[thelist] Ruby on Rails: why?

Paul Bennett Paul.Bennett at wcc.govt.nz
Wed Nov 14 13:00:58 CST 2007

Wow, bound to get a few replies here! 

This is a long reply, so bear with me here.

First of all, Ruby on Rails isn't a GUI product like Frontpage or GoLive, so I think you've been misled by the videos there.

RoR is a *framework* for producing dynamic web apps - basically if you send any amount of time building browser-based apps you'll soon get tired of solving the same problems and writing the same code over and over (and over) again.

RoR and other MVC frameworks (Zend, CakePHP, codeIgniter to name only some popular PHP alternatives) offer the separation (or near enough) of  data, business logic and presentation code, to allow you to get stuck into solving business problems first.

They take away much of the repetitive grunt work from building web apps.

Poor code? Bear in mind that most popular MVC frameworks are also *very* popular open-source projects with many intelligent developers not only extending but also securing and optimising the code, as well as identifying and fixing bugs. Also some pretty high profile, high traffic and high-load applications run on MVC frameworks (i.e.: all of 37Signals stuff) so they've passed the production environment test.

Personally, I've used cakePHP on several projects and am completely enamoured with it - it not only makes my development easier and faster, I get to focus more on problem solving and delivering something quickly and effectively than writing yet another db interface or presentation class.

Definitely, definitely take a look at using MVC frameworks if you spend any time building data-driven applications. The investment in time getting familiar with the MVC way of 'doing things' will be paid off many times over.

My 3c :)


-----Original Message-----
From: thelist-bounces at lists.evolt.org [mailto:thelist-bounces at lists.evolt.org] On Behalf Of Mark Howells-Mead
Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2007 3:26 AM
To: Evolt List
Subject: [thelist] Ruby on Rails: why?

Hi all

Just to be a bit controversial and perhaps a little OT.

Is Ruby on Rails just a trendy, client-server version of programs  
like GoLive and Frontpage? I see an awful lot of job adverts these  
days demanding experience with RoR, but from the introductory videos  
on the official website, it doesn't seem to be much more than a  
GoLive-type environment, albeit with integral Server-Side features.  
Am I missing something? It seems like a tool to enable developers to  
produce websites with dynamic content using less than optimal code  
and standardized functions, instead of had coding, which is in the  
most cases far superior. I am infinitely quicker coding by hand and  
RoR seems to add steps to the development process, instead of taking  
steps away....

Just $0.02, no offence intended to users and RoR developers!

Mark Howells-Mead
- www.permanenttourist.ch
- www.flickr.com/photos/mhowells/


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