Ruby on Rails (RoR) for Web Development: Pros and Cons

If you’re looking for a time-tested and truly reliable solution for your web development endeavors, you can’t go wrong with Ruby on Rails (RoR). This framework that has already become a classic among developers and businesses of all sizes is the best fit for building robust web applications with less code. This cost-effective and user-friendly tool can be employed from the get-go by both experienced and novice developers alike, which makes it even more appealing.

Nevertheless, as with any web development tool, Ruby on Rails has its downsides and limitations you should familiarize yourself with before using it. So, when is using Ruby on Rails the best bet for you and when should you opt for some alternate solutions.

Below is a brief guide that will help you gain more useful insights into Rails’ uses, advantages, and disadvantages. Let’s dive straight in right now.

What is Ruby on Rails used for?

Ruby Programming Language

Now that the global software development market is inundated with thousands of tools that help create mobile, desktop, and web apps within the shortest possible time, it’s really hard to decide in favor of a single solution. So, why should you opt for RoR now that you can choose among a variety of frameworks and programming languages available? Well, let’s try to figure out what Ruby on Rails is in the first place.

Essentially, Ruby on Rails represents a web development solution that provides users with a framework that serves as a template based on which developers can subsequently create code for their projects. With this framework, you can build websites and apps faster, since it eliminates the need for writing a lot of code by simplifying repetitive tasks.

The Ruby framework was designed with a noble purpose in mind. Rails’ philosophy is based on the assumption that coding can be easy and fun without compromising on the quality of end products.

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Today, Rails is successfully used for building various business applications, including dating websites, online stores, e-commerce platforms, SaaS solutions, social networking websites, and many more. RoR is highly popular with modern developers and industries that seek to scale without much investment. The simplicity of its prototyping makes the framework in question the best bet for startups, non-profits, and established businesses alike. Currently, there are more than 900,000 live websites created with Rails worldwide, and this number is projected to grow.

Among those companies that have already appreciated the potential and versatility of the Rails framework are Hulu, Basecamp, Goodreads, Airbnb, Shopify, and others. And there are still a lot of companies looking for Rails developers. The low learning curve combined with high demand makes RoR hugely appealing to up-and-coming developers.

So, why don’t you also tap into the power of Rails, as well?

Benefits of Ruby on Rails architecture for teams 


One of RoR’s essential features is Model-View-Controller. This is an architecture that helps developers reuse their code, as well as work on parallel development. So, essentially the software of the framework in question gets divided into three parts. You have the model, the view, and the controller. These three components are decoupled, which enables developers to work on separate parts simultaneously. Thus, Ruby on Rails presents teams with a great opportunity to build their software faster and more efficiently, as compared to other popular frameworks. What’s more, you can reuse the code for other applications and thus save even more time.

So, everything starts with a user, who will make a request for the controller. The controller has just one task to do, so for that, it will go to the model, where the change will actually occur. Then, the model will send that information back to the controller, which, in its turn, will take that over the view. And finally, the display will be seen by the user.

Now there are two big advantages to developers using this type of architecture. The first is reusable code. So, because the controller is assigned only one task to perform, that independent component can be used and pulled into another context. Also, since the three components are decoupled, you can have different parts of your team working on different app sections at the same time.

Now we have the second component – Conventions over Configurations. In layman terms, this component means that a framework like Ruby on Rails comes with the situations that have already been coded, so your team can either choose to adapt or skip them. Basically, it means that you have pre-built features at your disposal. They come stocked and out-of-the-box, which makes for really comfortable development.

Why opt for RoR?


As you might have already guessed, Rails’ advantages are manifold and indisputable.

First of all, Ruby on Rails is a very cost-effective solution, which won’t require you to spend a bundle on a license and plugins.

As noted above, Ruby on Rails allows accelerating the development process compared to other popular frameworks and languages. Its object-oriented features and open-source code enable developers to deliver quality projects in less time.

Not only do Rails ensure quicker delivery, but also afford quicker adjustments. Thanks to its robust testing tools, RoR reduces the amount of time you usually spend testing your end product.

Code generated by RoR is praised for readability. Its self-documenting tools spare coders the bother of creating separate documentation and allow moving between different RoR projects.

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With Rails, you can quickly create data backups, handle data recovery, and file replication. It allows tailoring your current app and websites to constantly changing business needs and market requirements. Should you want to implement new features, update the existing ones, or enhance your app’s functionality, you can take advantage of Rails’ vast array of tools and modules. Thus, you’ll future-proof your solution and make it more competitive. What’s more, RoR makes it possible to remove various elements or redefine them if need be. Likewise, individual parts of your application can be modified and expanded later on.

If you experience any difficulty when writing code in RoR, you shouldn’t get frustrated. What is great about using this framework is that you can avail yourself of the vast support of the Ruby community. Since, Ruby is positioned as an open-source framework, which can be used virtually by any newbie, its developers encourage the flow of expertise and knowledge sharing. More and more coders join the bandwagon and contribute their unique code to Rails, following the example of others. Should you look for support from RoR mentors or want to contribute your own code, set up a GitHub account and embark upon a fascinating Rails journey.

Last, but not least, Rails can go a long way towards helping your app comply with strict web standards. With this framework, not only can you quickly build every software component, but also make your product more accessible and usable for customers.

Cons of RoR to consider and overcome


Unfortunately, you may experience difficulty hosting your apps or sites created using RoR, since some web hosts still gravitate towards less resource-intensive solutions like Hypertext Preprocessor (i.e. PHP). But there’s an easy solution to this problem. Lots of companies opt for virtual private servers to host their RoR apps. Such servers empower you to execute full control of your apps and provide all the tools necessary for their maintenance.

Some people are reluctant to rely on RoR for developing their business solutions because they are not sure they can find experienced RoR professionals. Of course, such languages as PHP and Java remain indisputable favorites when it comes to developing web apps. And there is no difficulty in choosing the right developer. That being said, the number of coders using Rails is growing day by day. So, you should put aside your fears, since you can easily land an experienced developer well-versed in RoR.

It’s important to note that Rails apps are inferior to their C or Java counterparts in terms of performance. But if you run your solution under JRuby, you can speed up your solution and make it as powerful as those developed in Java.

Finally, lots of people that have recently started using RoR for their projects wonder what will happen if they make a mistake when writing code in RoR. In other words, what is the cost you would need to pay for your programming error? The price of a mistake in developing with Ruby on Rails is inextricably linked with performance time.

However, if you make a wrong decision or write irrelevant code at the initial stage of your development process, this can hugely affect the overall speed of your app. What’s more, this can lead to disrupted connections between different parts of your product, which is definitely the last thing you want. That is why you should be vigilant and attentive when crafting code for your product.

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Final Words


Now that you know so much about Ruby on Rails, why not use it for your future projects?

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Published By: Souvik Banerjee

Souvik BanerjeeWeb developer and SEO specialist with 20+ years of experience in open-source web development, digital marketing, and search engine optimization. He is also the moderator of this blog "RS Web Solutions (RSWEBSOLS)".