If you asked us to describe the Ruby on Rails framework in a few words, we would say something like “startup friendly, flexible, well-supported.” We’re not alone in these opinions: the creators of Twitter, Airbnb, Shopify, Twitch, Zendesk and many more successful startups are using Ruby on Rails to build their websites. In this post, we’d like to talk in detail about the benefits of Ruby on Rails for your business and inspire you to build your own startup on Rails.
Ruby on Rails is Time-efficient
Ruby on Rails is strongly associated with startups, which should come as no surprise. As a framework, Ruby on Rails contains many ready-made plugins and modules that allow developers to start building a web app without writing boilerplate code. On average, Ruby on Rails teams build applications 30-40% faster than teams using other programming languages and frameworks.
Another advantage of Ruby on Rails (or a similar framework) is consistency. With Ruby on Rails, your developers will follow standardized file storage and programming conventions (such as naming and pluralization) that keep your project structured and readable. A readable and maintainable codebase means that your developers will require less time to update code in the future.
Moreover, Ruby on Rails is based on an MVC (Model–View–Controller) design pattern, which supports rapid project development. The MVC pattern, by facilitating parallel development, allows teams to work efficiently; one developer can work on controllers while another works on models, for instance. This workflow allows teams to develop applications up to three times faster than with other design patterns.
An MVC pattern also suggests separating out the business logic of an application so that it’s not spread across multiple MVC components. This means that strictly following an MVC pattern prevents developers from creating both redundant code and spaghetti code ‒ intricate and unreadable. The MVC pattern results in a maintainable codebase that is easy to read and easy for other development teams to pick up.
Ruby on Rails is Cost-effective
Most startups experience the same problems: time constraints and tight budgets. We already addressed why Ruby on Rails is time-efficient. Naturally, development time directly affects your project’s cost. There are a few additional reasons why Rails is a cost-effective solution, however.
First, Ruby on Rails is an open source framework distributed under the MIT license, which means that you won’t spend a single dollar on the framework itself. Second, you’ll be impressed by the selection of gems ‒ special libraries that allow developers to add any functionality from authorization and authentication to file uploading and payments. On GitHub, a platform where developers share open source code, you can find gems for any purpose and download them for free. Since gems make it possible to add features without developing them from scratch, they can save plenty of developer time and effort, which translates into faster product development. Finally, Rails promotes good coding practices, resulting in superior quality. This means that your development team will spend less time finding and fixing bugs and deliver your project much quickly.
Ruby on Rails is about Quality
Every IT startup strives for excellent quality ‒ zero bugs and issues that disappoint end-users. Ruby on Rails promotes bug-free development; the Minitest tool is even built into the Rails core. Minitest is a comprehensive test suite that provides many useful testing features including expectation syntax, test benchmarking, and mocking.
In addition, Ruby on Rails encourages test driven development (TDD) and behavior-driven development (BDD) approaches. Both TDD and BDD preach the principle of writing automated tests first and coding after. These approaches, provided they are strictly followed, guarantee 100% code coverage with tests and a well-elaborated software architecture.
Moreover, test driven development not only ensures excellent software quality, but also effectively cuts down development costs by reducing development time and preventing bugs. If you’re interested in finding out more about the advantages of TDD for your project, check out our article “How TDD Helps You Cut Development Costs.”
Ruby on Rails focuses on software engineering best practices like no other framework. For instance, the Rails developer community preaches code simplicity and adheres to the KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid!) and DRY (“Don’t Repeat Yourself”) principles. As a result, web applications built with Ruby on Rails boast consistent, maintainable, and testable code.
Ruby on Rails is Scalable
When building an IT startup, you need to think about scalability. Scalability is the potential to ramp up your service to handle increased loads, meaning more requests per minute. Getting lots of visitors is what any web or a mobile application strives for. This is why you should prepare in advance and make sure that your website can cope with all the visitors you’re hoping to attract.
Shopify, an ecommerce platform that powers online stores and POS systems, is likely the most cited example of a scalable IT product built with Ruby on Rails. Recently, Tobias Lütke, Shopify’s CEO, wrote on his Twitter account:
Today, according to their official website, Shopify processes 4 million requests per second. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it?
Surely, scalability doesn’t exclusively depend on your framework. Your deployment strategy and system and database architecture also play an important role in scaling an app. But Rails does have great scaling potential. For starters, Rails is characterized by modularity, which entails dividing the system into modules and gems. Let’s say we have an application in which database queries take too many resources. With Rails, you can divide that application into functional blocks (micro-services) and even move a database to a separate server or Amazon RDS. This means that you can scale your app horizontally to accommodate more requests. You can read our article about possible ways of scaling your Ruby on Rails applications for more detailed information.
Ruby on Rails is Supported
It’s a fact: Rails has one of the most vibrant and active communities in the programming world. Rubyists write blogs and books and organize meetups and conferences. They take part in hackathons (events for collaborative software creation) and are always happy to share what they’ve learned.
Probably, we can explain this devotion by saying that Ruby on Rails is an open source framework. Open source software (OSS) is built by enthusiasts in a collaborative manner and, as a rule, is distributed for free. The motto of OSS creators is to make the world a better place by sharing knowledge and code with each other. Rails is supported by thousands of developers all over the world. In fact, this community updates the technologies so rapidly that it pushes the whole software development industry forward.
In terms of your own project, this community not only can help to address problems quickly, but can also offer lots of useful, well-documented, and tested plugins and modules for every possible need (e.g. authentication systems, comment systems, email).
Ruby on Rails is Secure
Special attention is paid to security in the Ruby on Rails framework. Some security features are built into the framework and enabled by default. Using Ruby on Rails also means following the Secure Development Lifecycle, which is a complex security assurance process.
Finally, the large developer community always keeps Ruby on Rails up-to-date and tests the security of Ruby plugins and applications prior to release, which makes Ruby on Rails a generally safe environment.
It turns out that there’s no other equally advanced technology for creating online products or services that can be compared to Ruby on Rails. Besides, Ruby on Rails is not only about the technology, but also about the efficient workflow and ability to create truly awesome products.
It’s no surprise that Ruby plays such an important role in our work. So important, in fact, that we decided to name our company RubyGarage.