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Jul 20, 2023

about 6 min read

Is Ruby on Rails Dead? Don't Believe the Rumors!

Is Ruby on Rails dead? Not even close. Here is why it is still an excellent choice for your web development project.


Ruby on Rails (or Rails for short) is a web application framework written in the Ruby programming language. It was initially released in 2004. Since then, it has quickly become one of the world’s most popular web frameworks. 


However, there have been rumors that Ruby on Rails is dead or dying in recent years. But is it true? This question has been asked many times over the years, especially as new technologies and frameworks emerge in the web development scene. Some may think this web framework is outdated, slow, or hard to scale. In contrast, others argue that it is still relevant, productive, and enjoyable to work with. So, who is right? Let’s seek the answer in this article.

 

Is Ruby on Rails Dead?


To put it simply, Ruby on Rails is not dead. But it is not the same as it was when it first came out. While Ruby on Railspopularity has declined somewhat in recent years, it is still a prevalent framework. Nowadays, many large and well-known companies still use it. According to a survey by Stack Overflow in 2022, Ruby on Rails is still the 12th most popular programming language in the world.

 


This web framework has evolved and adapted to developers’ and users’ changing needs and preferences. It has faced some challenges and criticisms along the way. However, it still has much to offer.

 

5 Reasons Why Ruby on Rails is Still Relevant


This may not be the hottest or most trendy framework right now. However, it still has many advantages and benefits, making it a viable choice for web development. Here are some of them:

 

It Is Mature and Stable


This web framework has been around for almost two decades, undergoing many iterations and improvements. It has a solid codebase, well-defined structure, and rich features and libraries (gems) covering most common web development needs. 


In addition, it follows the principle of convention over configuration. As a result, the amount of code and configuration needed to create a web application is reduced.

 

It Is Regularly Updated


However, this is not a stagnant or obsolete framework. It is constantly updated and improved by its core team and contributors. The latest version—7.0.6—was released in June 2023. It introduced many new features and enhancements, including: 

 

  • Active Storage
  • Action Mailbox
  • Action Text
  • Parallel Testing


This web framework also follows the principle of omakase. This means it provides a curated stack of best-of-breed technologies and libraries that work well together and are kept up to date.

 

It Has a Large and Active Community


This web framework boasts a friendly and dynamic community of developers, users, mentors, teachers, bloggers, podcasters, conference organizers, and enthusiasts. The community produces abundant top-quality resources, including: 

 

  • Books
  • Tutorials
  • Courses
  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Conferences


Therefore, newcomers can learn quickly. And experienced developers have a place to enhance their skills. Additionally, it contributes to the development and maintenance of the web framework itself by submitting bug reports, feature requests, patches, and documentation.

 

Large Companies Use Rails as Their Main Technology


It is not only used by small startups or hobbyists. Many large and successful companies and organizations rely on this web framework for their core business or mission. Some examples are GitHub, Shopify, Airbnb, Basecamp, Zendesk, Netflix, Stripe, Square, NASA, The New York Times, and BBC. These companies have proven that they can scale, perform, and deliver high-quality websites that serve millions of users and customers.

 

It Is Used for Many Projects Every Day


This is not a niche or obscure technology that only a few people use or know about. It is a widely used and popular framework that powers many web applications we use or encounter daily. 


Over 3.7 million websites use it as their framework. Approximately 180 thousand gems are compatible with it. These numbers show that this technology is a thriving and active framework with much demand and supply in the web development market.

 

Why Do the Rumors That Ruby on Rails Is Dead (or Dying) Appear?


There are several reasons why some people may think that Ruby on Rails is dead or dying in the web development scene. Here are some of them:

 

It Faces Competition from Other Frameworks


This is not the only web application framework in the market right now. Many others offer similar or different features and benefits, such as Django, Laravel, Node.js, React, Angular, and Vue. Some of these have advantages over Rails regarding performance, scalability, flexibility, or popularity. Therefore, some developers may switch to these frameworks to meet their specific needs or preferences.

Read more: Django vs Rails: Which Is Better?

 

It Does Not Follow Some of the Current Trends 


As a web development framework, it has its distinctive methodology that may not always match current trends or requirements. 


One such example is that it does not emphasize single-page applications (SPAs), which are gaining popularity in the web development scene. Moreover, it does not provide any support for native mobile development, an area increasingly in demand and interest. Additionally, a few developers may perceive this web framework as too rigid or restricted to meet their specific needs.

 

It Has Some Drawbacks and Challenges 


This is not a perfect framework. It has its drawbacks and challenges that may affect its usability and suitability. For example, it may have performance, memory consumption, or concurrency issues, especially when dealing with large-scale or complex applications. Additionally, it may have a steep learning curve for beginners or developers unfamiliar with Ruby or its conventions. It may also require more maintenance and updates to keep up with the latest versions and dependencies.

 

Ruby Is Still Alive but Unpopular


Ruby is the programming language behind Rails. Therefore, it affects the popularity of this web framework. This is a dynamic and expressive programming language created in 1995 by Yukihiro Matsumoto—also known as Matz. It is known for its expressiveness, elegance, and productivity. 


Although Ruby is not dead, it is not as popular as other programming languages, like JavaScript, Python, Java, and C#. According to Stack Overflow’s survey in 2023, Ruby is only the 13th most popular programming language in the world.

 

Some people may think that Ruby on Rails is dying, but this is not true. Although there are some weaknesses, Rails still has much to offer and a loyal community of supporters who keep it alive and well.

 

What is Rails Used For?


It is a general-purpose web application framework. Therefore, it can be used for various types of websites, including:

 

  • E-commerce. Rails is a popular choice for building online stores, marketplaces, and platforms that deal with transactions, payments, inventory, shipping, and other e-commerce features. Some examples of e-commerce websites built with this technology are Shopify, Spree Commerce, and Solidus.
  • Social media. Rails can be used for creating social networking sites, blogs, forums, and other platforms that involve user-generated content, interaction, and sharing. Some examples of social media websites built with this technology are Twitter, Medium, and Dev. to, and Discourse.
  • Software as a service (SaaS). Rails are also suitable for creating web-based software applications that provide various services to users or businesses, such as project management, customer relationship management, content management, analytics, and more. Some examples of SaaS websites built with this technology are Basecamp, GitHub, Zendesk, and Shopify.


Of course, you can use this web framework to create other types of websites as well, like educational, entertainment, gaming, and healthcare.

 

Conclusion


The rumors that Ruby on Rails is dead (or dying) are simply not true. The framework is still alive and well and is used by millions of developers worldwide. You can use it to build a wide variety of web applications. However, it is imperfect and faces challenges and criticisms regarding performance, scalability, and complexity.


All in all, if you are looking for a framework to build your next website, Rails is still a great choice. It is a mature framework with a large and active community that is still being developed.

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