What is Ruby on Rails?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

As a newer solution that is designed to help increase the speed with which web sites can be created, Ruby on Rails has both its supporters and detractors. Here is some background on how Ruby on Rails works, and what people have to say about the application.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

Known popularly as ROR or Rails for short, Ruby on Rails is a web application framework option that seek to use logical steps to help create workable code for the creation of web sites. As an open source project that is written in Ruby program language, Ruby on Rails uses the Model-View-controller design pattern as the foundation for how the framework functions. Ruby programming language has the advantage of being relatively easy for anyone to learn and also follows a logic sequence that many people find easy to follow.

There are two basic principles that govern the way that Ruby on Rails works. The first is often referred to as DRY, or Don’t Repeat Yourself. The idea is to keep the language as simplistic as possible, so the code remains simple as well. This means that the person writing the programming does not have to specify column names in class definitions. Ruby on Rails will simply pull the information from the database source.

The second principle is COC or Convention over Configuration. What this means is that the programmer can rely on defaults on the naming of the classes and tables. For instance, if there is a class that is named “date” in the model, then the related table in the database source will automatically be named “date.” This means that the programmer only has to take the time to name tables if he or she wishes to assign a different name to the table. Use of this logical solution can result in speeding up the process of writing the code and getting the web pages ready to go.

Supporters of Ruby on Rails hail the solution as a great way to maximize time spent on developing web pages, as it makes the mechanics of the process simpler. Ruby on Rails is also viewed as allowing more energy to be directed at the creative end of the process, providing more time to look for creative ways to have the web site stand out among so many.

At the same time, detractors of Ruby on Rails say that the solutions stifle the creativity of the programmer, as it creates a cookie-cutter predilection in the process. Dismissed as nothing more than a rigid software option that does not really save much in the way of time, opponents sometimes refer to Ruby on Rails as opinionated software.

In spite of the controversy, Apple announced in August 2006 that the company would begin to ship Ruby on Rails with the Mac OS X v10.5 beginning in October 2007. Once Ruby on Rails is on the mass market, it will be interesting to see how consumers react to the ease of use and the defaults built into the framework.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including EasyTechJunkie, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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