A critical look at the pros and cons
Since its release in 1995, programmers have used Ruby both for web development and for higher level server management projects. Whether a novice or a veteran, Ruby and the Rails framework give programmers high-level functionality for things like rapid prototyping and full-stack development. It has a large open source development community committed to supporting software development efforts in a variety of industries and verticals.
In this article, we give a quick overview of Ruby, take a look at the importance of Ruby on Rails, and list the features that have attracted an enthusiastic community. We also identify the unfortunate limitations of Ruby programming which seem to restrict the language adoption status throughout the development community.
Quick tour of Ruby
While Ruby is certainly its own unique language, it incorporates a fair amount of influence from Perl in its simplicity, Smalltalk in its approach to objects, and Lisp in terms of general-purpose usability. Programmers can use Ruby’s server-side capabilities to enhance applications built with other languages or integrate Ruby into their own software to use as a scripting language.
Ruby works like paste code that helps developers create custom scripts for basic things like shell commands, app wrappers, command line interfaces, and common gate interfaces. The language works primarily using an object-oriented programming approach that revolves around the use of functionality methods and simple naming conventions for variables. For example, anything that can be said to have a value (that is, numbers, strings, arrays, classes, and modules) is considered an object in Ruby.
The importance of Ruby on Rails
The Ruby on Rails framework (also known simply as Rails) is a key part of what makes programming in Ruby attractive. Through abstraction, this framework helps reduce repetitive programming tasks, such as testing, error detection, and debugging. Since it uses an MVC (Model-View-Controller) format, it is also possible to perform parallel data development and user interface design. In addition to this, Rails uses a single controller mechanism that coordinates MVC interactions and manages the routing of external requests.
A key aspect of Rails is its adherence to both Configuration convention and don’t repeat yourself (DRY) principles. Applying the practice of conventions to configuration helps ensure smooth navigation through segments of a Rails-based application by automatically ensuring that related items, such as classes and their associated database table, are identified in the directory using a shared name. Meanwhile, DRY practices have reduced the need for programmers to repeatedly write code for individual processes by dictating that a certain type of process can only be written in a unique and standardized way.
The advantages of programming in Ruby
Some features of Ruby are specially designed to speed up development and simplify the learning process. For example, the conciseness and elegance of the language helps to improve readability and comprehension, especially for those new to programming. Developers can also easily transition to and from projects based in other languages using Ruby’s automated documentation capabilities.
Here are some of the most important and beneficial characteristics of Ruby:
- Ruby uses a virtual machine to execute code, which stays true to its identity as an interpreted language.
- Developers can use RubyGems to import add-ons, libraries, and code packages that speed things up like debugging and authentication.
- By declaring exception handlers in Ruby, programmers can automatically stop the normal execution of a program and transfer the flow of control to the exception handling code.
- An efficient garbage collector in Ruby improves memory usage by providing a mark and scan process for all objects.
- The GC.compact method (introduced in Ruby 2.7) is designed to counter Ruby’s tendency to create error-inducing memory fragmentation.
Ruby’s notable limitations
Ruby adoption trends have been somewhat erratic since the high levels of popularity it held on the TIOBE index in the early to mid-2000s. language to certain resources. For example, while the actual syntax of the language is relatively easy to understand, new users of the language may have difficulty locating the open source community’s documentation on particular RubyGems methods. However, there are a few performance limitations that also impact adoption trends.
For starters, Ruby-based applications are sensitive to slow startup speeds, especially if an application’s processes require a large number of method calls. Mitigating the high memory cost and the performance impact of method calls in Ruby often requires several code reviews and add-ons, such as the Bootsnap and Spring Boot library extensions. Slower execution speeds and deemed minimal web hosting support in Rails also make the list of common complaints.
Ruby is comparatively more resource intensive than languages like Java and PHP, which tend to provide more efficient approaches to library parsing and web application processing. Despite this, however, developers can use the JRuby implementation to integrate with a JVM using JRuby and attempt to achieve execution speeds that rival those of Java and PHP.