Building Enterprise Applications on Ruby: Key Advantages


Formulated by Yukihiro ‘Matz’ Matsumoto about 20 years ago, Ruby is a programming language which is extensively used for developing web applications. Rails accompanies Ruby as a software library. Informally called “Ruby on Rails”, it was created by David Hansson as a framework for generating websites. Internalized into the Ruby language, Rails is installed through command line of operating system. Thus, Rails is the box of development tools which lends web developers the architecture to structure their codes in. As it runs on web server, Rails is considered server-side/back-end web app development space. Initiated by a large community of developers, the overarching objective of Rails is to create a landscape for the generation of software libraries devoid of complications that we generally face while creating websites. Spread across a large geographical region, Rails runs on a series of common ethical values executed by sharing tools and volunteering. Owing to the presence of open-source software libraries (called RubyGems or ‘gems’), startups find it an ideal ground for producing their websites. The best analogy for the relation between Ruby and Rails is that between PHP and Symfony.


Ruby on Rails has emerged as a friendly playground for development of enterprise applications. Enterprise software is application which handles and processes vast sum of business-specific data. Enterprises could face immense damage and costs in case their software malfunction. For this reason, software meant for enterprise-level is understood in terms of non-functional needs like availability, scalability and reliability. Enterprises generally undertake the development of apps in isolation and thus, have to deal with copious amount of data. Initially, Ruby was not used extensively for enterprise, owing to certain challenges like the absence of ‘best practice patterns’ and lack of support for enterprise integration. Such challenges have been softened through constant development within Ruby. Ruby has been most prominently received as the ‘glue code’ for bringing together applications. Scripting languages began with the aim of coordinating tasks and dynamically dealing with processes. For this reason, even Ruby has consistently held the potential for integrating enterprise elements.


The critical features of Ruby on Rails include: convention over configuration and RESTful app design. Since Rails contains range of conventions to quicken web app development, the developers do not need to expend time configuring the files for setup. Representational State Transfer aka REST is the mode of software framework grounded on client-server relation. Since their applications contain a logical structure, they can be actualized as an Application Programming Interface without difficulty. The Agile web development format is used for project management in Ruby on Rails. Those web apps which require consistent modifications will find Agile as an ideal space for their development.


Ruby on Rails makes programming a swifter activity due to its object-oriented mode of operation. Developers can also easily transition from one Rail project to another, as the projects have a shared architecture and coding tradition. Alterations can be easily implemented within Rails, making it a strong space for rapid application development (RAD). In Ruby-on-Rails, there is no need for documentation since it is self-documented. This makes it easy for developers to carry forward pre-existent projects. Testing has been a significant element within the Rails framework, verifying the effectiveness of projects easily. Since Rails and accompanying libraries are open-source, there are no licensing costs.

Data manipulation is a significant factor for software development in enterprises and Ruby has been well-known for its data analysis and manipulation capacities. Ruby belongs to the family of neo-coding development software which dilute the drawbacks of traditional models. This is done by implementing rapid prototyping that follows a quick write-run-test pattern. Such a pattern syncs well with iterative scheme of agile development setup. Greater precision is available owing to clarity of coding structure. In contrast to Java, the time and energy involved in app development is low. Scaling is also made easy with PAAS and available backup for various no-SQL databases. Ruby can also be used on any app-tiers. While it is a muscular servlet container on the presentation tier, the object-relational map tools can be used for pure server applications.


Since its inception in 2004, Ruby on Rails has been used to develop thousands of applications like SoundCloud, Basecamp, Hulu, Square, Twitch and Highrise. The Rails Doctrine is the scripture which embodies the philosophy of Ruby on Rails under eight important principles. These include No-one paradigm, progress over stability, convention over configuration and the menu is omakase. For a web browser, Rails stands simply as a program for producing JavaScript, HTML and CSS files. Formulated dynamically, these files can be viewed through web developer tools which are in-built to browsers. For a coder, Rails is a series of files which self-organizes to assist the developers in effective production. Prior to arrival of Rails, automatic testing was an unexplored territory. With Rails, Test Driven Development takes over.


In conclusion, Ruby on Rails is the ideal model for producing enterprise applications as it provides an economical choice for innovating without high stakes. Ruby, with its testing capacities, has paved way for originality and consistent creativity in domain of app development.

The prophecy of Ruby-on-Rails spells that companies will continue to join the framework for developing applications, in virtue of its ability to save up on two most important pillars of an enterprise, time and money. Comment on this.

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Author : Sahana Rajan Date : 26 Feb 2016