Ruby On Rails - Open Source Web Development
Ruby on Rails is an open source development framework written in the Ruby programming language, that emphasises productivity and convention over the minutiae of configuration.
Created in 2003 by David Hansson, it was first released as open source in mid-2004, with commit rights following in the beginning of 2005. In 2006, Rails got the official nod of approval when Apple announced that it would ship Ruby on Rails with Mac OS X v10.5 “Leopard,” which was subsequently released in 2007.
The Rails Package
Rails comes packaged with a simple Ruby web server, as well as the Rake build system, making the package an effectively self-contained development environment in and of itself. It also includes generators and scripts which allow developers to automate simple but time-consuming tasks, such as migrating databases, running tests and measuring performance.
Advantages of Rails
Ruby on Rails has a number of advantages that make it popular with a growing developer group who praise it’s ease of use, elegance of code, and the speed with which applications can be created.
Rails features a variety of tools that are intended to make common development tasks easier, by focusing on the idea that you shouldn’t need to repeat yourself. Instead of configuring each aspect of the application individually, Rails only requires that you specify configurations for any unconventional aspects of the application. Rails calls this DRY, which literally means, Don’t Repeat Yourself, and it’s a principle that underlies its vaunted development speed.
In all conventional parts of the application, Rails will draw the necessary information automatically from a single centralised source for the data.
One of the greatest advantages of Rails though, lies in the open source nature of the project. By it’s nature, an open source software project is a dynamic and constantly evolving platform. An open and active developer community means that plug-ins and additional modules for Rails are constantly being created, perfected and made available.
Despite it’s relative infancy, Ruby on Rails has already made quite an impact in the global development community. TIOBE named Ruby it’s new development language of the year for 2006, and despite varying levels of acceptance, it’s commonly regarded as a viable platform that is likely to continue to grow in relevance and popularity.
Rails In South Africa
Net Age is proud to be one of the very small number of specialised developers in the country to use Rails in mainstream development, and have been doing so since 2006.
In the past, finding servers capable of hosting Rails sites was something of a stumbling block to Rails development in South Africa. As passionate proponents of open source software, though, Net Age has geared even its servers toward hosting Rails sites, allowing us to make the most of this groundbreaking development tool.