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What Is Ruby on Rails? What Is It Used For?

by Snehal Naik
What Is Ruby on Rails-What Is It Used For
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Today’s fast-changing business landscape demands rapid technological advancements from organizations for them to stay in the race. The prime focus is to build projects with less effort but more functionality. Development frameworks provide all-encompassing solutions to this demand by offering reusable software components that save time and money and boost productivity. Ruby on Rails (also known as RoR and Rails) is a web development framework written in Ruby language with default configurations and conventions to help you write clean code. Stack Overflow’s 2023 Developer Survey ranks Ruby on Rails in the top 20 web frameworks and technologies used by professional developers. In this blog, we look at Ruby on Rails in regard to its features and pros and cons. We will also dive into its connection to Ruby. As a bonus, we’ll give you a peek into the companies that use Ruby on Rails.   

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What is Ruby on Rails?

Facts about Ruby on Rails

Also known as Rails, Ruby on Rails is a web application framework written in Ruby and released under the MIT License. It is shipped with all the tools needed to build frontend and backend web apps. Rails was created by the Danish programmer David Heinemeier Hansson and first released as open source in July 2004. Rails is an MVC framework that divides applications into three layers: Model, View, and Controller, each with a specific responsibility. While using Rails, you can “Learn just what you need to get started, then keep leveling up as you go.”  

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Ruby on Rails Versions

There have been 466 versions of Rails since 18 January 2019. The latest version, Rails 7.1.3, was released in January 2024. To install Rails, your system should have Ruby and SQLite3. Here is a list of versions since 2022. For a complete list, you can visit the official Rails website.

VersionRelease Date
7.1.3January 16, 2024
7.1.2November 10, 2023
7.1.1October 11, 2023
7.1.0October 05, 2023
7.1.0.rc2October 01, 2023
7.1.0.rc1September 27, 2023
7.1.0.beta1September 13, 2023
7.0.8September 09, 2023 22, 2023 22, 2023
7.0.7August 09, 2023
7.0.6June 29, 2023 26, 2023
7.0.5May 24, 2023 13, 2023 25, 2023 17, 2023
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Features of Ruby on Rails

Features of Ruby on Rails

MVC Architecture 

Ruby on Rails is based on three components: model, view and controller. Thus, Rails is based on the MVC architecture, where you can separate codes of different functions and maintain a resource layer. MVC allows for the development of user interfaces that divide the data into three interconnected components. This makes it possible to separate the internal representation of the information from how it is viewed by the user. 

Built-in Testing

Rails offers many built-in testing tools like the RSpec. While models and controllers are being created, Rails produces skeleton test code. With Rails, it is also possible to run test codes to ensure that even if there is major code refactoring, the written code adheres to the desired functionality. 

Active Records

The rails database is a great source of information with active records that have rich objects. In addition, there are also on-demand callbacks upon saving and modeling associations between tables. Also, sensitive data encryption and expressing SQL queries eloquently is possible with Rails.  

Active Controllers  
Rails’ active controllers can expose the domain model to the web and process incoming parameters. Further, the controllers can also render templates and set caching headers, which makes it possible to respond with HTML or JSON.  

Convention over Configuration   
Web development can be a tedious task when using some software systems like Java web application frameworks. As they need multiple configuration files, there is a need to have multiple settings. However, convention over configuration makes it possible to assign value automatically without user intervention. Ruby on Rails avoids configuration files, sparing conventions, reflection, and dynamic runtime extensions.

This feature offers a set of techniques that lets programmers write code that dynamically writes other code. As a result, it is possible to write more flexible, adaptable, and dynamic code. 

Developers using Ruby can decide how an application database will work. Once this is decided, Rails generates the required code automatically. This technique helps create interfaces automatically. 

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Pros of Using Ruby on Rails

  • It helps developers build apps quickly and efficiently once they understand the framework well.  
  • Rails has third-party libraries that are released as gems. These can be installed using RubyGems, a public repository of gems. Libraries can also be installed via GitHub.  
  • The active community of RoR on GitHub developers offers great support for projects in the form of gem snippets.
  • Apps developed with Rails follow robust adherence standards, which include DRY and coding by convention principles.  
Pros and Cons of Ruby on Rails
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Cons of Using Ruby on Rails

  • With a collection of default tools and objects, there come some limitations to creativity.  
  • The community is vast and regularly posts updates, which might lead to steeper learning curves as developers adjust to the new updates.  
  • Rails has a longer boot time and can cause delays, especially if you are using it for bigger projects.  
  • Rails supports multithreading, which comes with the risk of coming across some IO libraries with no multithreading support. There is a chance that a request can get queued up behind the active requests in case of a slip-up, which can cause performance issues. 
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What is Ruby on Rails Used For?

With Ruby on Rails, it is possible to combine Ruby with HTML, JavaScript, and CSS and develop apps that execute on a web server. You can use RoR to build customer relationship management interfaces, social media platforms, payment systems, and web applications. An overview of some top global companies using Ruby on Rails will give a better understanding of Rails’ use cases.  

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Top Companies Using Ruby on Rails

Top companies using Ruby on Rails

The global accommodation company has been using Rails since 2008. With a growing base of travelers and hosts, Airbnb needs a framework that offers flexibility, scalability, and seamless integration. Ruby on Rails offers all this to the global travel giant. Currently, RoR is used for API integration at Airbnb.

Netflix uses RoR for monitoring and analytics. RoR-based technologies help the global streaming service make data-driven decisions with the collected data.  

The web hosting platform uses RoR for testing and Rest APIs. RoR’s robust testing mechanism is employed by GitHub to make automated test apps. GitHub makes APIs available to developers, and these are built with Ruby on Rails.  


More than 30 million music creators are registered on the music sharing app. The platform has used Rails for its frontend development, and it also uses the Rails asset pipeline to handle its JavaScript and CSS files. In addition, because SoundCloud has a huge codebase, it depends on Rails for automated testing.

It is an online platform where graphic designers can post their projects and interact with other designers to improve their skills. It was created in 2009 with Ruby on Rails but also uses other frameworks, such as HTML5 and jQuery. Rails facilitates Dribble’s scalability and flexibility, allowing it to let users share their media seamlessly.

The cloud-based customer support software that has Airbnb and Shopify as clients. Rails’ versatile APIs are used in the backend of these services.

It is a hospitality exchange service that connects budget travelers with generous hosts. It has used Ruby on Rails for its development process and benefits from Ruby’s ability to maintain high-quality code.

The online shopping store has millions of customers, which means it needs a robust interface and a reliable design. Shopify was mostly developed with Ruby on Rails, and it also uses RoR’s modular architecture to manage its admin interface.


The online crowdfunding platform’s backend and frontend development is built on Rails. Also, the framework offers scalability for Kickstarter’s user interactions.


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The Bottomline

Ruby on Rails is based on one of the most popular programming languages, Ruby. As of 2023, Ruby and RoR are the toppaying technologies globally. Ruby on Rails simplifies the creation of modern web apps with its decades of experience in serving a global client base, including Netflix, Shopify, Crunchbase, and Airbnb. A full-stack framework like Rails is a great choice to build scalable apps quickly. With its vast library of gems and a very supportive community, Ruby on Rails offers everything you need to create database-backed web applications.


No. Ruby is a programming language, while Ruby on Rails is a web development framework built on Ruby.

Yes, Rails can be used for both backend and frontend development.

RoR can slow down big projects because of its slower runtime. Hence, you should avoid it for big projects.

Here are some alternatives to Ruby on Rails: 

  • WOW Slider 
  • Datatables 
  • ASP.NET 
  • JQuery UI 
  • handlebars 

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