruby, along with Rails should definitely be on your to-do list.
In any other case, if you need additional data to make an informed decision as to whether Ruby on Rails is the right technology for you, your team, or your product, then we have summarized the most important information from this guide, right here in the list below. Hope this helps!
Ruby on Rails one of the best frameworks out there. It has a long history of development and it has been helping companies of all sizes. It is supported by an amazing community and thanks to that, we see a bright future for it.
We hope that this guide has expanded your knowledge about Ruby on Rails. Truly it is one of the most important technologies in web development, and it has helped countless startups produce beautiful, functional, modern applications. Maybe it will help you too?
Hopefully, at this point, your understanding of Ruby on Rails is much deeper and maybe you even start feeling the love towards this framework (as we do!).
We did our best to cover all the important areas connected to Ruby on Rails. But we know that with the growth of the framework, this page will need to grow as well. That’s why you can count on us to constantly update and develop the content so it is always up to date and provides the highest quality of information possible.
In the meantime, you can spread the word about Ruby on Rails by sharing this guide.