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Ruby on Rails rocks!!

Posted by Rayko Thu, 06 May 2010 13:47:00 GMT

Now that I have some time working with RoR, I can say it's a great way of work. Of cource I can't compare it with other configurations, I just don't have experence with other, I'm very junior on developing. But not only the language is great and easy to learn, the framework is also really easy to use and very adaptable.

The plugins system that uses Rails, gives to the appication you're making a lot of pre-made functions you can gen on internet. From a helper that shows a calendar to an entire model, like restful_authentication. There are many plugins out there that are easy to install. But the bad thing is that many of those plugins are out of date and/or are not maintained anymore. An example: we were using acts_as_authenticated on an app I was working on, and we come across some problems dealing with the functionality of the plugin. There were little documentation about this plugin, and one of the original documents expose that the original author of the plugin wasn't maintaning anymore the plugin. He recommended to use restful_authentication instead, so if you use too much plugins, or plugins not very common, you'll come across this problem too. This is because it's so easy to write some code and make a plugin of it to use it in other applications that lots of people put some work on that, but no all of those maintain constantly their code.

Another great thing about Rails is it's way of work. Rails uses many standards that makes you work in the rigth way. Many conventions are used here, for example, a class should have a name like Person, and the controller should be persons_controller. Note the plural on the last one. The framework takes care of that, but the developer should learn the conventions used, in order to understand what's he doing.

Rails is indeed a great framework to develop web applications. Of course there are other out there for different uses or objectives and anyone who has other need should work with a framework suitable for him.

A bad thing about Rails is it's great number of files. The bigger your application is (talking about number of functionalities), more files you will have. As far as I know, on Windows systems, where the filesystem is NTFS or FAT32, this makes increase in size the application. In NTFS, the minimun size for a block is 4096 bytes (4KB). Most files in rails have very few lines and are below 4096 characters. Imagine that with hundred of files, the size will increase dramatically. You can see how space you are wasting by checking the real size on the properties. The Ruby interpreter in Windows XP with NTFS filesystem has a size of 130 MB of physical memory, but the real size was 30 MB. Of course the system nowdays had no trouble to handle this, but it's a big difference anyway.

Rails works with a DRY methology, wich is a good way of programming. That means that one thing has it's place and it's file. Also the MCV is implemented by Rails. You may have many files, but they have order and you will find what you need in the place that it should be.

This is not a technical review or a detailed opinion. It's just the impression Ruby on Rails gave me when I started to work with it. I encourage you to find information about it in internet, there are tons of tutorials and info about Ruby and Rails. You can try the blog tutorial, wich is the most popular, hehe.

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