Is Ruby on Rails Still Worth Learning in 2017 and Beyond?

Choosing the right programming language isn’t about what’s trendy at the moment, it’s more about what you’re trying to achieve. But no matter what language you decide to learn, you will still be expected to adapt and work with a number of different languages during the course of your career.

If you’re just starting out and wondering which programming language to learn, RedMonk’s Programming Language Rankings is a great place to start. It’s a comparison of coding languages relative to one another on Stack Overflow and GitHub.

This year, Ruby placed 8th, down three places from last year. So while its popularity might not be what it used to be, Ruby on Rails is far from finished (it’s still in the top 10).

Isn’t Ruby Hot Anymore?

The recent surge in popularity of JavaScript based languages may have a role in Ruby losing some its shine. When it comes to both frontend and backend development, things are changing. These days, it’s not common practice to stick with a traditional full stack.

The API/Gateway layer for backend framework makes the most sense for client side javascript frameworks and dedicated mobile apps. While Node is now established, Rails-API is still a viable option.

While Phoenix and Elixir might be creating a lot of buzz among the software development community, they also enable seamless transitions for Ruby on Rails developers. It’s agile and the perfect bootstrap for new websites and apps that need to be developed quickly.

But it’s not a great programming language to scale to millions of concurrent users. So if your goal is to work for the Facebooks and Googles of the world, then you should look beyond Ruby.

But for everyone else, it’s still a great language to build, run, maintain and integrate a product in record time. It’s actually a perfect option for small development teams of one to five programmers.

Ruby on Rails Isn’t Going Anywhere!

So regardless of what you might have heard, Ruby on Rails isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. In fact, it will continue to evolve and get better in the months and years to come.

These popular websites were built with Ruby on Rails, so you can’t say that it’s a dead language already:

  • Airbnb
  • Ask.fm
  • Basecamp
  • Bloomberg
  • GitHub

It will remain a leading choice for developers because it’s clean and simple to use. This is because its primary focus is developer productivity and not raw performance.

Further, concepts like Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY) and Convention over Configuration make the language uniquely elegant. It’s also powerful, flexible, and has been around for a long time, so there are enough resources out there to support your next development project.

What is really great about Ruby on Rails is the fact that it’s modular, so you can take out whatever you’re not using and easily replace them.

With so many coding frameworks to choose from, it can be overwhelming to think about where you should invest your time and money. The best approach is to evaluate your current and future goals because they will heavily depend on your decision.

Ruby on Rails is still relevant and will remain so for (at least three to five) years to come. So you might want to take advantage of the most user-friendly experiences in software development.

However, regardless of what programming language you decide to start with, make sure that you remember that you will have to learn a lot more than one!

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Andrew Zola is a freelance writer, designer, and artist working in branding and marketing for over ten years. He is a contributor to various publications with a focus on new technology and marketing.

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