Ruby on Rails (RoR) is a server-side web application framework in the Ruby programming language. It widely features as a solid back-end option for business web platforms. Are you seeking to know the pros and cons of ruby on rails? Keep reading!
RoR devs are also one of the highest earners in the software engineering industry. Although the usage of Ruby on Rails dropped slightly over the last few years, more than 1 million live websites use this framework to build back-ends, e.g., Fiverr, Shopify, Themeforest, Soundcloud, and Airbnb. It’s worth noting that while it’s possible to solve front-end tasks with RoR’s functionality, most companies that provide software development services – Twinslash included – mostly use it like for building server-side parts of web projects.
Let’s learn more about the pros and cons of ruby on rails for web development projects!
Table of Contents
The Essence of Ruby on Rails: 2 Main Principles
Back in the 1990s, Ruby as a programming language developed. A decade and a half later, in 2004, the launch of RoR took place. RoR became popular rapidly because of its high performance compared to Python and PHP.
Before we jump into the pros and cons of ruby on rails, we must understand the foundational principles of RoR:
Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY)
This software paradigm focuses on reducing repetitions of software patterns: it features data normalization. It’s accepted as a rule in Ruby on Rails that every modification and software element should only have a single, authoritative representation.
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Convention Over Configuration (CoC)
Within this paradigm, developers cut the decisions they must make to tell the framework to implement the required logic. The idea is to eliminate unconventional handling of the code without losing its flexibility or compromising DRY principles.
These coding principles aren’t only good for maintaining clear and readable code. They are a great thing for increasing teamwork efficiency and productivity. They are also an asset if the product to be built has to comply with industry standards (in healthcare or fintech) or/and if it’s a large-scale solution that must withstand many changes with grace.
We have now understood the foundations of RoR. Let us look at the pros and cons of ruby on rails!
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5 Pros of Using Ruby on Rails
On this list of pros and cons of ruby on rails, let us first find out the advantages of RoR that gives the companies who utilize it a competitive edge!
Built on MVC Architecture
MVC breaks down the entire structure of the app into three parts. In them, the Model handles data and operations with data. The Controller manages data flows from the server and users and connects the Model to the view. View represents the UI of the app and renders, well, view, in response to user’s requests sent via Controller.
This architectural pattern is common in software engineering frameworks because it enables a modular approach to code editing. The behavior & specifications of each component: M, V, and C – can be set up independently. Changing one doesn’t trigger a domino effect in the others. RoR presents all ‘layers’ of the architecture in separate folders, and engineers can work through tuning each of them quickly and efficiently. MVC, therefore, helps streamline application development.
Lots of Gems and Libraries
RoR, as an open-source framework, comes with tons of third-party libraries and gems – pre-built features and software elements that can be integrated into the code, and the developer can modify it to their liking.
Among the popular gems are gems for various types of testing, database operations, debugging, code analysis, payment processing or authentication features, and more. When developers utilize them, they significantly reduce development time & effort and have more resources to dedicate to creating features unique to the product from scratch.
Created for Fast Prototyping
The next advantage on our list of pros and cons of ruby on rails is fast prototyping!
The creation of Ruby on Rails was done to present a more robust alternative to existing server-side technologies; this was done to give a tool for companies to get on the web faster.
Tools like ActiveRecord – RoR’s Object Relational Mapper – embed the system to add more velocity to, e.g., working with databases. ActiveRecord helps developers interact with the app’s data as if data were a Ruby object instead of having to write code manually to ask the app to call the database.
Other RoR features we’ve discussed – MVC architecture and many pre-built components – and others, like a streamlined package management system and various scripts, make the framework perfect for rapid prototyping.
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A Wide Range of Apps to Build
Many fairly popular web resources built on Ruby on Rails have distinct purposes, visual appearances, and ways to interact with users. Just to mention the scope of projects that can be built on RoR, there are organizers (Basecamp), trading and data analysis platforms (Bloomberg), photo editing platforms (Pixlr), social media platforms (Couchsurfing), project funding services (Kickstarter), e-commerce platform (Shopify), gaming streaming platform (Twitch), help desk (Zendesk), and many others.
As you can see, RoR can handle big projects with lots of real-time interactions going on and more compact web apps. This framework is incredibly versatile.
Cost-Effective Web Development
After all, RoR is an open-source framework. Since the application of subscription, charges does not exist, and libraries and gems are freely available, RoR requires no expenditure to simply run on the website’s back end.
Besides, RoR is favorable for many experienced developers – even though it’s not the #1 back-end technology – and it’s easy to find people who wish to join your team.
Ruby on Rails is open-source and has a solid community with various pre-made tools and features. This makes programming with it faster. It’ll be fair to conclude that RoR is a cost-effective web engineering technology choice.
Now that we have seen the top 5 benefits of RoR let us walk through our list of pros and cons of ruby on rails and understand some disadvantages of ruby on rails!
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5 Cons Of Using Ruby on Rails
Next, on our list of pros and cons of ruby on rails, we shall enumerate some drawbacks of RoR.
As with any other framework, RoR has some disadvantages, so let’s talk about them.
RoR Got Slow Runtime & Boot Speed
Once a software ecosystem becomes larger and overgrows with modifications, additions, libraries, and more, Ruby on Rails might slow down the web’s runtime. While it’s true that projects that deal with large traffic streams may experience performance issues, RoR is still useful for such projects because there is a database- and server architecture tuning that can be done to avoid or mitigate them.
Frustration with RoR’s boot speed is, on the other hand, a concern many engineers have: when filled with many gems and other third-party elements, the RoR programs take quite a bit to start. Currently, the RoR community is fixing this issue by utilizing Spring, a tool for application preloading.
Multithreading Consumes More Resources
With multithreading, a program – or web app, in our case – can run several processes/statements or follow several instructions concurrently. Various requests for the program may be stuck before the one that needs priority without additional tools like GIL.
Resolving this issue – through Global Interpreter Log or other means – takes time and effort from the programmers. That’s a downside for a web app that relies on handling parallel requests efficiently.
Mistakes May Cost You an Arm and a Leg
It’s extremely important to be attentive while working with RoR. This is because every development error tightly connects to the performance level of the entire software solution. For example, making a wrong judgment at the beginning of coding might cause connectivity issues between software components. As a result, substantial performance degradation.
Difficult to Locate Reliable Documentation for Useful Gems
Despite RoR’s extensive forums and many usable libraries and gems, accompanying documentation is not always as fast as pre-created elements. Most popular gems have some documentation available, but less-known yet useful ones often do not. It causes the constant need to check for the required functionality, test the integrity of modifications, etc. This notably slows the development process down.
Though Opinionated, RoR Is Not Flexible
RoR is basically the best solution for ‘standard’ web projects. When you want to be creative with functionality, people often recommend opting for Node.js, Python, or Java. But, it’s important to remember that while RoR handles ‘standard‘ projects extremely well. It is still possible to build unusual web projects with it. It just takes longer. So, consider this factor when deciding what back-end technology to use.
Viola! So, that was our list of ruby’s essential pros and cons on rails!
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RoR is a solid back-end framework that can live up to the expectations of small early-stage startups and large-scale corporate projects. The number of world-famous RoR-based applications is vast. It’s best to utilize RoR in extensive, standardized web platforms.
Developers also love Ruby on Rails – it allows them to be productive and maintain an incredible level of transparency on the project.
We hope you liked our list of the pros and cons of ruby on rails!