Meet the industry game-changers that choose Ruby on Rails

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+390,000. That’s the number of websites that currently use Ruby on Rails. Among them, there’re some well-known sites and apps you may have heard about, whether as a tech fan or as a user. From Airbnb, Hulu, and Goodreads for leisure fans to Shopify and Basecamp. Plus, it’s not a small detail that GitHub uses it too.

But why are developers still choosing this Ruby-based framework made almost 20 years ago? Today we’re going to dive deep into that and into the features that using Ruby on Rails offers. 

At Eagerworks, we work with Ruby on Rails as one of our principal frameworks, as we think Ruby on Rails philosophy is the perfect approach for a startup. Previously, we’ve been discussing this in our blog posts “Why we believe Ruby on Rails is the perfect ally for software startups” and “Ruby on Rails: the game changer framework for your Startup”.

Here we’ll go through some of the industry game-changers that are built in Ruby on Rails.


A quick Ruby on Rails Overview

Ruby on Rails was released in 2004 and introduced a brand-new way of approach to creating web apps. Since then, developers have enjoyed less working on coding and more focusing on the extra value they could bring as professionals, like business insights and the logic of the app.

Nowadays, after almost 20 years, Ruby on Rails is still trendy. What 2004’s trend can you name that is still being used? At least in technology, not so many.

This full-stack framework still helps developers build a huge range of websites. For instance, it’s chosen to create server-side or back-end web apps. It’s made of two parts: Ruby as a programming language and Rails as a software library that boosts its capabilities. 


One show, two stars: Presenting Ruby 

Yukihiro Matsumoto developed Ruby more than 25 years ago. This Japanese software developer had one goal in mind: a programming language that could be smoothly understood by humans, not by machines. 

And he did accomplish that. Maybe it’s Ruby’s user-friendly and usability focus design that makes this programming language still rank as one of the top ten most popular programming languages.

Now it’s time for Rails to show its talent

Rails is basically Ruby’s co-star. That much that its “artistic name” is actually Ruby on Rails. Rails was made by David Heinemeier Hansson a few years after Ruby’s appearance. 

For David, its goal was mainly to ease his bad relationship with common programming languages like Java or PHP. Many other frameworks, for example, Django and Adonis, use Rails’ concepts. 

We can say that Rails is the father of many modern frameworks. Maybe it’s that it enables developers to create full-stack web applications, or that they can even build a front-end app by just using HTML/CSS and Ruby code. But let’s say a little more about this.

This software library has the power to broaden Ruby’s capabilities. To do so, David combined HTML, JavaScript, and CSS with Ruby. Et voilá! That’s how one of the most popular programming tools has appeared. 


Why should you choose Ruby on Rails?

We’ve already said that after almost 20 years, Ruby on Rails is still a top trend in web app development. If you don’t believe us, you can ask its GitHub community of over 4,000 developers. 

But, why is that so relevant? Being that much in GitHub means that many people chase and create Ruby on Rail’s improvements, as this is an open-source framework.

Unlike newborn trends—we should always have in mind that just because it’s a new trend doesn’t mean you have to embrace it—Ruby on Rails is time-tested, reliable, and has really tempting features to offer. 

Let’s talk a little more about its maturity and a key feature: Gems. Two characteristics that maybe startups take into account when choosing Ruby on Rails—many well-known 2015 websites use it and even more and more still do in the last few years.


Mature doesn’t mean old

First, an innovation becomes viral. Then, over the years when everyone has calmed down, that innovation becomes the new normal. That’s kinda how maturity works. But just because it’s mature doesn’t mean it’s old age or even boring.

Maturity in terms of Ruby on Rails has tons of benefits. Our three favorites are stability, refined code, and the capability of maintaining web applications. 

Plus, it has proven that it’s mature enough to let developers focus on features instead of worrying about codes that a framework can solve for them. This paves the way for speeding up MPVs and startup apps’ delivery.


What’s more valuable than a gem?

The huge Ruby on Rails (RoR) community keeps on bringing new gems all the time to solve problems and bring more value to RoR. Gems are actually Ruby’s software libraries. 

When talking about RubyGems we’re talking about a package manager that unlocks the building and sharing of Ruby software libraries (AKA gems). 

If a programming problem arises, you can search on the RubyGems website for the gem that solves it. Those gems are very easy to use and download. 


Why do companies choose Ruby on Rails? 

This dynamic, versatile, mature, programming language is currently being used by industry game-changers across many different sectors. 

Apart from the most common ones that we’re gonna check out now, there’re other useful things Ruby on Rails can help with. For instance: automation, backup, servers, static website generators, DevOps tools, and command-line media players.

With that being said, let’s now explore the most common types:

  • Platforms that must be able to manage complex databases.
  • Ecommerce platforms—Ruby on Rails is fast to develop, flexible, and doesn’t represent a huge investment.
  • MVPs—using Ruby on Rails means speeding up MVPs development while making it cost-effective. Plus, it’s easy to test multiple versions of products without creating the fully functional one first.
  • Social networking—this is a great use because Ruby can handle apps with a huge amount of traffic. 
  • Apartment sharing and booking apps—Ruby has the power to handle a lot of daily transactions and property bookings too.


