Why use Ruby on Rails as a backend technology for your mobile app?

7 mins read

Table of contents:

Every year, we see publications announcing the death of this framework gem. And, despite being nearly 15 years old, Ruby on Rails (RoR) is far from extinct in the programming industry.

You may be wondering why Ruby on Rails is used since RoR is a better fit for many use cases than any other tool.

What is Ruby on Rails?

Ruby on Rails (or "Rails") is a free and open-source development framework written in Ruby. Ruby is an object-oriented program (OOP). Modern online apps may be pretty complicated, with several levels. Rails simplify web development by providing a pre-built development structure. It also adds everything you need to create a web project.

There is one big distinction between Ruby on Rails and other development frameworks. Its speed and simplicity. Changes to applications are being implemented immediately. So it avoids the time-consuming procedures of the mobile development cycle.

Rails is being built up of various components, including:

  • Active record, an object-relational mapping layer
  • Action pack, a manager of controller and view functions
  • Action mailer, a handler of email
  • Action web services
  • Prototype, an implementer of drag and drop and Ajax functionality

Here is a list of Ruby on Rails empowered websites that stands as an inspiration in many ways:

  • GitHub – A platform that brings together the developers' community to discover, share and develop better software
  • Airbnb - Online marketplace and accommodation sharing site
  • Basecamp – Company that hosts project management and team communication software
  • CafePress – Online gift shop specialized in user-customized, on-demand products
  • Crunchbase – A leading destination for finding business details about public and private companies.

What is Ruby on Rails used for?

How to understand what Ruby may be used for? Keep in mind that it is a dynamic and general-purpose programming language. It is also adaptable and mature.

The list of products you can develop with Ruby is rather long. All because of the vast (and still growing) number of gems and libraries. They serve as building blocks for various sorts of apps.

The following are the most popular sorts of Ruby applications:

  • MVPs Ruby is frequently selected for the low-cost and quick creation of MVPs. Before developing completely working apps, this language is used for prototyping. It also offers updates and testing for many versions of products.
  • Apps for Social Networking Ruby's ability to sustain traffic-heavy apps makes it ideal for social networking sites. One example could be Twitter.
  • Apps for Apartment Sharing and Booking It's also utilized for apartment sharing and booking apps like Airbnb and Couchsurfing. All because it can handle a large volume of daily transactions and property bookings.
  • Platforms for e-commerce Ruby is a popular programming language for eCommerce platforms like Spree and Shopify. The speed of development, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness make it ideal for the job. That's because it allows the managing of many transactions at once
  • Complex database support platforms Two excellent examples of such systems are GitHub and Bloomberg. GitHub is the largest Git repository hosting platform for developers. While Bloomberg is a multi-platform financial news and analytics center.

Because of its speed, efficiency, and flexibility, Ruby is also used for:

  • automation, backup
  • DevOps tools
  • API Clients
  • report generators
  • servers
  • static website generators
  • command-line media players.

The framework is still used by over a million developers worldwide. This includes many prominent companies like Dribbble and Hulu.

Ruby on Rails’ recent updates

Alongside PHP and Python, Ruby makes the list of the 20 most used programming languages in 2022.

There is considerable growth in the number of Ruby on Rails apps created in the "API only" manner. As a result, it is possible to create an API as an MVP, while still developing the application's frontend in any JS framework.

Back to roots - Hotwire in 2022

In 2022, we can also see Hotwire returning to its roots in the Ruby on Rails world. All these in a very short period, and with no development expertise. The strange thing is that we've used comparable tactics before. But never in such an orderly, unified manner.

Strada is the finishing touch to this entire technical stack. Rails will go to the top as a Web application solution. And that's because of the capabilities for constructing mobile hybrid apps.

Performance boost!

Ruby on Rails has had performance concerns for years but with genuine progress. We see a major focus on addressing this issue and fixing the framework and language itself.

Ruby 3.0 proved three times quicker than Ruby 2.0. Now, version 3.1 takes another step toward better performance. One of the phases was to construct the so-called "Fiber Scheduler". This enables asynchronous Ruby operations with no side effects or tiresome developer effort.

Ruby examines well-known issues and alters the framework's behavior, pushing it toward asynchrony. As a matter of fact, a new version of the PG gem got published in early 2022. This allows asynchronous database requests and it demonstrates the Ruby community's development direction.

Encrypt everything with Rails

We now see one fantastic feature in Rails 7 that has been long expected. By default, our databases were never encrypted. In general, this does not imply that it is compromised. But if we can, we should encrypt even simple data in the database.

