The Ruby community is amazing and there is a lot of positive energy, enthusiasm to support every developer associated with it. This has kept the demand for Ruby and Rails on part of the developers quite high since the platform was first launched. However, Ruby and Rails are quite different aspects of the language and it is important to know how each work to create a successful product.
Ruby on Rails officially stepped into the web space on July 2004 when David Heinemeier created the Basecamp web application – a project management tool. However, the language got its first impetus when Apple recognized the potential and decided to ship it with its Mac OS X v.10.5 “Leopard” on August 2006. Through a series of regular updates and upgrades, Ruby and Rails is believed to be one of the most elegant programming languages today.
Similar to any other web application framework, Ruby on Rails uses Model View Controller (MVC) for its architecture. It brings in tools that make it a whole lot easier to create development functions for websites and applications. Rails, as of today, have been in the news for more than a decade now and for Ruby, the development experience is double. Both languages have created their specific territories. Here we look at the technical and existential challenges and opportunities that each face.
The changing programming environment
The above points hint that Rails has been the driving factor for the Ruby business. With more performance improvements coming in, there is certainly a long way to go.
Libraries and scripting
Ruby, like Python, has been highly useful to automate tasks and stitch together various functionalities from across the web. The “Gems” package from Ruby is easy to install and so are third party applications and SDKs. However, Python gets an edge with its specialized computing features, specifically related to maths and science. Ruby addresses the gap with features like SciRuby and both languages bring forward a healthy competition.
However, Libraries and Scripting from Ruby and Rails still have alternatives and this lowers its competitiveness.
Speed, scale and asynchronicity
This is where Ruby and Rails could be said to be on the losing end. Several legacy projects done with Rails are suffering for their poor performance scale. At the same time, the programs are being re-written in competing languages like Go and Node.js. A glaring example of this failure has been Parse, a mobile application outfit that switched from Ruby to Go to achieve better scale. Similarly, Twitter, which was originally a Ruby project, was replaced with Scala and a custom Java-based solution.
While it has been a great experience with Ruby, it needs to be maintained and preserved to continue existing as opposed to bringing/building new tools.