Is Ruby on Rails The Future?

January 22nd, 2008 | Categories: design, off topic, social media, strategy, trends

Ruby on Rails logoFirst, let me say that I am not a programmer. Apart from basic HTML and CSS, I’m useless when it comes to coding. For this reason, my discussion around Ruby on Rails will take place at a high level.

Ruby on Rails is a web application framework written in the Ruby programming language. It was designed to decrease the time and effort needed to launch a database-driven website. Today we find more and more start-ups taking advantage of the platform. These companies recognize the value in such a framework. It provides an immediate jump-start.

Extracted from 37signals’ Basecamp, Ruby on Rails is exploding in popularity. Although hype and buzz are abound, the framework seems to be backing up all claims and continues to impress. Popular sites and services that are built off Ruby on Rails include Twitter, Revolution Health and

Downfalls and issues surrounding the framework seem to be few. Having said that, I keep hearing about potential scalability problems. My lack of insight in the area prevents me from providing an opinion. Obviously there are opportunity costs with every decision - but perhaps there are the fewest with respect to Ruby on Rails.

So I ask all the web developers, programmers, and coders out there: Is Ruby on Rails the future of the web? Or are there other superior frameworks out there that either haven’t caught on yet or failed to generate as much press?


  1. Gimmy Says:

    Ruby on Rails is very popular today. Many other applications are being built on it, not only Basecamp. 37 Signals can be really proud of Ruby on Rails, but not of their software. For example, I find that there are better project management tools on the Web, e.g. Wrike

  2. Rich Downie Says:

    I think that there will be lots of Rails work in the near future. I started from scratch in Dec ‘05 not even knowing CSS or HTML. Rails is very powerful and a great way for someone to get in the web biz. Ofcourse it’s not the magic bullet for every software app but it provides what most of the people want most of the time. The real power, I believe, lies in Ruby. I have a testing background and I am finding a rising demand in Web Testing frameworks like Watir and Selenium. These tools work, are free and allow you to use Ruby. I just landed a Full-Time testing gig in DC working mostly from home in Upstate New York. Primarily because of my knowledge and passion for Ruby.

    Future Frameworks: I’m keeping my eye on Merb.

  3. Michael Slater Says:

    I think Rails will become increasingly popular. In 5 years, I think it will be roughly where Java and its MVC frameworks are today.

    The scalability issues are largely a red herring. It takes work to scale to really high traffic, maybe a little more work and maybe a little more hardware with Rails than with PHP, for example, but the tradeoff is well worth it — development time is the really expensive thing, and if you can do a project with, say, 2 developers instead of 3, that pays for a lot of extra hardware.

    Rails is not a good fit for simple sites, for which you just can’t justify it’s overhead, or for sites where existing CMS systems like joomla and drupal do what you need.

    But if you need a significant custom site, I think the only major drawback to Rails is the learning curve; if you know, say, PHP, but are new to Rails, you’re going to take a big productivity hit until you’re up to to speed. But once you’re there, life is good.

    If you want to learn more about Rails, without getting buried in coding details, check out my Learning Rails podcast (search for it on iTunes, or go to

  4. Aaron Mills Says:

    I have been designing websites for the last ten years, and I have never had the dedication or real honest interest to learn much php or asp. Ruby in itself is revolutionizing the web for me as a publisher and marketer.

    It is allowing me to look at the web in a whole new light!

  5. CakePHP - The New Ruby on Rails? Says:

    […] Why has CakePHP exploded in popularity? Its success can be attributed to the head-on collision of two trends: PHP and Ruby on Rails. […]

  6. Harry Says:

    you REALLY need to read up mor (google it. type in ruby dying or somesuch combination), because the peak of ruby on rails already passed in 2005 or so. it’s actually been declining rapidly in popularity since then according to google trends and other measures.

  7. Harry Says:

    haha…actually the same google search that gave me ur page also gave me this, which was written about same time as urs.

    again, do ur research. RoR has been declining rapidly since the hype died.

  8. Sherry Says:

    Apart from all the fuss.
    Just tell me should i prefer ruby as rails as good software or website development future. As i’m going to join a firm with ruby as its platform. And yes i’m a fresher

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