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Why you should learn Ruby on Rails?

7 min read

In 2019, back-end web developers had an ample amount of server-side frameworks to choose from. Like, Express on Node.js; Django on Python; Ruby on Rails; Laravel/CodeIgniter/Symfony on PHP and last but not the least Spring on Java.

While Ruby on Rails is almost 15 years old, really old, it’s nowhere close to passing on from the world of programming. If we search ‘state of ruby language’ in Google, we will get results like ruby is dying, decreasing the popularity of ruby. Still, I believe it’s an extremely mature technology, so it makes perfect sense to use it in certain cases where it offers a better fit than any other technology and still remains a good technology to choose.

Ruby on Rails is a breakthrough in lowering the barriers of entry to programming. Powerful web applications that formerly might have taken weeks or months to develop can be produced in a matter of days.Tim O’Reilly, Founder of O’Reilly Media

Let’s review some major reasons why you should learn Ruby on Rails:

    1. Ruby is still in the race of top 10 programming languages

      Ruby is still featured among GitHub’s top programming languages of 2020. Large enterprises like Airbnb, Shopify and GitHub are using Ruby on Rails. In fact, cloud computing giant AWS added Ruby to its serverless computing solution - AWS Lambda which is indeed a big thing for a 15 years old technology. It clearly shows that Ruby is far from dying, especially due to the vast amount of existing projects that have to be maintained and extended.

    2. Quick development process

      Rails is very fast to develop web applications. Ruby on Rails also is one of the most popular technologies to build MVP nowadays. Rails’ major objectives are a programmer’s comfort and productivity, which in turn allow for rapid app development. Developers who use Ruby on Rails can build applications about 40% faster than teams that use other stacks.

    3. Community is Active

      The Rails framework has almost 4000 contributors on GitHub. Developers create new gems and updates frequently to the existing code to ensure that the applications created using Rails can be developed easily. There are over 3,00,000 questions over Stack Overflow for this particular technology and we can easily find a solution for a problem.

      “There’s a gem for everything” - Ruby is famous for its massive library of gems. Most of them are free for commercial use! A developer just needs to focus on actual logic without caring about minor but sometimes necessary implementations.

    4. Constantly evolves

      With updates at least twice a year, Ruby creators make sure the language doesn’t die. In 2020, they are introducing Ruby 3 and expected to introduce some great improvements that can make Ruby significantly faster.

    5. Great for Start-ups

      Ruby on Rails has always been a great fit for startups as it can help any company that would like to deliver software products faster (as soon as possible). In startups faster development means better savings with a limited budget. On the other hand, large-scale projects also can benefit from Ruby on Rails. Because it is easy and quick to build and extend applications with Ruby on Rails.

    6. Beautiful and Readable code

      Ruby on Rails has it’s conventions that are easy and better to follow than to create our own. Such conventions allow writing beautiful and readable code, which can be well understood and be extended by fellow team members. Though whenever needed we can override those conventions by applying our own configurations.

Why do people think Ruby on Rails is Dead?

There is not a particular answer to this question. But we still can try. We can see a slight decrease when it comes to the release of new learning material by the community. Rails has slower runtime speed compared to Node.js or Golang but can be noticeable with huge systems with large-scale traffic. With a well-thought-out architecture and infrastructure, even huge apps, or their parts, written in Rails can be fast. Examples include Basecamp, Airbnb, or GitHub.

The appearance of new languages and frameworks better suited for particular applications forced Ruby to share its part of the cake with the new players. Languages that are much less resource-intensive, languages providing efficient libraries for specialized solutions related to ML/AI or other new concepts - Ruby cannot compete with them in those areas, at least not yet. It is best to always use the right tool for the right job and Ruby is not one-size-fits-all kind of tool.

Ruby isn’t dying, it’s maturing...

I do agree, Ruby was bad and Rails was slow. But that is not the case in 2019, and won’t be in 2020. Ruby isn’t slow and Rails does scale. If it doesn’t for you, maybe you’ve chosen the wrong tools for the problem you’ve got.

Final words

Even in 2021, Ruby will be a great choice for your development needs. It will still attract new followers and developers. We have seen how Ruby on Rails has established itself as a mature, opinionated web development language. It has managed to remain true to its roots in facilitating the rapid development of web apps for 15 years now.

Rails is the killer app for Ruby.Yukihiro Matsumoto, Creator of Ruby

Last but not least, what should be kept in mind is that there are no ‘bad’ programming languages in and of themselves, there are only badly chosen languages for particular use cases.

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