Ruby on Rails is a fantastic technology for startups developing their web products. It offers a high speed of development, which allows for rapid creation of an MVP and shortens time-to-market. Ruby’s many libraries (gems) available to developers mean that the team doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel when solving problems - they can use ready-made solutions and save time.

Ruby on Rails is also easy to integrate with other technologies, like JavaScript frameworks, which will help your development team make your app beautiful and interactive on the front-end. Finally, the framework’s elasticity allows you to build the back-end of your web app with Rails and use it for your mobile app via an API. Many well-known companies have built their products with Ruby on Rails. E-commerce platforms like Shopify and Etsy, IT solutions like Github and Heroku, streaming services like Twitch, business providers like Slideshare and Bloomberg, and popular portals like Groupon and Yellow Pages.

Working with Ruby on Rails requires expertise

Although we love the Rails framework at iRonin, we’re aware that not every team will be able to bring out its full potential. Ruby on Rails is a powerful tool that works best in the hands of experts. Every business owner and decision maker should know what they sign up for when they choose this technology for their stack.

Firstly, it’s going to be important for your development team to constantly educate themselves and stay on top of recent developments in Rails. For example, if you ever want to upgrade your app to the newest Rails version smoothly and avoid compatibility issues, you’ll need experienced Rails developers. This why outsourcing might be a good idea - you’ll get a team of programmers who work with RoR every day and have the experience necessary to use the framework’s full potential.

External libraries for Ruby on Rails don’t always have good documentation, which can confuse developers and force them to waste time looking for answers to their questions. This is another reason why expert-level programming knowledge can be key in building a web app with Rails - and why hiring an outsourced team of Ruby specialists is a good option.

Finally, Rails isn’t always the best option for building large and complex apps. A lot depends on how your developers write the code, but Rails’ strengths lie in rapid development carried out by small teams. It’s the perfect backend web framework for startups, as it helps lower costs and push the product out faster, but it might not work as well for a large team with a huge platform to build and special requirements to fulfil.

RoR pitfalls to avoid

It’s easy to cause memory leaks through carelessly written Rails code. Database queries in Rails are tricky in that your developers need to know when to use what join operation when interacting with the database. Otherwise, a lot of unnecessary database queries can happen, taxing your RAM to its limits, slowing down your app and eating up your database server resources.

External libraries can be a risk. You need to remember that the code was written by someone else, and inexperienced developers may not know what it will do, exactly. This means some trial and error during development, and potential unexpected problems.

Badly written tests can seriously delay development with RoR, when errors are not caught on time and a lot of backtracking needs to be done to eventually fix them. Luckily, Ruby is a language that’s very focused on testing and an experienced team will have no issue managing this aspect of the development process.

Finding a good Rails development team is crucial

It’s not always easy to identify true experts in a given technology, but there are a few giveaways. A good Rails specialist will know when to use a gem rather than write a functionality from scratch, thus saving time and lowering the costs of development, even if it’s the less glamorous option sometimes. If you’re outsourcing via a software development company, take a good look at their portfolio to verify their experience, and follow these steps to find the right company for you. Good developers will happily share their knowledge with you, and they won’t be super strict about using only Rails - a good programmer will know when using their favourite technology isn’t worth it, and a better solution is readily available.

Rails facts

Last but not least, here’s a list of interesting facts related to Ruby and Ruby on Rails:

  1. While the language dates back to 1995, Ruby on Rails was created in 2004.
  2. Over 145k Ruby gems have been published to date.
  3. There have been more than 124k Ruby gem authors.
  4. These libraries have been downloaded over 24 billion times in total.
  5. Many of the largest websites today are built with Ruby on Rails, and plenty of web apps we use every day use Rails for their back-end.

Considering it’s considerable strengths, RoR is one of the most popular choices for web application development, especially for startups and project MVPs. In the hands of Ruby on Rails specialists, this framework can help you save time and resources without losing quality. It’s no wonder so many business have chosen RoR for the back-end of their stack.

If you want to build your Ruby on Rails app quickly, cost-effectively and without problems caused by an untested process, contact iRonin. We’ve been building Rails web apps for years, delivering solid IT solutions and real business value to clients from all over the world.