What is Rails?
Rails is a web application development framework written in the Ruby programming language. It is designed to make programming web applications easier by making assumptions about what every developer needs to get started. It allows you to write LESS code while accomplishing more than many other languages and frameworks. Experienced Rails developers also report that it makes web application development more fun.
Rails is opinionated software. It makes the assumption that there is a “best” way to do things, and it’s designed to encourage that way – and in some cases to discourage alternatives. If you learn “The Rails Way” you’ll probably discover a tremendous increase in productivity. If you persist in bringing old habits from other languages to your Rails development, and trying to use patterns you learned elsewhere, you may have a LESS happy experience.
The Rails philosophy includes two major guiding principles:
- Don’t Repeat Yourself: DRY is a principle of software development which states that “Every piece of knowledge must have a single, unambiguous, authoritative representation within a system.” By not writing the same information over and over again, our code is more maintainable, more extensible, and LESS buggy.
- Convention Over Configuration: Rails has opinions about the best way to do many things in a web application, and defaults to this set of conventions, rather than require that you specify minutiae through endless configuration files.
Imagine what you could build if you learned Ruby on Rails…
Learning to build a modern web application is daunting. Ruby on Rails makes it much easier and more fun. It includes everything you need to build fantastic applications, and you can learn it with the support of our large, friendly community.
You’ve probably already used many of the applications that were built with Ruby on Rails: Basecamp, GitHub, Shopify, Airbnb, Twitch, SoundCloud, Hulu, Zendesk, Square, Cookpad. Those are just some of the big names, but there are literally hundreds of thousands of applications built with the framework since its release in 2004.
Ruby on Rails is open source software, so not only is it free to use, you can also help make it better. More than 5,000 people already have contributed code to Rails. It’s easier than you think to become one of them.
Optimizing for programmer happiness with Convention over Configuration is how we roll. Ruby on Rails has been popularizing both concepts along with a variety of other controversial points since the beginning. To learn more about why Rails is so different from many other web-application frameworks and paradigms, examine The Rails Doctrine.