Top 9 Ruby Frameworks Every Programmer Should Know About.
Ruby is an object-oriented scripting language created by Yukihiro Matsumoto in 1995. This open source programming language is designed with a focus on productivity and simplicity.
Developers use this dynamic language to build web applications ranging from static websites to desktop applications, automation tools, and data processing services. Ruby also has its place in DevOps, web servers, crawl and scrape.
Ruby is used by both startups and large companies like CrunchBase, Bloomberg, Dribble, SlideShare, Airbnb, Shopify, and GitHub as part of their technology stacks.
These are the reasons why Ruby is popular in the modern world;
- Easy and fun to learn: Learning Ruby is simple and suitable even for those with no programming experience. Its simple syntax simplifies complex programming concepts for everyone to enjoy.
- Open source: Ruby is free to use. Developers can thus use this programming language as they see fit.
- Efficient time: Setting up a Ruby is easy. This programming language follows Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY) to improve developer productivity.
- Secure: Ruby ranks high on the list of most secure programming languages. Ruby can effectively fight against attacks like CSRF, SQL Injection, and XSS through a combination of its built-in functionality and third-party solutions.
- Large Community: Ruby was introduced over two and a half decades ago and has attracted a large following. If you get stuck, you’ll likely get help from this community.
What are Ruby frameworks?
Although Ruby is a powerful programming language, developers can achieve more through its frameworks. Ruby frameworks are packages of prewritten code that offer a standardized way to build and deploy web applications.
Such frameworks come with libraries and tools that help software engineers handle common tasks like user authentication and routing. With Ruby frameworks, developers don’t have to code such activities from scratch.
Now, we explore some of the best Ruby frameworks:
Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails, or simply Rails, is the most popular Ruby framework. This full stack web framework was created in 2003 by David Heinemeier Hansson and is now used by big names like Hulu, GitHub, Shopify and Coinbase to mention a few.
- Follows the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture: Ruby on Rails provides a clear separation of concerns through the MVC pattern. Therefore, developers can easily understand the code and maintain it.
- Lots of libraries and gems – You can achieve a lot when coding with Ruby through various third-party libraries and gems, such as Faker and Pry.
- Use Active Record for database administration: Rails users don’t have to configure code for database access and administration, as Active Record takes care of most things.
- It follows the convention about configuration: rails follow a certain way of doing things. This framework also offers some default values, which reduces the time for developers to configure their applications.
Rails is suitable for building e-commerce platforms, multimedia applications, rapid prototyping, and data-driven applications.
Sinatra is a Domain Specific Language (DSL) Ruby web framework designed for building web applications using a minimalist approach. This lightweight web framework was created by Blake Mizerany in 2007.
- Uses a component-based architecture: This configuration divides the application into small, reusable components. Each component is responsible for a set of functions or for a specific function.
- Lightweight: Sinatra is designed to be minimal yet flexible. Its code base is designed to be used only when necessary.
- Middleware Support – Developers can extend Sinatra functionality such as user authentication through middleware.
- Supports template languages: Using Sinatra, you can use Embedded Ruby (ERB) and Haml while building web applications. These languages generate dynamic HTML content based on your application data.
Sinatra is primarily suitable for building internal tools, RESTful APIs, microservices, and prototyping. GitHub, Apple, and Heroku are examples of big names using GitHub for some of their internal tools.
Grape is a lightweight and fast Ruby framework for building RESTful APIs. This web framework was created by Tim Pope and Richard Huang in 2010 and has become quite famous for its modular design.
- Simple yet flexible: Grape has a simple syntax for creating APIs. Documenting and maintaining your APIs while using this web framework is also simple.
- Well Documented – Although Grape was created in 2010, it is well documented and has an active community to help you get off the ground.
- Modular design: Grape allows you to break your application into small, reusable components that you can easily maintain.
- Supports tests: You can write tests for your Grape application using frameworks such as RSpec and Minitest.
You can use Grape to build APIs for small and medium-sized applications and create prototypes and test ideas. Meeteor and GitLab are examples of companies using Grape in their tech stacks.
Hanami is a Ruby framework that allows developers to build web applications from multiple modular subcomponents. This framework was created in 2016 and was originally called Lotus.
