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There has been a conversation about Ruby on Rails and the gradual decline in its popularity. We set out to find out whether there was any truth to this conversation. Learn how Ruby on Rails has matured over the years and see if it’s worth in 2019.

There has been a lot of discussion about Ruby on Rails and its future. Some question whether it will survive in the next few years while others rave about its longevity. We looked into the framework's features and benefits to determine its popularity and relevance in the current market and see if it’s still worth in 2019.

Why Ruby on Rails remains a top choice for web application development

Rails is an open source framework designed for web application development with Ruby. Its open source nature allows it to have an unprecedented quality that most proprietary solutions do not have. With RoR, the code quality is consistently enhanced as there’s a large community of users consistently testing and contributing to the better code development.

Ruby allows for rapid development of modern web apps thanks to its object-oriented nature, a multitude of features, and hassle-free development experience. For a long time, Ruby on Rails has been the top 10 web application development technologies utilized alongside Javascript, HTML5, and CSS. Its popularity can be attributed to:

  • clean and high-quality web application development;
  • a feature-rich platform.

The mentioned characteristics allow for increased performance and agility, driving the company’s growth and longevity.

Many popular companies use Ruby on Rails in some capacity. Some of these companies include Groupon, Yahoo!, Basecamp, and Scribd, to mention a few. Below are some of the tech companies that use RoR.

These companies choose RoR for a number of reasons. Below we look at some of the framework’s primary advantages that make it a reliable choice for tech companies around the world.

The Advantages of Ruby on Rails

Rails is a perfect option if you are looking for quick and effective web application development on various stages and especially on MVP. The framework makes application development simple through three primary design principles: Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture, Conventions over configurations paradigm, and Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY). However, in order to fully reap the benefits of Rails, it is crucial that you have a team of experts with substantial experience in Rails. You can learn how to hire the right Rails developers to ensure rapid and agile product development. Developers who build complex websites using Rails value the three mentioned design principles along with a number of other benefits mentioned below.

An open source platform for web application development

Open source tools are a great way to start the project with good quality codebase. This is one of the things that make Rails so effective for small and large scale projects. The open source nature allows it to be fully accessible by a diverse base of contributors and users who ensure consistent improvement. In addition, it offers a number of benefits that include and are not limited to:

  • reduced costs as you can utilize the latest technology in web app development;
  • quick and timely support through a large community that reduces project delays and helps you go to the market faster;
  • easy integration with different technologies.


Ruby on Rails utilizes Ruby programming language, which uses human-readable syntax. It makes it easy to understand and work with even for beginner developers who may not be seasoned web developers. The readable syntax allows Ruby developers to create dynamic applications without heavy coding.

In addition, the programming language's high readability makes it self-documenting, which readily eradicates the burden of creating separate help text and comments.

Ruby is easy to pick up even if you are a newbie. Developers who are seasoned in Python and other modern object-oriented languages can easily get acquainted with Ruby due to its simple syntax and intuitive concepts. Additionally, with a wide variety of libraries/gems and hassle-free integration with other technologies, Ruby allows developers to quickly build complex web applications. However, ensuring sustainable codebase and bug-free experience, and using Ruby and Rails to their full potential requires technical mastery.

Moreover, the Ruby Gems Repository contains all types of gems that can enhance the features and functions of a web application. The built-in solutions of the platform virtually allow for any features that you may need for your web application.

Quick and fast web application development

Ruby on Rails reduces application development time by 25-50% compared to other popular web frameworks. With RoR, sometimes you can get an MVP ready for online activities within a couple of days as the Ruby gems/libraries allow the web development process to be faster and more dynamic. Additionally, it offers modular design, lean code base, ready-to-use plugins, and a globally thriving community that is always ready to fix problems.

Developers who choose RoR have to spend less time in file configuration and writing extensive code. The framework comes with a powerful infrastructure with default settings that result in fewer decisions and hence quick development, easy maintenance, and enhanced collaboration among the team.

In addition, the developers have access to third-party default modules. With these modules, developers can take standard and non-standard features such as user authentication and dashboards and integrate them with the application. The features can be changed and reused as the developers see fit. This allows for easy experimentation. Moreover, developers can use integrated testing during the development process which eradicates the need for external testing tools and plugins.

Agility and scalability

Another important advantage of RoR is its capacity to allow prototype development for future applications. This essentially lets customers experience the product and give feedback before the application is developed, and mitigate risks that could cost a lot more time and money.

Rails makes it super easy to modify the code and add new features to the existing application. It is a full-stack framework that equips developers to work on both back-end and front-end design of a web application. This feature is beneficial for long term development projects.

Ruby on Rails is perfect for all types of web application development including Fintech, e-commerce, e-learning, and social networks. In terms of scalability, the framework is used in a number of complex applications including Google Sketch.

Additionally, RoR is popular in agile development. Startups and established companies (both large and small) utilize RoR for its agility and speed that contribute to overall productivity.

Industries that can Benefit from Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails is highly stable and predictable, which makes it perfect for lengthy projects that deal with dynamic web applications. If you are working on a web application that requires rich functionality and recurring modifications then RoR is the best option. It is readily capable of running complex applications like Shopify and Github, so there is no doubt that it can’t handle complicated applications.

The beauty of RoR is its scalability. Regardless of what type of business you run, you can rely on Ruby on Rails to build highly functional web applications. The cost of developing web applications with Rails saves you time and money in the long run while giving you a quality application that can stand the test of time.

Today, many different industries integrate Rails in their technology stack for better agility and productivity. Here are a couple of industries we believe can benefit from RoR.

Recruitment & HR solutions

Human resource development requires robust applicant tracking systems to allow for effective management, and Rails can help you build management systems integrated with various ATS.

Learn more about ATS integration with Ruby on Rails application.

Real Estate web applications

One of the most important roles of an application is to readily process large chunks of data. For real estate businesses, calculating accurate infrastructure costs and managing large data can be a challenge. RoR can help you utilize a number of Ruby Gem libraries to create advance real estate applications for easy and hassle-free calculations and data management.

Check out one of our real estate web application project and its results.

Why It May Never Die

People who talk about RoR’s demise usually bring up Twitter's example a lot. The social network had RoR in its technology stack when it started but later dropped the framework when it became one of the most popular social media sites. While many see it as a reason why RoR may lose its position in the industry, it was a wise decision to drop a framework that no longer fulfilled the technological requirements. As platforms grow, they need to shift their tech stack to ensure that they readily fulfill user demands. With Twitter, the engagement level is significantly high among active users as compared to other web applications, especially to B2B solutions. So, Twitter simply changed its tech stack to adapt to its specific needs. It does not mean that RoR was ineffective.

Mature web technologies like Rails do not have an expiration date; over the years they mature and become more efficient, stable and secure to fulfill current users' demands. Ruby on Rails, just like any other technology, has been evolving (the framework is currently at its 5.5.2 version with the new version in the works) and it seems that it isn’t going to stop at any point. Additionally, the growing popularity and a thriving community ensure the quality of the software. Any technology is defined by its user base and currently, RoR has a tremendous following. Check out the activity on GitHub to see how active the RoR community is. An active community ensures that you can always find a solution to a problem. When a framework or a programming language is immensely popular, it's very hard that it would ever die.

Regardless of what type of company you run, it is important that you have a tech stack that readily goes with your project requirements and fulfills your users’ demands. Here at iRonin, we can help you pick technologies based on your specific company requirements. Talk to one of our experts and we’ll help you pick an effective tech stack that produces results.

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