The 10 most popular web apps that choose Ruby on Rails

What could be better to make sure Ruby on Rails is still trendy than checking out some of the most outstanding web apps that use it? 

Let’s jump into some examples that will certainly show RoR's power.


1 - AirBnB: RoR is your host

With more than 100,4 million monthly visits, AirBnB relies on Ruby on Rails to create its web application. This app connects travelers with hosts across 191 countries and 65,000 cities. 

AirBnB offers travelers the chance to list, explore and book apartments, hotels, and other locations. Each service is created with Ruby on Rails.


2 - Put Ruby on Rails on your shopping list with Shopify

Shopify and Ruby on Rails share their birth year. Both appeared in 2004. But, actually, they share more than just that. Shopify is a leading platform for creating e-commerce websites. It uses a software-as-a-service model to give users the power to design their own stores.

They can create everything from stock to marketing. All of that is enabled by Ruby on Rails. Long story short: Shopify is an RoR-based online store development model so easy to use that anyone can handle it without any technical know-how.

3 - GitHub: Collaboration platform built in RoR

We’ve been talking about the Ruby on Rails GitHub community and what’s even more fantastic it’s that the site relies on Ruby on Rails too.

Just in case you’re not too familiar with GitHub, this is a website where developers around the world talk and share code. Three years ago, GitHub had over 31 million users and 100 million repositories. And they chose Ruby on Rails for its design, which proves the power of this framework.

4 - Don’t turn the page of Ruby on Rails: GoodReads and RoR love story

Over 120 million monthly visits. Tons of users give opinions about their favorite books, make their own reading lists, and talk to other users. All with this RoR-based platform created in 2007. 
GoodReads has more than 1,5 billion books. Plus, users can even start discussions, create groups, surveys, polls, blog posts, and more in this web app. Isn’t it amazing what RoR can help platforms achieve?


5 - Basecamp: Ruby on Rails as project manager

Well, we said “project manager” but it’s actually like the CEO. Because Basecamp was where Ruby on Rails began. David Heinemeier Hansson created Rails while working on this website.

Basecamp is a website for project management. Teams can track work, set deadlines, communicate updates and tasks, manage work assets, and more. This is guaranteed by the RoR foundation.


6 - Next episode: The one where Hulu meets Ruby on Rails

Yes, Hulu one of the most known streaming platforms uses Ruby on Rails. Actually, it’s that huge fan that it sponsor the RailsConf in 2012.

Hulu has a wide catalog of current and past TV series episodes. It was created in 2008 and has over over 34 million subscribers and nearly 100 million total viewers.


7 - Fiverr: Ruby on Rails applied for this job

It all started in 2010. Fiverr appearance was mainly made to connect companies with the right talent. On this RoR-based web app, freelancers across many disciplines can offer their talent to customers.

From writing and designing to programming and music processing. Freelancers just have to get into Fiverr and offer their services to the customers. And, of course, customers needing talent can get into it too to find it.

8 - Soundcloud: Headphones on, Ruby on Rails too

Soundcloud is rendered utilizing Ruby on Rails. This platform, created in 2008, is the house of over 135 million recordings. Some of the most famous artists use it. Plus, users can explore tracks, podcasts, raw demos, and more.

This platform’s original version was made as a single, monolithic Ruby on Rails app but when Soundcloud was getting higher and higher users, it had to be rewritten. Plus, they had to change the monolithic model for microservices too.


9 - Slideshare: A Ruby on Rails library

We literally—or at least digitally—mean that. More than 3 million viewers just after one year it was created in 2006. Over 70 million active users. Breath-taken numbers for an RoR-based hosting system that has documents, presentations, PDFs, videos, and more on the inside.

Although it’s mainly connected to the web-conferencing and education sector, the truth is that it goes beyond those walls. Users get into Slideshare to view, comment, rate and even share content using Ruby on Rails. Of course, they probably won’t know that RoR is what makes all of that possible.

10 - Twitch: Ruby on Rails can be Gen Z too

Twitch is the place where Gen Z and Gen Alpha meet to just enjoy their gamer passion. This is an online streaming platform with over 1 million broadcasts monthly and more than 140 million users—at least until 2020. Just take this into account: it doesn’t suffer from any scalability issues.


Why do we choose Ruby on Rails too

At Eagerworks, we are specialized in startups, and we firmly believe Ruby on Rails can provide the development speed and adaptability that is needed in an innovative project, specially during the first steps. 

Checking out any of the websites of these platforms, you can see it with your own eyes and get to know references from different industries that rely on Ruby on Rails as their main technology. 

If you want to dive deeper into Ruby on Rails and learn more about this framework and its approach, you can have a look at any of our articles about Ruby on Rails in our blog. 

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Ignacio Grondona
October 06, 2022

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