As Ruby on Rails (RoR) nears its ten year anniversary, the framework is looking more popular and grown up than ever. The list of achievements the framework has amassed is impressive: you don’t need to look further than the growing list of successful web applications built on RoR. RoR is where the web is now and where it’s heading.
RoR is an open-source web application framework for the ruby language. RoR covers both front and back end development needs: from providing a template system for handling page sections and layouts, to handing database communications, to processing Ajax updates, and more. RoR is a full-package deal for web development.
Applications developed on RoR are in not special; the same functionality can be achieved using well established languages and platforms built on Python, PHP, .NET, JAVA, etc. The reason RoR continues to lead the way is because it offers one of the most productive and easy ways for building web application.
One of RoR’s guiding principles is “don’t repeat yourself”. This is not a catchphrase best-practice or tongue-in-cheek mantra. RoR is designed to reduce the amount of code a developer needs to write to go from wireframe to launch. Why reinvent the wheel? Code should be re-used whenever possible to speed up development and reduce costs.
This principle is best represented by RoR’s out-of-the-box readiness. RoR comes loaded with libraries for database access, templating frameworks, session management, and more. In addition, developers benefit from RoR’s active, gem-sharing community. Gems are applications and libraries that community developers make available to the public. Smart platform design and a dedicated community makes it possible to reduce costs without sacrificing performance, speed, or security.
Without getting too technical, it’s best to let RoR work speak for itself. Here is a short list of some highly successful web applications developed on RoR:
Harvest was one of the first SaaS applications to take advantage of RoR. Today, Harvest is one of the leaders in the time tracking software space. Harvest provides tools for invoicing, time tracking, and time-based reporting. Since 2006, the platform has evolved to support client applications written in different languages and numerous third-party integrations while serving tens of millions requests per day. Harvest demonstrates the power of RoR to scale and serve very large numbers of users.
Groupon is a global leader in the local commerce, offering daily deals to a wide range of markets. If enough subscribers sign up for an offer, that deal becomes available to everyone. Groupon came out in 2008 offering local deals in Chicago. Four years later, the company has expanded into cities all around the world, helping consumers find deals in their neighborhoods. RoR was instrumental to the success of the company. Combined with the innovative idea, the simple, user-friendly design of the website helped Groupon skyrocket in popularity.
Hulu is one of the most popular websites for streaming TV shows and movies. The online video service was created in 2007 and today is considered one of the major players in its field. RoR has helped Hulu manage and organize its large media library into an attractive and easy to navigate user interface that readily scales across different system.
Safeharbor was one of the first companies to take knowledge base functionality to the cloud. Safeharbor’s SmartSupport knowledge base software relies on RoR to make self-service fast and user-friendly. The framework makes it extremely easy to create custom support portals on the go – a knowledge base can be set up in minutes.
The technical requirements to build and maintain applications that serve high volume of web traffic are substantial. RoR continues to offer phenomenal tools that make development productive and efficient for small start-ups on a tight budget and large enterprises alike. Built on the concept of reusable and easily configurable components, Ruby on Rails is making development cheaper, faster, and easier.
Author: Dmitry Minyaylov