Around eight years ago Twitter decided to replace their front-end servers built with Ruby’s framework for Java-based technology to increase performance. This case was the first time the community began to talk about the Rails sunsetting. Numerous experts predicted a rapid fading of the technology and its losing the market in the coming years. Nevertheless, in the course of a lifetime, Ruby on Rails has continued to increase its market presence. It managed to entoil GitHub, Airbnb, and other famous companies. And now the rumors about the framework’s vague future began to emerge again. Let’s try to find out whether we can trust them, and what is expected for the technology in the years ahead.
The first thing we’ll do is check some statistical data as of the end of 2018. Ruby, the underlying programming language, has lost two points in the TIOBE index compared to the previous year. Now, it’s the 17th. Well, the language has never been distinguished with high popularity, and Rails did not inherit this feature of its fundamental technology. At the same time, Ruby remains an in-demand technology with a huge and supportive community. Rubyists keep creating gems just like dwarfs keep digging gold in numerous fantasy worlds. RoR, in turn, enters the toolboxes of numerous web development companies like Railsware and remains one of the most sought-after tools among startups. If BuiltWith.com are to be trusted, the number of websites using the framework has already approached 1.5 million. As for the technical updates, Rails is available in the version 5.2.2 released on December 4, 2018, and Rails 6.0 seems to be around the corner. Ruby is expecting for the 3.0 version in 2020. All this looks like a well-promising beginning rather than a fading end.
In the world of software development, there is no silver bullet technology. It means each particular project can be implemented best using a particular solution. Ruby on Rails has its own strengths, which make it a go for products requiring time and cost-effective approach. At the same time, the framework is known as a not very applicable tech stack for complex and memory-intensive products. So, let’s discover what aces-in-the-hole the Rubyists have to ensure a better place in the sun within the coming years.
Rails is often called startup-friendly. This notion is rightly associated with cost and time efficiency during the pipeline. And the framework indeed can boast such characteristics. First, it’s open-source. A team of enthusiasts willing to implement their cool idea won’t have to pay for using or obtaining a license for the technology. And that’s only the beginning of money-saving capabilities. RubyGems, for the most part, are free. Therefore, a startup team can take advantage of almost 10K Ruby-specific ready-made plugins and modules to optimize their work and decrease the time and hence money expenses.
Another time-saving factor is the MVC design pattern. In addition, RoR allows for parallel development meaning your MVP will be ready much faster than if another tech stack was chosen. On average, the framework lets development teams save one-third of their pipeline. Versatile blockages like unreadable or redundant code that one can observe with other technologies are not associated with Rails.
One for all and all for one – this could be a good slogan for the Ruby community. Only on GitHub, the number of contributors has exceeded 3.7K and keeps growing every single day. Django (a Python framework) and Laravel (a PHP framework) are deemed the Rails’ closest rivals, and their numbers of GitHub contributors are 1.6K and almost 500 correspondingly. Well, the quantitative value is not as important as the qualitative one. RoR can boast one of the most dynamic and vivid fellowships than any web development tool. They are a driving force of the framework and contribute a lot to it being in high demand so far. Any startup or project with an aim to develop an app with Ruby on Rails can rely on the helping hand of each Rubyist to deal with any RoR-related issue. It is a real power of collaboration.
Though it may sound unpersuasive, programmers who have once made their mind to go in for Ruby, admit its elegance and magic. They are replete with enjoyment when coding and agree with Matz’s statement that the language is simple in appearance, but is very complex inside, just like our human body. It’s kind of romantic but perhaps such attribute allows Ruby to remain afloat and power one of the most sought-after web app frameworks as of today.
We’re not prophets to predict the end or blossom of Ruby on Rails in the future. Nevertheless, the naked facts let us assume that the coming years do not jeopardize those people who are proficient in this technology. At the same time, it’s never late to learn new things, and the more domain knowledge you have, the better.