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What is Ruby programming language and how and where to use it

By Editorial Team on 2018-03-11

Ruby is a dynamic, interpreted, reflective, object-oriented, general-purpose programming language. It is a very high level language, which means Ruby abstracts away (i.e. handles for you) most of the complex details of the machine. This article explains what is Ruby and its differences with Ruby on Rails.


In the 1990s, many new programming languages were developed with promising applications and abstractions. The promise of these languages were that they should be able to offer the functionality of languages like C or C++ on the Internet, which at the time was populated by a few servers. One language that emerged was Perl, which was a scripting language which had bindings to web interfaces. It came built in with strong regular expression libraries and pattern matching. However, the scripting nature of Perl made it feel like a weak, toy-like language. Another language, Python emerged, now with a much powerful interface and object oriented capabilities. However, Python’s OOP capabilities started to feel very forced as a feature in the language and ultimately made Python feel like a scripting language intended for prototyping.


Ruby was introduced as a solution to this problem. Ruby was developed as an object oriented programming language out of the box, supporting class inheritance, static variables, etc. This allowed Ruby to be the first true script based object oriented language. Ruby’s popularity grew in places like Japan, but once Ruby on Rails was introduced in 2005, its popularity as a web based language took off.


Ruby has enabled many different features in its development, including making it a multi-paradigm style language. Even though Ruby was initially released as an Object-Oriented Programming language, it started to add many features, making it a more functional language. Functional languages allow developers to create purely function based programs, where a single input could be mapped to a single output. This paradigm mimics that of OCaml which is a purely functional programming language with object oriented capabilities. These features enable developers to write more powerful code in fewer lines and can allow them to create more complex applications.


Ruby on Rails was one of the first web based frameworks that was created for higher level languages. Ruby on Rails, also referred to by Rails by its developers was the first framework to implement the MVC design model. The MVC (model, view, controller) design model is centered around the separation of the web view, logic and data, correspondingly the view, controller and model. This level of abstraction was never seen before as in order to add business logic into a site, knowledge of JavaScript and HTTP requests was needed. By enabling Ruby libraries to access databases as well as generate HTML code to show on a website, developers could create an entire web application using the Rails framework.


Features such as closures and classes became increasingly useful in web development, as the abstraction of the different layers of the framework could not be easily done without object oriented patterns. Additionally, with the idea of blocking and non-blocking data, closures enable developers to pass functions as arguments to then be called once data has been retrieved. This enabled applications to do more in a shorter period of time. Ruby comes with immense features that enable it to be useful in multiple domains and as its features increase as its vast collection of developers keeps improving its functionality to stand the test of time.


Programming Languages and Resources for Web Developers
Here are a brief summary of coding languages and resources for web designers. HTML, CSS (or HTML5 & CSS3) PHP, MySQL, JavaScript (or JS frameworks like jQuery, Angular, React, Node, or Express) or MongoDB, Apache, Ruby on Rails, and Linux are related to web programming. The most  popular content management systems that use PHP  & MySQL are  Wordpress, Joomla, and Drupal. Also, obtaining the following PHP and database certifications are highly rewarding for all custom web developers: Zend Framework 2, Zend Certified PHP Engineer, Oracle Database 11g Administration and Oracle Database 12c SQL Fundamentals. For those interested in learning more about web design and development, here are a list of step-by-step training guide articles: i- Become CMS specialist, ii- Become front-end specialist, iii- Become expert SQL developer, iv- Become expert PHP developer


Ruby on Rails coding is well suited for those interested in pursuing a career in web design and development; however, other options are mobile App design and development, system admin and software engineering. It is advisable to consult with an IT career counselor to understand what career options best fits your skills. For instance, if you want to be a software engineer, learning HTML and CSS might not fit the bill. Here is an excellent article for learning more on coding and technology career roadmap. Once you know what career path you wish to pursue, you can make a plan on what, when, and how to learn. There are lots of online resources for learning coding and technology in general. For teenagers and high school students, High School Technology Services offers variety of hands-on training. For adults and professionals, Coding Bootcamps and DC Web Makers Companies offer basic to advance project-based programming and technology classes.


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