Ruby on Rails was first released way back in July 2004 as an open source web application framework written in the Ruby programming language. But it didn’t really take off until two years later when Apple made an announcement that Ruby on Rails would be shipped out with the Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard. Soon it became used by a bunch of developers around the world and was named as the Programming Language of 2006.
However, it didn’t last long as new exciting tools like AngularJS and Node.js took off and Rails’ popularity took a hit two years later. At the time, there were also some scalability issues that hindered its progress. So it was natural to think that Ruby on Rails was more or less dead, but there was about to be another twist in the story.
In early 2015, a whole host of companies started seeking out and adopting the programmer-friendly language and web framework which brought Ruby on Rails back out of the shadows and in the limelight. So today, Ruby on Rails is solidifying its presence in the market rather than dying out.
Why is Ruby on Rails so Popular?
Ruby on Rails’ popularity is directly related to its web application framework which is easy to use, efficient, flexible, and highly customizable. All this together with an efficient content management system enabled developers to accelerate the web development process. Further, they could also do this cost-effectively (as it’s free).
So whether it’s an established company or a startup, it’s easy to see why it can be so popular. Further, they all utilize Ruby on Rails as it makes it easy to build fully functional web applications rapidly and efficiently to get these large scale sites up and running.
If you want to get an idea of its popularity, all you have to do is check out some of your favorite websites (which were all built with Ruby/Rails):
Another reason for the popularity of this programming language is the fact that it really puts the developer first. Further, because you can easily iterate ideas quickly, it’s also ideal for agile software development. So as most tech companies and startups are working on agile methodologies, Ruby on Rails is a perfect fit.
So what cool stuff can you build with it?
1. Complex Websites
For complex websites like large forums, news sites, websites that enable personal customization, and sites that attract heavy traffic, you are better off building it with Rails.
Now you might say: why not build it with PHP? The answer here is simple as PHP is a great solution for a straightforward website with basic functionality. But if your website involves a database, you are asking for trouble if you choose not to use Ruby on Rails.
2. Web Apps
If you want to build cool web apps like Google Hangouts, Rails will be a great option as it will make it easy to enable personalized functionalities.
So why not mobile apps?
You can’t exactly build mobile apps in Rails, but you can build a web application that can be used as a backend for it. Further, you can use RubyMotion which makes it extremely easy to build Android and iOS apps, but it’s not exactly Ruby on Rails.
3. eCommerce Sites
Rails is ideal for building eCommerce sites as it’s agile, swift, scalable, comes with gems or plugins, and requires a lot less coding.
If you check out some of the website examples above, you can be sure that all the tech giants are also in on it.
4. Social Media Websites
If you want to build your own social media platform, you can build it with Rails. Twitter was originally built on Rails but switched to Scala later on.
Further, people have also used Rails to built Twitter bots that can tweet your responses or even notify via text when someone you’re following tweets.
5. Scrape the Web
With Rails, scraping any website on the internet with just a few lines of code is a breeze.
So the coolest thing here is that Ruby on Rails makes development super fast even though Ruby may not be the fastest language around. This is because the speed of writing the code is significantly faster when compared to other programming languages.
Further, a lot of tools are also aimed at ensuring the high quality of code, but it starts with the syntax that makes your code elegant (and uncluttered).
When you compare it to other programming languages, you might also find that Ruby can fit conditional statements in one line instead of three, avoid brackets in method calls, and make multiple assignments (all of which is very cool).