Why Rails for your startup?

FYI This post will be translated and posted on startit as well.

You just woke up and got that new amazing startup idea. Now the next logical move is to quickly prototype and test that idea to see if your thesis is correct.

There are lot of options out there but let's explore why Rails is good for exactly that situation.

Brief History

Rails was announced back in 2004. It got pretty famous when dhh, creator of Rails, made a video on how to create a blog in a very short amount of time and here is the video link.

After that video, Ruby ( the programming language the framework is written in ) and Rails got insanely popular.

As a result of a huge popularity gain a lot of amazing companies bet their business on Rails. Some of them are: Github, Shopify, Square, Soundcloud, AirBnB etc.

Quickly prototype and iterate

When one is starting out with his/hers business one of the most important things is to quickly iterate and test that idea. Rails is amazing at that.

Reason why dhh could make that blog in insanely low amount of time was that a lot of decisions were already made for him. All of the little choices about how to name things in your web app ( naming is one of the hardest problems in computer science ), where to put files, deployment to production etc. That's something called following "convention over configuration".

This means that you can actually focus on the core business logic and not worry about other things, which is crucial for fast iteration and prototyping.

Imagine having to configure every little thing, figure out how to name things on your own and setup your own conventions, it just make you slow.

Open Source

Rails is 100% open source. That means that you can go to github and look at what makes this framework tick.

There are a lot of benefits why open source is good but let's touch on a few points:

  • Code quality. One of the brightest minds in the industry are constantly working to make it better and are raising the standard of code and its quality.

  • Customizability. You can "copy" the entire framework and not depend on it and customize it the way you see fit for your project.

  • Support. When ever you run into a problem it is very likely that somebody already had that problem and it's solved.

Also if you want to contribute back to the community and Rails itself you can always do that over Github, which is pretty awesome.

Gems

Ruby has something that's called gems. Those are external libraries that help you do common tasks. Since Rails is written in Ruby it supports gems. There are wide ranges of these external libraries and some of them are for: authentication/authorization, keeping your passwords secure, voting systems etc.

Keep in mind that the ones I mentioned above are just some that I remembered right off the bat, but there is a huge library of gems and you can find them here. There are around 9,047,516,051 downloads ( as the time of this writing ) of gems!

Having wide range of things to plugin to your project can be really beneficial for you and your business, since it will allow you to focus on what's important.

Security. But for real.

Rails sets some security standards out of the box. The fact that Rails is open source means that its constantly updating the framework when new potential hacks come along. Here is an official manifest how seriously rails takes security.

Nowadays a lot of secure information floats around the internet and your business will probably contain some of it ( read credit cards processing ) and knowing that really strong community got your back is important.

That's all folks. I could go on and on about why Rails is good but I am not gonna hold you any longer, go and create amazing things!

Nikola Novakovic

Software engineer that loves business side of things as well. Also lifts a lot of weights.

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