What Is Ruby On Rails? - ITU Online

What is Ruby on Rails?

Definition: Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails, often simply called Rails, is a web application framework written in Ruby. It is designed to make programming web applications easier by making assumptions about what every developer needs to get started. It allows you to write less code while accomplishing more than many other languages and frameworks.

Introduction to Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails, commonly referred to as Rails, is an open-source web application framework written in Ruby. Rails is a model-view-controller (MVC) framework, providing default structures for a database, a web service, and web pages. It encourages and facilitates the use of web standards such as JSON or XML for data transfer and HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for user interfacing. One of its key philosophies is convention over configuration (CoC), meaning that the framework makes assumptions about what you want to do and how you’re going to do it, which allows developers to get up and running quickly.

Key Concepts of Ruby on Rails

MVC Architecture

Ruby on Rails follows the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture. This means the application is divided into three interconnected components:

  1. Model: Manages the data, logic, and rules of the application.
  2. View: Manages what is displayed to the user.
  3. Controller: Connects the Model and the View, handling the user’s requests and responses.

Convention Over Configuration (CoC)

One of Rails’ guiding principles is convention over configuration. This principle allows developers to spend less time configuring their applications, as Rails makes assumptions about the setup, thus speeding up development.

Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY)

Rails encourages the DRY principle, which means that the information is located in a single, unambiguous place. This minimizes redundancy and makes maintenance easier.

Active Record

Active Record is the ORM (Object-Relational Mapping) layer supplied with Rails. It connects classes to relational database tables to establish an almost zero-configuration persistence layer for applications, adhering to the DRY principle by default.

RESTful Architecture

Rails provides a RESTful interface to web applications, meaning that it makes it easy to map HTTP verbs (GET, POST, PUT, DELETE) to CRUD actions (Create, Read, Update, Delete).

Benefits of Using Ruby on Rails

Rapid Development

Rails is known for its rapid development capabilities. With its convention over configuration principle, developers can quickly set up and deploy applications.


Being an open-source framework, Rails significantly reduces the cost of development. There are no licensing fees, and it has a large community that offers a wealth of free resources and plugins (called “gems”).


Rails applications are easily scalable. As your application grows, Rails can handle increased traffic and complex functionalities.

Large Community Support

Rails has a vast, active community. This means extensive documentation, numerous tutorials, and a plethora of gems to extend the functionality of your application.

Built-In Testing

Rails has integrated testing tools that simplify the testing process, ensuring the reliability and quality of the application.

Common Uses of Ruby on Rails

Web Applications

Rails is primarily used for building web applications of all sizes. From simple blogs to complex enterprise solutions, Rails can handle a wide array of web development needs.

E-commerce Platforms

Many e-commerce platforms are built on Rails due to its flexibility and scalability, allowing developers to build secure and robust online stores.

Content Management Systems (CMS)

Rails is often used to develop CMS platforms that allow users to manage and publish content easily. It provides the tools needed to create dynamic and interactive web experiences.

Social Networking Sites

Rails is also used to build social networking sites, providing a robust foundation for handling user interactions and real-time updates.

API Development

With Rails, developers can build RESTful APIs that serve as the backend for mobile apps, web applications, and other client applications.

Key Features of Ruby on Rails


Scaffolding in Rails allows developers to quickly generate some of the major pieces of an application. This includes creating models, views, and controllers, significantly speeding up the initial development phase.

Gems and Plugins

Rails has a rich ecosystem of plugins and gems that can be easily integrated into projects to extend functionality without having to build features from scratch.

Asset Pipeline

The asset pipeline provides a framework to concatenate and minify JavaScript and CSS assets. This makes web applications faster by reducing the number of requests and the size of the assets sent to the client.


Rails migrations provide a way to alter database schemas over time in a consistent and easy way. They are designed to be database agnostic and can be used to manage and version the database schema.

Action Mailer

Action Mailer is a framework for designing email services. It allows you to send emails from your application using a mailer model and view.


Rails has many built-in security features like CSRF (Cross-Site Request Forgery) protection, XSS (Cross-Site Scripting) prevention, and SQL Injection prevention, ensuring that applications are secure by default.

How to Get Started with Ruby on Rails


To get started with Rails, you need to install Ruby and Rails on your machine. Here is a simple guide to install Rails:

  1. Install Ruby: Download and install Ruby from ruby-lang.org.
  2. Install Rails: Once Ruby is installed, you can install Rails using the following command in your terminal:

    gem install rails
  3. Create a New Rails Project: Use the Rails command to create a new project:

    rails new myapp
  4. Run the Server: Navigate to your project directory and start the server:

    cd myapp rails server

Learning Resources

There are numerous resources available to learn Rails, including:

  • Official Rails Guides: Comprehensive documentation and guides provided by the Rails community.
  • Railscasts: Screencasts that provide tutorials on various Rails topics.
  • Books: Several books such as “Agile Web Development with Rails” and “The Rails Way” offer in-depth knowledge.
  • Online Courses: Platforms like Codecademy, Udemy, and Coursera offer courses on Ruby on Rails.

Best Practices

  1. Follow Rails Conventions: Stick to Rails conventions to make your code more maintainable and easier to understand.
  2. Write Tests: Always write tests for your code to ensure its reliability and robustness.
  3. Use Version Control: Use Git for version control to manage changes and collaborate with other developers.
  4. Keep Dependencies Updated: Regularly update your gems to benefit from the latest features and security fixes.

Frequently Asked Questions Related to Ruby on Rails

What is Ruby on Rails?

Ruby on Rails, often referred to as Rails, is an open-source web application framework written in Ruby. It follows the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture and emphasizes convention over configuration, allowing developers to build web applications quickly and efficiently.

What are the key features of Ruby on Rails?

Key features of Ruby on Rails include scaffolding, which allows quick generation of application components; a rich ecosystem of gems and plugins; an asset pipeline for managing and optimizing web assets; database migrations for schema management; Action Mailer for email services; and built-in security measures.

How does Ruby on Rails support rapid development?

Ruby on Rails supports rapid development through its convention over configuration philosophy, which reduces the amount of code developers need to write. It also provides scaffolding to quickly generate application components and has a vast library of gems that add functionality without starting from scratch.

What is the MVC architecture in Ruby on Rails?

The MVC architecture in Ruby on Rails divides an application into three components: Model (manages data and business logic), View (handles the presentation and user interface), and Controller (coordinates between the Model and the View, processing user input and responses).

Why is Ruby on Rails a preferred framework for web development?

Ruby on Rails is preferred for web development due to its rapid development capabilities, cost-efficiency, scalability, strong community support, built-in testing tools, and adherence to best practices like the DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) principle.

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