What is Ruby on Rails and Should I Learn It?

From the standpoint of today’s variety of opportunities for app development, Ruby is still arguably the most elegant programming language. 

According to its creator Yukihiro Matsumoto, its main goal is to make Web developers happy. Intuitiveness, great syntax possibilities, code transparency are just some of the most evident advantages of this technology.

Although it was launched in 2004, it is safe to say that it is already a mature and self-sufficient solution. However, with the constant flood of new modern solutions and striving for more and more efficiency of web applications, is there still a place for them?

A similar question often arises among young padawans of programming and for the representatives of Ruby themselves, it has become some kind of a meme. It’s hard to hide that in the era of Python, React, and fast-paced architectures, Ruby on Rails strives to remain a competitive tool. Nevertheless, still many new devs use it to start their adventure in the IT world and like their comrades-predecessors, they are expanding the community of grateful admirers.

What is Ruby on Rails?

Yukihiro Matsumoto started working on Ruby in the early 90s. Already in the first versions, there were distinctive features that have survived in the language to this day: 

  • object-oriented design. It is a style of writing programs that involves building a structure consisting of interacting objects. Objects are arranged in a hierarchy. They form blocks that solve the desired problems. Changes to these areas may not be reflected in other areas of a program.
  • use of classes and inheritance. A class can use variables and methods of another class as its own due to inheritance. It is useful because it allows structure and reuses of code, which in turn can greatly speed up the development process.
  • mixins. It is a concept that limits the potential complexity of multiple inheritances and makes it easy to keep track of the flow of the program by limiting where to look during writing.
  • iterators. They act when an action needs to be repeated a large number of times.
  • closures. It is a function that refers to free variables in its scope.
  • garbage collector. It is a separate mini-program inside the main program that periodically runs through objects and variables in the code and looks whether they are needed or not. If not, the garbage collector itself removes the variable and frees the memory.
  • exception handling. Exceptions are an error handling mechanism. Error means any situation in which a function cannot continue to execute correctly due to some external factors.

Also, since that time, the basic principles of Ruby’s functioning have come into use, which remains with it even in the latest Ruby 2.7.2 release. The basic principles of Rails development are:

  • DRY (Don’t repeat yourself): the framework provides mechanisms for reusing program code. This allows not only minimizing code duplication but also increasing writing speed.
  • COC (Convention over configuration): it means that explicit configuration specification is only needed where an aspect is outside the scope of the specification. 
  • Automated Testing. RoR includes tools for fully automated unit, integration, and functional testing. The RoR philosophy assumes the use of Test-Driven Development (TDD) methods. 

All these rules have been transformed into the general principle of least surprise, according to which the program should behave exactly as the programmer could expect.

What are RoR benefits?

Ruby is a general-purpose programming language. You can use it to solve different problems in various spheres. You can deploy large-scale backup for your projects. Alternatively, consider utilizing it for small tasks like setting Ruby in Gmail to send and read emails. However, Ruby has a couple of niches in which it is used the most.

First of all, RoR can help you build an MVP for a start-up when the speed of creation and a simplified secure framework are at the forefront. This means that Rails will help in the creation of initial prototypes and their subsequent testing in order to receive a more functional product on their basis in the future. 

Thus, it helped the Airbnb service for housing renting or the video-on-demand playground Hulu not to slip at the start in technical aspects and reach an incredible height.

Moreover, its ability to display traffic-heavy materials quite quickly and correctly was at the proper time tested by Netflix and the social network for book lovers, Goodreads. Also, the server-side backup capabilities of RoR have come to help the Github depository and many news sites like Bloomberg.

But it seems that most part of the 1,532,730 active sites on an RoR basis represent e-commerce platforms and their APIs. It is worth mentioning here such sales mastodons as Groupon and Shopify, who need no introduction.

As of the other statistical proofs of Ruby on Rails hotness, named the “Programming language of the year” in 2006, Ruby is still ranked among the top caliber strata by the TIOBE Index. And the frequency of inquiries on the network has grown by 0.24% over the past year. 

Paying attention not only to what Ruby is used for but also speaking of those who make up its active community, it must be said that there are 4160 contributors on the GitHub repository now. 

Finally, the last case up the sleeve is the average $78,762 salary per year for a Ruby developer. And new requests for knowledgeable Ruby programmers on Linkedin appear every minute.

RoR advantages for beginners

Low entry threshold

Ruby is one of the simplest programming languages. Reading the written code is not much different than reading the instructions in English. 

There are no type definitions, the syntax is much simpler compared to ​​such languages like Java or C++, and it minimizes the amount of code that needs to be written. 

This makes the technology a great choice for junior developers. To start diving in RoR, you can just choose a free course on one of the popular online courses platforms.


Ruby tries not to restrict a developer. It is one of the most flexible languages, allowing its users to make extensive modifications. You can remove various language elements or redefine them if needed. Likewise, individual parts of the program or application may be freely modified and extended in the future.

If something is not there, there are gems for this: from testing of Rails applications to implementing QR code tracking. Whichever task you choose for your first project on Rails, you will quickly get a working prototype. 

It can teach basic programming things

RoR has excellent official guides, specialized sites, podcasts, and free courses that can lead you through the main components of the framework. 

Having dealt with it, you will gain basic knowledge about the structure of web frameworks: how routing works, how the web works, why a framework needs a database and how to change its device, how to use templates, how to internationalize and localize applications. 

And creating an initial prototype will already be an important step towards the further building of your brand. An understanding of applied tasks and ways of their implementation using other techniques will come. If you have to change the framework, you can use the attained knowledge there.

In addition, the basic documentation will provide you with knowledge of related areas of web development: testing, debugging, and security. Learn how to properly and securely configure applications, send and receive mail, upload, and store files in cloud storage.


Even in 2021, Ruby is a great choice for developers’ needs. It is, without a doubt, a perfectly applicable language that still attracts many followers and developers.

Finally, there are no bad languages ​​at all, it is just that, in some cases, you can choose the wrong language. Anyways, Ruby minimizes the choice problem as it is very flexible and easy to use. The time spent on learning will certainly not be wasted by acquiring general skills in backend programming.


What is Ruby on Rails?

A web-application framework that covers all aspects required to build database-backed web apps according to the MVC.

When was Ruby on Rails launched


What are the benefits of Ruby on Rails?

– Low entry threshold
– Flexibility
– It can teach basic programming things

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