Ruby on Rails: What you need to know

Ruby on Rails is a subject that you will encounter if you are entering the world of coding or web development. Despite a common misconception, Ruby is not a programming language, but one of the many coding skills available. So, what is Ruby on Rails or RoR?

Upon asking a Ruby on Rails developer, we’ve put together this rails tutorial that will allow you to learn Ruby on Rails from the best in the field! You will also learn the answers to common questions. What is Ruby? What is ruby on rails used for? What is Rails?

What is Ruby on Rails and What is Ruby used for?

According to RubyGarage’s RoR developer, Elena Sokolyk, Rails, Ruby or Rails, or Ruby Rails, is a website framework, web application framework, or web development framework that provides developers with a time-efficient technique of writing code.

Once you understand that Ruby on Rails is a web development framework, you have to understand what web development frameworks are if you want to start learning Ruby on Rails and are looking for Ruby on Rails download, RubyOnRails tutorials, or Rails versions.

A web development framework is a set of code libraries that provide developers with off-the-rack solutions for repetitive, time-consuming undertakings, such as creating forms, tables, or menus on a site. That’s what Ruby on Rails is: a web development framework.

Therefore, with web development frameworks, developers don’t have to write from scratch each code line. Instead, they go to an app/web development framework and locate a code for the common function that they need and plug it into the site/app they are creating. Each programming language has its specific frameworks, such as JavaScript programming language has AngularJS as its framework, i.e. all the code libraries pertaining to a specific programming language framework will have code written in that programming language.

Within this context, Rails is a framework written over Ruby, a programming language, hence the name Ruby on Rails. For those seeking to develop web applications using Ruby, they often refer to professionals skilled in this combination as Ruby on Rails developers. That should also explain the Ruby vs Ruby on Rails dilemma, where Ruby is the programming language and Ruby on Rails or Rails is its specific web framework!

Ruby on Rails: A Web Application Framework

While the terms Ruby and Ruby on Rails are often used interchangeably, Ruby is not Ruby on Rails, simply because Ruby on Rails is a set of shortcuts or code libraries written in the Ruby programming language that allows developers to build websites/web apps rapidly!

It is advisable to learn Ruby on Rails, i.e., a web app framework, before Ruby, i.e., the programming language because learning a framework allows quick progress in the beginning, i.e., you can quickly create a website that you can reveal to your friends.

Being able to build a website quickly will allow you to see how theory applies in practice.

Ruby on Rails: Full Tech Stack

The majority of programming languages, including Python, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and SQL do not cover both the front-end and the back-end. Ruby on Rails is different in that respect because it covers both ends, i.e., the Ruby on Rails developer can build a complete web app.

In the process of learning Ruby on Rails, you will end up learning a little about JavaScript, HTML/CSS, and Ruby programming languages. However, if you were to start learning any of these programming languages, you will not learn anything about Ruby on Rails.

Ruby on Rails: Stuff You Don’t Need to Know

There are many things that a beginner doesn’t need to know in order to use a Ruby on Rails app because RoR will assume how you want to do a certain task unless you tell it differently.

For beginners, Ruby on Rails is great because they don’t want to customize every aspect of their app since they are only in the beginning and don’t know or want to know these things.

With RoR, there is no need to know SQL to use a database in your Ruby on Rails application. RoR pulls third party code and keeps it updated for you, prevents SQL-injection, session hijacking, cross-site scripting, etc, and comes with its own server.

RoR, unlike other languages, does not entail knowing how to do everything on your own.  Furthermore, Ruby on Rails is easy to maintain and lends itself to collaboration. According to Culturebie’s founder and CEO, Jasmit Kaur, RoR’s attributes are due to its two key principles:

  • DRY (Do Not Repeat Yourself)

According to the RoR website, “every piece of knowledge must have a single, unambiguous, authoritative representation within a system.” The code is more expansible, more maintainable, and less buggy by not writing the same information repeatedly.

  • 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,” according to the RoR website.

Prerequisites when Learning RoR

The internet is packed with a plethora of courses, books, and bootcamps, all professing to be able to make you learn Ruby on Rails in 1 to 3 months. You can pick a ruby on rails book or another, but none will teach you what you need to know before learning RoR.

If you want to learn Rails, no matter the Rails version, or if you want to download Ruby on rails, you must learn the prerequisites to learning RoR first, which none of the Ruby on Rails books presents to you because the authors implicitly assume you know them.

These are some of the things that will help you learn Ruby on rails faster:

  • HTML

Start with learning HTML if you want to learn Ruby on Rails. To a large extent, RoR is a Ruby framework that generates HTML dynamically. Learn the basic HTML tags and the form tag which passes data from the user to the server.

  • CSS

Start learning CSS to make your HTML look enjoyable and appealing. Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS, may be informally referred to as stylesheets, or styles.

  • Ruby

Start learning Ruby, the programming language on top of which Ruby on Rails is built. Ruby is about object-oriented programming, and knowing other object-oriented programming languages, such as Java, C#, or C++, may prove useful, but it remains essential that you learn Ruby before its syntax is different.

  • HTTP (GET vs POST)

Knowing HTTP is crucial if you want to learn RoR faster. Understand the difference between the two type of calls in HTTP, the internet’s underlying protocol. Web programmers may find it easy to learn HTTP, but C++ or Java enthusiasts may not find it so easy.

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Creating a Ruby app or Ruby software using Ruby on Rails is not task for everyone. It requires an unwavering commitment to learning, but your efforts will be rewarded extensively. Remember that Ruby on Rails has helped build some of the best companies in the world and RoR developers are in demand in today’s world.

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By Milos Timotic

Full-Stack Developer

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