Technologies : Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails coders based in Brighton, East Sussex

First appearing in 2004, Ruby on Rails is relatively new compared to more established web technologies like Java and PHP. But Rails has quickly established itself as the framework of choice for many web application developers.

There are good reasons for this; Rails enables us to create complex database driven websites quicker than ever before. Rails is organised in a way that makes programmers more productive and better able to respond to your requirements as your business needs change over time. And it provides a great framework for automated testing - which leads to exceptionally reliable finished products.

For a very brief introduction to Ruby on Rails and why it might be a suitable platform for your project, read on. If you'd like to get some friendly expert advice or a costing estimate for your project, please contact us at our Brighton & Hove office.

Ruby? Rails?

The Ruby logo

Ruby on Rails? How did such a strange name come about? Ruby is a programming language which was developed in the 1990s (so it was around for a few years before Rails arrived on the scene). Whereas Rails, or Ruby on Rails, is what's known as a ‘web application framework’. And a framework is essentially a set of extra tools designed around a programming language (in this case Ruby) to enable us to build web applications. So for example, Rails has great support for creating and running automated tests of your web application, and other exciting features that make a web developer's day go smoothly.

Why use Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails is a great fit for many projects. It allows us to:

  • Prototype a web application incredibly quickly, and then quickly evolve that prototype into a polished webapp, without throwing any of the prototype away. The bottom line is faster, more cost-effective development.
  • Respond quickly and effectively to changing requirements in a web development project. Ruby on Rails is a fantastic platform for agile web development.
  • Easily create nice feelgood url schemes that help your site perform well in search engines ('SEO').
  • Rails lets us create web applications that are easy to deploy (or re-deploy) and web applications that scale up nicely when your traffic increases.
  • Rails facilitates (and encourages) test-driven development. The bottom line? Your web applciation will be more reliable and robust.

Rails is a Model View Controller framework. This means that as a programmer there are a set of conventions you follow in order to get things done. This makes it easier for individuals to slot in and out of projects as needed. The bottom line? Your web project stays on track no matter what happens.

Other options

Ruby on Rails is generally a great choice for a new web application project. Some situations where Rails might not be the right choice are...

  • Enterprise web apps that need to integrate with existing databases and/or legacy code.
  • Small simple websites that need to be hosted on a shared server that doesn't support Rails

For situations like these, Java or PHP might be a good alternative.