Ruby on Rails is a well-established web development framework that continues enjoying widespread popularity among developers and businesses. It offers tools for faster development, easier implementation of good practices, an incredible trove of community resources, and many other benefits. Let’s take a look at why developers choose to work with Ruby on Rails, and why picking it up now might be good for your career.
What we love about Rails
As a technology introduced in 2005, Ruby on Rails has had the time to mature. It has also been the tool of choice for a wide variety of web projects, from experimental through commercial to SaaS and enterprise solutions. Let’s take a short quiz: what do the following platforms have in common?
You guessed it - they were all build using Ruby on Rails.
RoR is a web framework with truly amazing potential. If you’d like to stretch your legs by venturing outside the typical software development career, Rails has your back. It offers opportunities for learning in many different fields, and because of its thriving community, you’re never alone when you need advice, help with solving a problem, or a ready-made tool.
Finally, you don’t need to worry about RoR’s future. It’s a mature framework, true, but it’s still being developed and adjusted to the changing times. In fact, a new version of RoR was recently released. This ties into another benefit of working with Rails: companies choose it because it’s a reliable solution and a technological fit for their projects, not because it’s fashionable. Emerging frameworks are nice to experiment with, but they have issues which have already been worked out of RoR. This makes building commercial projects with Rails much safer, easier and more satisfying.
A few cool examples of RoR projects
Let’s take a quick look at some Rails projects we think are particularly interesting. We worked on two of them (Foreman and Creditspring), and two of them are open source (Foreman and GitLab).
Foreman is a modern server lifecycle management tool geared towards making people’s lives easier. It comes with a ton of built-in solutions, as well as a growing library of plugins for personalizing a SysAdmin’s workstation. Foreman gives smaller and medium companies access to enterprise-level tools (such as a fantastic GUI) at no cost. And the Foreman development community is amazing - check out our report from Foreman’s last birthday party.
Creditspring is a fintech platform that makes lending simple and fast, while maintaining high transparency. Their pre-approved loans have no interest rates - users gain access to them through paying a fixed membership fee. To help those who are working on building their credit history, Creditspring sends reports of monthly membership fees and repayments to credit agencies. Overall, Creditspring’s model is much more beneficial to users than many other solutions.
GitLab is a full DevOps toolkit within a single web app. It helps make DevOps work more efficient (in terms of time and costs) and offers deep insight into the software lifecycle. It comes with powerful planning tools for better work organization, and strict security standards. Managing code and project data through GitLab repositories is fast and easy, offering a single source of truth for project teams.
Why experienced developers continue working with Ruby on Rails
As RoR is one of the current top commercial technologies and often chosen by established employers, Rails developers can expect to find openings for well-paid positions. Rails’ flexibility means that a wide variety of projects can be built with it, helping developers stretch their wings in different industries.
Additionally, Ruby and Rails both are very developer-friendly. Different people love different things about RoR, but let’s take a look at some of its benefits:
- Programming with Ruby on Rails is modular thanks to its many existing libraries (gems) and other resources. This allows developers to use pre-prepared code for standard tasks (such as creating the log-in feature), and focus on solving business and industry-specific problems.
- Because of the aforementioned modularity, Rails can be incredibly fast to write.
- As a mature framework, Rails comes with built-in good practices in a variety of areas, including project structure and testing tools.
- RoR is easy to learn, but difficult to master, which gives developers two main benefits. One, Rails offers enough depth to support complex projects. Two, a true Ruby on Rails expert is extremely valuable to employers.
Is it worth it to start learning Rails now?
To be honest, you’ll have to answer this question for yourself, based on your individual career goals. But there are a few things to consider when making the choice. The RoR community is robust, friendly and welcoming to newcomers (for an example, check out RRUG). Plenty of materials for beginner learners are available both online and through local courses, workshops, coding schools and mentorships. If you want to gain more practical skills, you can join existing open source projects, or start a new one. You will easily find something that will suit your needs.
For more advanced learners, junior positions at companies like iRonin.IT offer fantastic learning opportunities. By joining a team of RoR experts, you’ll be able to benefit from their experience, know-how and processes, while polishing your practical skills through working on commercial projects. Be sure to choose a company that will give you access to senior-level experts. For example, around 70% of iRonin.IT’s Ruby on Rails team are senior developers, but other employers might have a different team balance.
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