#Tech | 7 min read

Is Ruby on Rails dying? [2020 edition]

Alex Morgunov , Project Lead

As the requests of developers and users change, so do technologies. As the main tools for the creation of applications, frameworks are no different. What was convenient and popular yesterday, may lose necessity and demand today.

The Ruby on Rails, a framework that is written in the Ruby language and released in 2004, is often called an example of such change. A framework that was once one of the most popular, is now considered to be stale and dead by some.

But is Rails dying, though?

Ruby on Rails criticism

We all have prejudice about something. RoR has suffered enough at the hands of prejudice.

Why do some people assume that Rails is dying? There’s still a huge Ruby on rails demand for MVPs and prototypes development.

Well, there are a number of reasons for this.

RoR’s popularity decline is not so much because of its obsolescence, but competition.

At the time of its release, this framework was one of a kind, which made it widely used in development until new products with similar or superior features began to appear.

When Ruby on Rails appeared it made a huge impact on the developer community. After its grand entrance, Rails continued to be at the forefront of chosen frameworks, reaching Ruby on Rails high usage in 2006. Although popularity has since declined, demand remains stable today.

Reasons for RoR Criticism

1. Slow Performance

Well, some will say RoR is not that fast, but it is rather a little bit slower than other frameworks. It often happens with the technologies that are interpreted (as Ruby on Rails is). 

Unlike compiled programming technologies like C++, Ruby and Rails require a little bit more extra time to execute the code. On the other hand, RoR appears faster when you start to write a code, which allows you to launch your project within several months. Therefore, we can say that RoR is slow at performance, but fast in terms of the MVP’s and prototypes’ development speed.

3. Complex Syntax

Someone may be surprised by this paragraph, as Ruby on Rails is famous because of its simple architecture. 

Diving in some details, the developers may see that RoR code looks simple, it’s complex at the same time. For example, one line of Ruby on Rails code can perform lots of action or address to other tools and libraries. And though it is rather an advantage, some junior developers still have difficulties when they start working with this framework. Most middle and senior developers usually admire how simple RoR’s syntax is.

 Related: Pros and Cons of Ruby on Rails

4. Scalability issues

Often, Ruby on Rails is claimed to be not scalable enough, especially for the junior developers or for those who never really programmed with Rails. 

We need to note that scalability issues can be related to any database performance dysfunctions. Therefore we can say that scalability isn’t always a question of programming language or the framework itself. 

A real-life example shows us  Shopify who is able to scale and support over 500,000 businesses at a time with Ruby on Rails.

 Read more: Ruby on Rails Scalability Issues

Is Ruby on Rails dead?

Ruby on Rails is alive and breathing, and may even outlive its competitors.

Of course, the application development process becomes increasingly complex and requires new capabilities from the frameworks at a rapidly increasing rate. In addition, new frameworks appear with novel capabilities and get quick (albeit temporary) acclaim, supporting the assumption that RoR is dying.

Reasons reasons why RoR is claimed dead

RoR & Machine Learning

In the modern tech world, AI-powered applications are entering the scene. 

And it becomes significant for a programming language or framework to be ML-friendly.

That’s why some developers may claim Ruby and Rails outdated – Rails is really not designed for Machine learning. 

Compare Ruby/Rails to Python you should consider your need for AI features and choose Python in case of AI implementation.

On the other hand, RoR is not designed to be universal, and is it a good reason to claim something dead, right? 

Not really flexible

This is true: at some point, Ruby on Rails isn’t flexible enough. Well, RoR is a framework that operates some fixed rules and default code samples, so if you decide to develop some extended or unconventional architecture,  it may be a challenge. 

Is Ruby on rails dying because of it? I would not recommend rushing to conclusions. 

2020 would be a great year for the RoR community due to the framework’s huge update thanks to the new version of Ruby 3.0. At this point, the new Ruby version promises us better performance, concurrency, and static analysis. Who knows, maybe we’ll see better flexibility as well?

Ruby on Rails Popularity

Although the popularity of RoR has declined in recent years, this is a reasonable expectation for technologies that have been on the market for an extended period of time.

Convenience

Today Rails is still convenient, functional, and useful, which is relevant to developers. RoR is convenient due to quick development, convenient and readable syntax, and innumerable built-in solutions (libraries). Competitors, though on the rise are likely to fall out of Ruby on Rails popularity in part due to novelty over practicality.

Community

The Rails framework always evolves, which is evident by the size of its active Ruby on Rails community. Developers use Q&A platforms like Stack, Overflow, and Dev regularly to discuss problems, as well as share new articles and tricks.

Companies using Ruby on Rails

Many large companies (Imgur, Github, Twitch.tv, and others) still use RoR for their apps. The foundation for a future for the Ruby on Rails framework has been set. As long as RoR’s features and functionality are among the best, well-known companies will continue using it in the development.

is ruby on rails dying

The future of Ruby on Rails

What about Ruby on Rails future? 

New versions of Ruby keep getting released with increasing convenience. It is expected that the update of Ruby planned for release in 2020 will be groundbreaking.

The creators set three goals for Ruby 3:

  1. Static analysis
  2. JIT / Ruby 3×3 / Performance
  3. Concurrency

Ultimately, the Ruby founder wants Ruby to be at least 3x faster than the current version, to have better handling of concurrency and “duck inference” with the introduction of static types in the best way.

So, above we’ve listed the bullet points that prove that RoR is very popular. If you want to get a whole overview of this framework, we have a list of the Pros and cons of Ruby on Rails for you!

Read: Big News: Ruby Version 3.0

Our Expertise in Ruby on Rails

Sloboda Studio is a niche Ruby on Rails agency that has been 10 years on the market. Our company has a proven reputation for being Word leading Rails developers by Clutch, GoodFirms, and other rating platforms. We hire the best talents in our team and would be happy to help you with developing your project.

TikkTalk

TikkTalk is a Norwegian marketplace for interpreters. It allows interpreters and their clients to communicate via video and phone conferences. When we met our client he had only a project idea. During our collaboration, we discovered and developed this idea, turning it in a decent MVP and, later on, in a fully-featured product.

SalesFolk

SalesFolk is a marketplace for copywriters. The project’s key specialization is email templates for sales opportunities. On the idea stage, the client already had an MVP, though it needed some upgrade.

Our Solutions:

During the development process, we extended the existing MVP with such features as, for example,  a dashboard panel for different user roles. Also, we developed the platform in accordance with client requirements.

is ruby on rails dying salesfolk homepage

SalesFolk Homepage

Conclusion

To sum up, is Ruby on Rails dying? Can we answer this question now? Even though there are lots of rumors concerning RoR’s fading out, the facts indicate otherwise:

  • Strong community
  • Continuous evolution
  • An enormous number of tools and libraries

Sometimes people believe that if nobody is talking about a technology that was highly popular not a long time ago, then it means that this technology is dying. Well, this is not the case here. It only means that the peak of Ruby on Rails’s popularity has passed and the period of stability has come.

Ruby on Rails: Perfect for a startup business, convenient for a development team.

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Alex, Project Lead

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