6 Examples of Ruby on Rails Applications

January 11, 2019 Posted by Apps, News 0 thoughts on “6 Examples of Ruby on Rails Applications”

Whether you’re new to coding and trying to get the lay of the land, or you’re already active in web development and want to learn more, Ruby on Rails can be an elusive topic to pin down. It’s often mentioned in the same breath as coding languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, but when you dig deeper you’ll find it’s not a programming language at all. In order to get a handle on what it actually is, what distinguishes it from other coding skills, and how to go about learning it, I spoke with a group of Ruby on Rails developers.

While all frameworks by their nature help to make the development of complex websites more manageable, Jasmit Kaur, Founder and CEO at talent analytics platform Culturebie, says that Rails is particularly notable for its easy maintenance and the fact that it lends itself to collaboration. Kaur says this is a result of the two key tenets Rails is founded on: DRY (Do Not Repeat Yourself) and Convention Over Configuration. Kaur points to these two descriptions from the Rails website:

  • Don’t Repeat Yourself: DRY is a principle of software development which states that “Every piece of knowledge must have a single, unambiguous, authoritative representation within a system.” By not writing the same information over and over again, our code is more maintainable, more extensible, and less buggy.”
  • Convention Over Configuration: Rails has opinions about the best way to do many things in a web application, and defaults to this set of conventions, rather than require that you specify minutiae through endless configuration files.”

In other words, not only does the Rails web framework cut down on the time sink of re-coding repetitive tasks, but—by using Rails code—Rails developers keep their overall work cleaner, less prone to bugs (bad, ineffective code), and easier to troubleshoot when problems do occur. At the same time, Rails subscribes to an overall method of best practices for Rails developers that removes the need to leave behind instructions and rationale for your coding decisions (through configuration files) in the code you write—instead, Rails developers work from the shared common ground of Rails conventions. “In the past I’ve built web applications that became unwieldy pretty fast, even when they were not big projects,” Kaur says. “Rails’ two tenets help prevent that, along with a terrific Rails community of users and great open-source libraries (Rails is open-source, meaning its source code—the code that makes it work—is open to the public and the framework itself is free to use).”

Finally, Rosie Thomas, Ruby Engineer at financial data software company MX, adds that—as a web framework—Rails is most commonly used to build full web applications (web apps like GitHub, Basecamp, and Kickstarter were all built using Rails) and APIs (systems of tools and resources that are then used by developers to create software applications). Because of this, Thomas says, tech jobs that focus on providing browser-based applications or APIs are likely to use Rails and hire developers with Rails experience. As of this writing—Glassdoor lists nearly 6,000 open jobs for Ruby on Rails Developers.

What is Ruby on Rails used for?

With RoR, every function that you require for applications development is at your fingertips in standardized formats; you wade in and extract what you need to proceed ahead.

RoR offers a designer’s palette, creating larger than life applications on a broader canvas

From the web designer’s perspective, Rails is two things.

It’s an opinionated framework, meaning that its underlying coding assumptions make it easier for the developer to perform a wide variety of tasks. 

It also works on the convention over configuration paradigm, meaning that it presents a standardized programming tool for every function – making application development faster and glitch-free. You’re not worrying whether what you’re doing is appropriately configured.

A significant designing advantage of Rails is that it follows the model, view, controller (or MVC) format. This means you can manipulate data and apply business logic to create a model that can be viewed by users, and there’s standardized coding that helps users control both the model and view.  

Experts from MiroMind, an agency with expertise in SEO for SaaS projects, noticed that 70 percent of its SaaS clients’ projects are based on RoR. The MVC format of RoR provides flexibility with the implementation of technical and on-site SEO optimization.

Another Rails advantage is that you benefit from the Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY) principle. If there’s a task that is repetitive in nature, you won’t reconstruct the same code again and again. RoR abstracts the repetitive task into the system in such a way that the code can be reused any number of times.

RoR strengthens development skills through a friendly and cooperative community of developers

With RoR, you’re advantaged in a big way because of the vibrant and robust community of developers displaying the kind of brand loyalty that Nike would envy.

The chances are high that someone somewhere has gone through the turmoil you’re experiencing, and they’ll be there to handhold you through your development crisis. Instantaneous community advice and feedback saves you the jitters of deconstructing and reconstructing development models.  

In fact, “Matz is nice, and so we are nice,” has become the unofficial logo of the Ruby community – harking back to the effusively helpful personality of the language’s founder, Yukihiro.

