Is Ruby on Rails Worth Building With?

The Ruby language and the Ruby on Rails framework both remain significant actors in certain sectors of the IT industry and they have strong support from certain players, but that does not necessarily mean that it is the best choice for the job as often, many people resist changing as they are so used to working with a language and framework that they simply do not want to change.

Ruby itself has been around for several decades and Rails has been going strong for at least 10 years, meaning that both have got a number of people on board, but this longevity also means that there are certain gaps starting to show. Over Ruby on Rails??? first decade, the open source web framework gained lots of fans, though while many still remain it does not still have the same support that it once did, fading in comparison to JavaScript frameworks like Node.js and Angular.js. So is it still worth using or is it time to move on? Here we will outline the pluses and minuses of Ruby on Rails

The superb: Rapid Web development (especially for Rails)

One of the major aspects of its inception was to make the programmer???s life easier. Ruby and Ruby on Rails are easy to learn and simple to use though this did not come at the price of performance or features. In other words, it did deliver the best of both worlds and this approach has ensured that for many Ruby and Ruby on Rails have remained to go to as they are great to learn but are still highly functional once someone has become an expert.

With respect to Rails, what this means is that web applications are able to be prototyped in a flash, far faster than could be done in other comparable frameworks. The fast and clever capacity has helped many of the major sites on the web go from a good idea to an internet behemoth in no time, including Twitter, Hulu and many more.

One of the main things that keeps Ruby so popular is Rails, as it is one of the most functional and adaptable applications of the language. This can be seen in the jobs on offer, with positions involving Rails occurring far more often than for those people proficient in Ruby alone. Also Dice has illustrated that much of the demand for Ruby expertise is connected with front-end JavaScript skills as well. Ruby on its own is not so popular but with Rails and/or JavaScript it is.

This all suggests that the majority of interest in Ruby comes from business and enterprise demand for Rails. Rails is still be updated and improved, with 4.2 offering a number of performance tweaks as well as prepping for the big overhaul that will be version 5.

The ok: Scripting and libraries

Just as with Python, which is another programming language often talked about in conjunction with Ruby, many programmers find that Ruby is good for automating tasks or pulling together functionality from a variety of aspects within their IT ecosystem. Ruby???s 6400 ???gems???, or software packages, are able to be easily installed from the command line and SDKs for the third party services and applications are just about always included in Ruby libraries or wrappers so that they are easily accessible from Ruby apps.

However, while Python has an ongoing currency in specialist areas of computing like science and maths, and a massive subculture of users and libraries, Ruby is not so well endowed either in a specialist area or a subculture. While the Ruby team are trying to make up for this with projects such as SciRuby the reality is that Python is still the first choice for most in this areas.

Not so great: However, Ruby is not that great when it comes to projects that demand major scale, speed, or asynchronicity. This is something that is also impacting on Rails. A number of legacy projects in Rails are being struggling with this issues of scale and performance, with the only option being that they need to be rewritten in other languages and frameworks. That is why we are seeing Node.js and Go replacing Rails in some areas.

There have been a number of major switches occur of late, including the mobile app firm Parse. They moved from Ruby to Go because they had experienced a huge amount of growth and their engineers were concerned that they would not be able to scale up using Ruby. Likewise, Twitter, Ruby???s massive success story, has been rewritten using Scala and the front end has been replaced with a Java-based solution.

However, Twitter is at the extreme end of the scale and while Rails has not been suitable for them, there are few other websites that would ever experience the kind of growth they have. However, the reality is that most start-ups do not launch with the belief that they will not grow quickly or big so they are being put off using Rails because of this.

This is a problem even for JRuby, which is a version of Ruby designed to be hosted on the JVM so it delivers speed and ease of use. The Parse team explained that ???JRuby is still basically Ruby, [since] it still has the problem of asynchronous library support … The vast majority of Ruby gems are not asynchronous, and many are not threadsafe, so it was often hard to find a library that did some common task asynchronously.???

This all suggests that the main reason that there is still demand for Ruby and Rails is to maintain the current infrastructure and to replace it rather than for new objects. Still, that means there is demand for both, but this will tail off in the future.

Either way, there’s a heavy ongoing demand for both Ruby and Rails. Even better, it often pays well, as Ruby and Rails developers average around $110,000 nationwide, according to Indeed.com.

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