Parallel Execution in Ruby

Not all updates in Ruby on Rails are planned ahead of time. Some of them remind us of an experiment. An experiment that demonstrates RoR's willingness to explore new ideas. Ractor, a Ruby Actor Model is one of these features.

It functions similarly to JavaScript service workers. It is allowing the establishment of correct threading between processes. It's also improving safety through fewer deadlocks and livelocks. Their communication is based on message passing, which differs significantly from conceptual threads.

Why do people think Ruby on Rails is dead?

The idea of RoR's collapse has almost become an urban legend by now. That is the result of many misconceptions formed around the framework. Now it's time to dissect them:

1. Slow performance

Rails has slower runtime times than Node.js or Golang. This becomes obvious for great products with high traffic. If this isn't a large project with a lot of users and requests, Rails is not to blame for the poor speeds. The server design or databases are at fault.

Rails apps could be faster with a well-thought-out design and infrastructure. (a must in any large-scale projects, regardless of programming language). Basecamp, Airbnb, and GitHub are examples of large-scale RoR software. So where does all that lousy rep come from?

Rails offer so much for the developer. Novice developers make foolish choices while writing code. Performance suffers significantly when faulty code is used. The underlying performance concerns of Ruby and RoR are being worked on. See examples:

  • In 2018, Ruby 2.6.1 was released, which brought speed enhancements and new features. The creators of Ruby 3 wanted to speed up the language three times faster than Ruby 2.
  • Rails 6.0, released in 2019, has solutions that make creating Web apps easier. Rails began demanding Ruby 2.5+ from then on, bringing the most up-to-date Ruby features aboard.
  • Rails 7.0, which was published in 2021, contained jsbundling-rails integration. It also has asynchronous query encrypted attributes to Active Record and other features.

2. Scalability issues

Let’s see why it's incorrect to blame the framework for difficulties and limitations. To serve requests rapidly, you need to take care of the following. Each component of the server system architecture must be set accurately and performant. When Twitter switched from Rails to Scala, Ruby was criticized for being unscalable. The change is most likely what ignited the debate over RoR's scalability difficulties.

Available scaling options with Rails:

  • code optimization
  • service-oriented architecture
  • horizontal scalability

3. It’s mature, hence boring

Whenever a new framework arises, it quickly becomes popular. Especially the ones that ass something novel to the table. Hundreds of users and contributors appear all over the world. Then, after a few years, the buzz fades. What was once cutting-edge becomes far less thrilling, engaging, and demanding.

It's growing, yet, maturity does not have to be dull. Maturity implies reliable, improved code. Following technological trends is not always a wise idea. Switching to something more popular might have the opposite effect and raise expenses. But, digital transformation is always a good idea.

Why Ruby?

Ruby is popular among developers because of its concise, clean syntax. It doesn't need a lot of unnecessary punctuation. It’s an object-oriented language. It's a clean language, flexible and predictable, that is simple to understand and write. It also uses less code to generate fundamental structures.

Why Rails?

Rails is popular because its conventions are both universal and intelligent. Rails is a repository of pre-written code. It implements the framework and many common tasks of a database-driven site. Thus avoiding wasteful labor in the early stages of the project.

So, why should you choose Ruby on Rails as a backend technology for your mobile app development?

  • Because it is a mature technology that has been around for a decade now
  • Because it is all about writing less code that does more
  • Because it allows easy modification of existing code
  • Because it follows Agile development principles
  • Because it has a super-active, collaborative & vibrant community
  • Because it has plenty of free plugins called ‘gems’
  • Because it’s free to use
  • And last but not least because it allows you to build a prototype in a rather short time

Building apps in RoR is quick and straightforward. All thanks to coding by convention—an ideal solution if you're on a small budget and have a tight deadline.

Finding competent RoR developers should not be difficult due to the large skill pool. Rails will never be a good solution for advanced and complicated projects. Especially in the hands of novice developers. It can cause future problems with maintenance, performance, security, and stability. All of them mean major expenditures that could be avoided.

Ruby on Rails provides mobile solutions for Android and iOS a competitive advantage. Therefore, Rails is popular because its conventions are both universal and intelligent.

Do you need a brilliant Ruby on Rails developer for your mobile app?

If you need a great developer for your mobile app, let our talented team create something unique and limitless for you and your startup. Until the next one, stay awesome!


Subscribe to our newsletter

Thinking about a project?

Let’s build your next product! Share your idea or request a free consultation from us.

Contact Us


There are a lot of articles on our blog, check them out!