We use Ruby as our platform of choice here at Dynamic50. Ruby is an object oriented programming language originating from Japan in the early 1990′s.
Definition of Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails is a platform for web development built on top of the Ruby programming language. A good paradigm for this is imagine that Ruby is a house and Ruby on Rails is the kitchen. The kitchen is designed for cooking. Sure you can put a stove in the lounge, but why would you when there is everything you need right in the kitchen. Ruby on Rails is a kitchen for web development.
The uses of Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails is a server-side technology. This means it helps you create websites that are dynamic. Static websites such as a portfolio site look much like a magazine off a stand. You cannot interact with them (ie post news, login etc…), all you can do is flick through the pages, you can’t interact with them.
All interactive websites, from this blog to facebook to youtube need server-side technology in order to store all of the information submitted to them, and to understand what to do with this information. For example, if you post a comment to this blog, the server must understand what to do with the comment, and when and where to display it, this is where the server-side technology comes in.
Ruby on Rails is one of the leading server-side development technologies on the web. It is highly productive, meaning it takes less time to get websites up and running, and has a small learning curve, making it easy for programmers to make the transition.
Ruby on Rails is based on the MVC (Model, View, Controller) paradigm. Today it is on version 2. I have personally been using Rails since version 0.8, and there have been quite a few changes since then.
Ruby on Rails is Open Source software, which means it costs nothing to use. This has obvious significant advantages over other paying technologies.
It is community driven and has a very strong team of contributors.
Getting Started with Ruby on Rails
So if you are looking at getting started with Ruby and Ruby on Rails, there is a wealth of information out there.
I throughroughly recommend Agile Web Development with Rails, which is currently available for pre-order (the last edition was sold out).
Get this book and start reading!
In my next post I will be listing some great reference sites for getting started with Rails.