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Ruby on Rails Development

Ruby on Rails Development

Ruby on Rails, or Rails, is a server-side web application framework written in Ruby under the MIT License. Rails is a model–view–controller (MVC) framework, providing default structures for a database, a web service, and web pages. It encourages and facilitates the use of web standards such as JSON or XML for data transfer, HTML, CSS and JavaScript for user interfacing. In addition to MVC, Rails emphasizes the use of other well-known software engineering patterns and paradigms, including convention over configuration (CoC), don't repeat yourself (DRY), and the active record pattern.

Ruby on Rails' emergence in the 2000s greatly influenced web app development, through innovative features such as seamless database table creations, migrations, and scaffolding of views to enable rapid application development. Ruby on Rails' influence on other web frameworks remains apparent today, with many frameworks in other languages borrowing its ideas, including Django in Python, Catalyst in Perl, Laravel and CakePHP in PHP, Phoenix in Elixir, Play in Scala, and Sails.js in Node.js.

Ruby on Rails is intended to emphasize Convention over Configuration (CoC), and the Don't Repeat Yourself (DRY) principle.

"Convention over Configuration" means a developer only needs to specify unconventional aspects of the application. For example, if there is a class Sale in the model, the corresponding table in the database is called sales by default. It is only if one deviates from this convention, such as calling the table "products sold", that the developer needs to write code regarding these names. Generally, Ruby on Rails conventions lead to less code and less repetition.

"Don't repeat yourself" means that information is located in a single, unambiguous place. For example, using the ActiveRecord module of Rails, the developer does not need to specify database column names in class definitions. Instead, Ruby on Rails can retrieve this information from the database based on the class name.

"Fat models, skinny controllers" means that most of the application logic should be placed within the model while leaving the controller as light as possible.

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F.A.Q about Ruby on Rails Development

What is Ruby on Rails?

Rails is a development tool that gives web developers a framework, providing structure for all the code they write. The Rails framework helps developers to build websites and applications because it abstracts and simplifies common repetitive tasks.

Rails are written in Ruby, the programming language which is also used alongside Rails. Ruby is to Rails as PHP is to Symfony and Zend, or as Python is to Django. The appeal of Ruby to developers lies in the elegance and terseness of the language.

One of the key principles of Ruby on Rails development (henceforth ‘Rails’) is convention over configuration. This means that the programmer does not have to spend a lot of time configuring files in order to get set up, Rails comes with a set of conventions which help speed up development.

Another characteristic of Rails is the emphasis on RESTful application design. REST (Representational State Transfer) is a style of software architecture based around the client-server relationship. It encourages a logical structure within applications, which means they can easily be exposed as an API (Application Programming Interface).

From a project management point of view, the Ruby on Rails community advocate Agile web development – an iterative development method, that encourages collaborative and flexible approach, which is particularly well-suited for web application development with fast-changing requirements.

Over the last few years Ruby on Rails has gained a large and enthusiastic following, but let’s consider the main arguments for and against Rails.

Why is it necessary to use Ruby on Rails?

  • The process of programming is much faster than with other frameworks and languages, partly because of the object-oriented nature of Ruby and the vast collection of open source code available within the Rails community.
  • The Rails conventions also make it easy for developers to move between different Rails projects, as each project will tend to follow the same structure and coding practices.
  • Rails are good for rapid application development (RAD), as the framework makes it easy to accommodate changes.
  • Ruby code is very readable and mostly self-documenting. This increases productivity, as there is less need to write out separate documentation, making it easier for other developers to pick up existing projects.
  • Rails have developed a strong focus on testing and have good testing frameworks.
  • Rails and most of its libraries are open sources, so unlike other commercial development frameworks, there are no licensing costs involved.

Potential Rails problems and limitations and how to overcome them:

  • Not all website hosts can support Rails
  • Java and PHP are more widely used, and there are more developers in these languages
  • Performance and Scalability