[thelist] Ruby on Rails: why?

Mark Howells-Mead webdev at mountain.ch
Thu Nov 15 06:27:21 CST 2007

Hi Paul, thanks for the detailed reply!

> 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.

So if one has a central batch of function (method) libraries, which  
can be appended to projects as required, then that amounts to the  
same thing? RoR is simply a framework of libraries, which developers  
can use to create apps and dynamically-driven website?

> 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.

That certainly makes sense, though if I've been using the concept of  
separation between content, layout and functionality for nearly ten  
years, building new globally useful library methods every week, then  
does that amount to the same thing?

> 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.

OK, I retract what I said; what I actually meant was poor code in  
terms of code which isn't *quite* right for our application, so that  
it always has to be modified and often has to be improved or extended.

> 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.

Absolutely, but they've only passed the production environment test  
of that application environment. For example, none of the high  
profile shareware/freeware CMS systems, like WordPress for example,  
don't properly support multilingualism. There are of course plug-ins,  
but the majority of them are likely to be way less than they could  
be, because they're based on WordPress itself.

> 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.

Do you have any links you can share? It sounds as though I've been  
doing this for many years, and that (for example) RoR is simply the  
most recent and popular framework.

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

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