We love Ruby on Rails and it’s our tech stack of choice when developing new applications for our clients and partners. We find it particularly effective for building a minimum viable product (MVP) and thought we’d explain why it could be a great choice for your next project.
An MVP is an early version of your product or service, with a pared-back feature set, designed to delight a core audience who can give you feedback to guide future development. Focusing on key functionality minimises development time and costs, while enabling businesses to test the viability of their concept. You can then iterate on your ideas, make more informed decisions and create a more robust and successful product
Rails is the perfect framework for building quickly, cost-effectively and iteratively, but it will also lay solid foundations that will stand you in good stead for the future. Let’s explore why.
Rapid development means speed to market
Ruby on Rails is often called the “one person framework” and is designed to empower tiny teams to do big things quickly. Unlike many other frameworks, it provides a lot of the building blocks required to create a complex application out of the box, seamlessly integrated to work together. This provides a great foundation on which to build.
There’s a “Rails way” to do things. The Rails team has made myriad decisions on our behalf through a philosophy known as ‘convention over configuration’. By adopting these conventions we can leverage the wisdom of others, requiring us to make fewer, often inconsequential, choices while coding and increasing the speed of development.
Ruby and Rails provide programmers with a “drawer of sharp knives”. In the same way a great chef has access to tools that might be dangerous, but when used correctly can produce a masterpiece, we developers are given powerful language and framework features and trusted to use them safely. When used improperly, these tools could result in applications that are hard to maintain or perform poorly, but when used by a skilled craftsperson can allow complex features to be expressed concisely and developed quickly.
The combination of these qualities allows us to rapidly develop high quality MVPs, allowing you to get to market quickly.
Cost effective ecosystem
Ruby on Rails is an open source framework, meaning it’s free to use for commercial applications and there’s no licence to pay.
A benefit of Rails being open source is that it has a huge ecosystem around it. As part of that, developers from around the world have published an array of plugins, known as gems, that are freely available to use. High quality, off-the-shelf solutions to common application requirements makes development quicker and therefore more cost effective. For example, rather than building authentication from scratch, we can use a combination of a few gems to bootstrap an app with the ability to sign up, login, confirm email address validity, require 2 factor authentication, reset lost passwords, audit login activity and much more, saving days of effort.
Being able to build more software for less money means you can stretch your budget to trial more features, iterate on more ideas and stand a much better chance of meeting your objectives.
Solid foundations for growth
A successful MVP is something you will build upon over time. Ruby on Rails is proven to scale from small MVP to hugely successful applications. We’ve built a lot over the years, including CiteAb, iAM Compliant and Getting Married. But don’t just take our word for it, Ruby on Rails is used by large companies such as Shopify, Airbnb, Basecamp and GitHub.
Rails apps are malleable and can easily grow and be reorganised as your business expands or pivots to find product market fit. Your MVP can evolve into your complete product, so there’s no need to throw it away and start again.
A mature, pragmatic choice
Ruby on Rails is 20 years old and yet continues to go from strength to strength.
Regular updates are released that enhance security, improve performance, integrate the latest best practices and add more tools to the toolbox. These updates are always evolutionary and never require large rewrites to benefit from the newest features.
Rails is secure by design, meaning there’s a whole host of security features baked into the framework to mitigate a wide range of cyber attacks. It also provides a wide range of tools to help developers ensure apps and data are protected, without having to reinvent the wheel.
There’s a large, active community of Rubyists which means there’s lots of talent available when the time comes to move away from an agency and hire an in-house team.
So Rails is a mature, stable, secure framework that is still evolving to embrace the newest ideas and has a large, active community. What’s not to like?
We’ve spent over a decade using Ruby on Rails to build web applications for our clients and partners. We love the cost effective, rapid pace of development on secure, stable foundations, the scalability and the flexibility that allows clients to go from MVP to successful business. Hopefully you can see why we think Ruby on Rails would be a great choice for your next project!
Want to know more about Ruby on Rails?
Whether you’re looking to start fresh, and want to learn more about Rails, or you’re looking for an agency to take on your existing Rails app, we’re here to help.