When & When NOT To Choose Ruby on Rails for Web Development?

More often than people realize, choosing the right framework is basically like choosing the right shoe fit, and it means a whole lot for the success of any project. There have been more cases of wrong selection of a framework, especially for Ruby on Rails, that can, in the right scenario, help your project flourish or, in other cases, prove to be overkill. Known for its elegant syntax, developer-friendly conventions, and rapid development capabilities, RoR has been the backbone of many successful web applications. However, like any tool, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. In this article, we’ll explore the case for using Ruby on Rails, especially when speed is of the essence, delve into real-world examples of RoR-based web development success stories, and discuss scenarios where choosing Rails might not be the best option.

The Case for Using Ruby on Rails

Developer Productivity and Rapid Prototyping

One of the standout features of Ruby on Rails is its emphasis on convention over configuration. This principle streamlines the development process, allowing developers to focus on building the application’s unique features rather than spending time on repetitive tasks. This convention-driven approach significantly enhances developer productivity and promotes rapid prototyping.

According to the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2022, Ruby on Rails ranked among the top 10 most loved web frameworks. The survey highlighted the developer-friendly nature of RoR, which contributes to higher job satisfaction and increased productivity.

Community Support and Documentation

RoR has a robust and vibrant community that actively contributes to its growth and development. With numerous gems (Ruby packages) available, developers can easily integrate functionalities into their projects, saving valuable development time. The extensive documentation and community support make problem-solving and troubleshooting more accessible for developers, fostering a collaborative environment.

GitHub, the world’s leading platform for version control and collaboration, showcases the popularity of Ruby on Rails. With thousands of open-source projects hosted on GitHub, RoR remains a preferred choice for developers worldwide.

Getting Your Product Out the Door

Time-to-market is often critical in the fast-paced world of startups and product development. Ruby on Rails excels in this regard, enabling developers to build and deploy functional prototypes quickly. Airbnb and GitHub are prime examples of successful startups that initially utilized RoR to develop and launch their platforms swiftly, gaining a competitive edge.

According to a report by BuiltWith, as of 2022, around 2% of all websites use Ruby on Rails. While this percentage might seem modest, it reflects the framework’s widespread adoption in specific niches and industries that prioritize agile development.

RoR-Based Web Development

Scalability and Flexibility

While Ruby on Rails is renowned for its rapid development capabilities, evaluating its scalability for larger projects is essential. Twitter famously started with RoR but later faced scalability challenges as the platform grew. Despite this, other high-traffic websites like Shopify and Basecamp thrive on RoR, demonstrating that scalability concerns can be addressed with proper architecture and optimization.

GitHub is an exemplary case study in RoR-based web development. Hosting millions of repositories and serving a massive user base, GitHub relies on Ruby on Rails for its backend infrastructure. The platform’s success underscores the framework’s ability to handle large-scale applications when implemented thoughtfully.

Cost-Effectiveness and Time Efficiency

For startups and small to medium-sized businesses, RoR offers a cost-effective solution for web development. For a business that has hired overseas developers, this means the speed at which their team of developers can prototype and iterate using RoR gets reduced, leading to a significant reduction in development costs and quicker time-to-market. Companies like Hulu and Kickstarter have leveraged Ruby on Rails to build their platforms efficiently, allowing them to allocate resources strategically and scale as needed.

When Should You NOT Use Rails

High Computational Processing Requirements

While Ruby on Rails is suitable for many web applications, it may not be the best choice for projects with high computational processing requirements. Applications heavily reliant on complex algorithms or tasks that demand significant processing power might face performance bottlenecks with RoR. Opting for a more performance-oriented framework or language might be a better fit in such cases.

Microservices Architecture

In the era of microservices, where applications are developed as a collection of small, independent services, the convention-driven approach of RoR might not align with the architectural needs. Microservices often require diverse technologies and languages for optimal performance, and choosing a more flexible framework or language that accommodates this diversity may be more appropriate.

Specific Language Requirements

If your team is more proficient in a different programming language, choosing a framework that aligns with their expertise might be advisable. While learning a new language or framework can be beneficial, the time and effort required might not be justifiable for every project. Selecting a framework that aligns with your team’s skills can enhance productivity and reduce the learning curve.


Choosing Ruby on Rails for web development can be a strategic decision, especially when aiming for rapid prototyping, cost-effectiveness, and leveraging a supportive community. Real-world success stories of platforms like GitHub and Airbnb showcase the framework’s potential for building scalable and successful applications.

However, it’s crucial to assess the specific needs of your project and consider alternative frameworks when facing high computational processing requirements, following a microservices architecture, or prioritizing a specific programming language. Ultimately, the decision to choose Ruby on Rails should align with the unique demands of your project, ensuring a balance between development speed, scalability, and long-term maintainability. Just because a framework is trending or the foundation for many successful brands doesn’t necessarily mean it can suit yours. In such cases, it’s best to hire professional experts in the field from trustworthy, reliable brands like codecloud, who can help you with the decision-making by carefully understanding your project scope and needs after analyzing your target market and competitors. As Ruby on Rails celebrates its 1-year birthday, the framework continues to evolve, presenting developers with a versatile tool for crafting web applications that stand the test of time.

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