- Modular architecture: Hanami allows you to break your application into small, reusable components that you can easily change and maintain.
- Object Relational Mapping (ORM): This web framework has a built-in ORM that supports NoSQL and SQL databases.
- Supports testing: Hanami allows developers to test their apps as they build them using testing frameworks like RSpec, MiniTest, and Cucumber.
- Flexible Routing – This web framework has a routing system where developers define complex URL patterns.
Hanami is suitable for building web applications that require a flexible and minimal architecture. You can build e-commerce platforms, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, RESTful APIs, and content management systems using Hanami.
Roda is a modular and scalable Ruby framework for building web applications. Jeremy Evans created Roda in 2012.
- Simple yet reliable: Roda’s designs keep it simple externally and internally. During production, Roda applications are frozen, which eliminates thread safety issues.
- It has a routing tree: Defining complex URL patterns in Roda is very easy using its routing tree. Therefore, users can write SECO code using this framework.
- Integrates with multiple databases: Support for Object Relational Mapping makes it easy to integrate with SQL and NoSQL databases.
Developers use Roda to create a wide range of products ranging from RESTful APIs, Single Page Applications, Content Management Systems and much more.
Padrino is a full-stack Ruby framework built on the Sinatra web library. This web framework was created in 2008 to allow developers to code advanced web applications in a fun and easy way.
- Comprehensive: Padrino offers everything you need to build a top-notch web application in a simple and concise environment.
- Modular design: Padrino allows developers to break their applications down into small bits/components that are reusable. So you can connect components as the need arises.
- Comes with code generators – You don’t have to create everything from scratch, as Padrino has several generators that generate boilerplate code for you.
- Integrates with multiple databases – You can use Padrino with multiple databases such as PostgreSQL, MySQL, and SQLite.
- User Authorization and Authentication: You can protect and control access to your Padrino application using these features.
As a complete framework, you can use Padrino to build various web applications, such as CRMs, eCommerce platforms, and blogs.
Camping is a minimalist Ruby framework for building web applications. This framework was created in 2005.
- Minimalistic: Camping has been designed as a simple framework but still allows you to create powerful applications.
- Integrates with ActiveRecord – With this framework, you can work with and manage your favorite databases such as SQL.
- Follows the MVC pattern: Camping offers separation of concerns through the Model-View-Controller pattern, making it easy to create and maintain your code. Developers can also derive different views from the same model.
- Supports middleware: You don’t have to build everything from scratch as Camping supports middleware. For example, you can manage sessions and cookies using the Rack::Session::Cookie middleware.
Camping is best suited for small applications like RESTful APIs and personal blogs. However, you can still use this framework as a micro-framework to build certain components with a complex application.
Scorched is a generic, unopinionated Ruby framework. This framework has a powerful set of constructs for processing HTTP requests.
Lightweight: Scorched is minimalist which makes it suitable for simple applications.
Extensible – You can use Scorched with various gems and plugins to add to its functionality. ActiveRecord, Thin, and Puma are gems that you can use with Scorched.
Supports automated tests: You can write and automate tests with frameworks like Minitest and RSpec.
Scorched is suitable for small to medium applications. This framework can also work for microservices within a larger Ruby application.
Sneakers is a Ruby background processing framework for RabbitMQ. The slippers allow developers to create and manage background jobs for their apps. This framework/gem was created in 2013.
- Parallel Processing: The Sneakers framework runs multiple processes in the background, increasing the performance and responsiveness of your application.
- Built-in retries: If a job is not processed, Sneakers has a built-in function that will return it to the queue.
- Failed message sharing support: This feature makes it easy to track and manage all failed processes/jobs.
The sneaker framework is suitable for applications with background processing capabilities, such as image processing and data processing.
If you want to build your next web application with Ruby, you now have several frameworks to choose from. The choice of the web framework will depend on the type of application you want to build and your taste. For example, Rails is an awesome choice if you’re looking for a full-stack framework. On the other hand, a framework like Grape will be useful if you just want to build a RESTful API.
You can also explore a detailed comparison between Ruby on Rails and the Django web framework.