Another plus point of Rails is that you’re rubbing shoulders with great companies that have developed and succeeded on robust Rail frameworks – big guns like Twitter, Airbnb, Bloomberg, and Shopify, to name a few.

Advantages of RoR

The term Rails is not accidental, it carries meaning. When you’re on board Ruby, multiple tasks become automated, and you get a route map that railroads you efficiently to your chosen destination.  

By leveraging the MVC principle of model, view, controller, every route map that you use is controllable.

There are other plus points you can’t ignore:

  • The system comes pre-loaded with standardized conventions that simplify tasks; you’re not forced to configure tasks endlessly, no matter how complex the job is.
  • You’re handling a leaner and meaner code-base; you can create independent models with a clutch of existing plugins that help you add, change, and modify data for faster application launches.
  • The Rails developer is a happier and stress-free human because route maps are well defined, and there’s no need to overdose on code when tasks become more complex; if you get stuck somewhere, there’s strong community support at hand.
  • RoR supports a humongous archive of libraries that are available to handhold you through any kind of web application you’re innovating.
  • RoR provides the healthiest array of coding practices, allowing you to test your product at every stage to minimize bugs and errors that would be routine in other frameworks.
  • When speedy deployment and remote management of an application assumes top priority, Rails delivers tangible and measurable results – especially when you’re dealing with mid-sized databases.

RoR web application management examples

You’d be surprised how many web experiences that we enjoy and take for granted are powered by the RoR framework. Here are live RoR empowered websites that continue to inspire us in many ways.  

GitHub

Overview: For open-source and business-application developers to host projects.

Started in 2008, GitHub is the most celebrated ecosystem that hosts developers working on IT tasks in a collaborative atmosphere. It has single-handedly grown a 21 million user community – tapping the biggest code repository in the world.

Airbnb

Overview: The ultimate marketplace for the global hospitality niche.

Started in 2008, Airbnb is a homestay and lodging oriented tourism experience provider that has a presence in 191 countries. Comfort, affordability, and unique tourism experiences are its major USPs.  

Basecamp

Overview: A consummate project management software portal

Started in 1999, Basecamp has grown into a perfectly integrated platform for taking project management to a new level. It draws substantially from RoR to power many features, such as project member organization and collaboration, task delegation and scheduling, as well as document filing and accessibility.

Apartable

Overview: An online real estate aggregator

Perhaps one of RoR’s most successful applications, Apartable is where you go for information on apartments and buildings of all hues and descriptions, and where you can zero in on neighborhood stats that few real estate portals provide.

CafePress

Overview: Where passion finds expression as a gift

For a vibrant example of the versatility and potential of RoR, go no further than CafePress, an online gift portal that hosts 1 billion products – catering to every taste (or passion) imaginable. The beauty of the site is it’s capability of customizing any gift to meet any demand.

CrunchBase

Overview: A global repository of startup information, funding, and promoter profiling

Started in 2007, this tiny team of 23 members went on to create one of the world’s most extensive catalogs of startup information in Crunchbase – listing more than 100,000 companies and investor/promoter profiles.

RoR vs. PHP 

Business promoters search for applications that assure longevity and scalability as businesses grow. Developers maximize the return on investment (ROI) using all the tools, libraries, community support, and applications at their command.

The two views need not be divergent – as the objectives are the same. Both RoR and PHP help achieve these objectives.

Comparing RoR and PHP is akin to comparing cheese and chalk. RoR represents a web applications framework, whereas PHP is a programming language. If Laravel is a PHP based framework, the same can be said of RoR being a Ruby (programming language) framework.

However, for sheer popularity, RoR beats PHP any day because PHP suffers a framework inadequacy that RoR more than makes up.  

Developers typically prefer creating new frameworks for PHP, rather than use the existing PHP frameworks, such as Zend Framework. The convention over configuration approach empowers developers to tailor RoR to suit individual needs more efficiently and faster than PHP.

To PHP’s credit, it is more web-oriented, and anything you code using PHP will run on the web. Ruby is restrained by the coding architecture that developers have access to.

PHP gives you a larger information pool with an extensive database and a more diverse toolkit to build affordable web applications. RoR boasts a stronger skill profile – sourced from a growing community of web developers that believe that a product should be transitioned as fast as possible to an ever-changing market.

In choosing between PHP and RoR, the programming language is the least of your problems; what should guide you is the end purpose of your customized web applications solution.

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