You don’t have to spend much time researching programming languages to hear about Ruby and its popular web framework, Ruby on Rails. But what is it, and what is Ruby used for?
Huge swathes of the Internet are built with Ruby programming language, as are many other applications.
What Is Ruby Programming?
Ruby is a scripting language built from the ground up for use in front end and back end web development and similar applications. It is a robust, dynamically typed, object-oriented language with syntax so easy to understand and high-level that it’s considered as close as you can get to coding in English.
More than one person has commented that they could basically understand Ruby code even without knowing how to program!
Released in the 1990s, Ruby is an open-sourced language created by the Japanese programmer Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto. He has stated that the language is designed to be both fun and productive. Ruby is scripted, meaning that it’s an interpreted language rather than a compiled one.
How Does Ruby Compare to Other Coding Languages?
It helps to compare Ruby to other languages, to see how it’s similar and different.
Python is a programming language that focuses on having a single, unambiguous solution to every problem. Ruby projects, by contrast, want to have many valid approaches to problem-solving.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods. Some other differences include how strings are mutable in Ruby but not in Python, and Ruby only has one kind of list container. However, they are both heavily object-oriented–in both Python and Ruby everything is an object.
Compared to C/C++, Ruby tends to hide a lot from programmers to make their jobs easier. This can indeed make it much easier to ship code, but means finding deep bugs might require a lot more digging.
What Is Ruby Used For?
Ruby is most used for building web applications. However, it is a general-purpose language similar to Python, so it has many other applications like data analysis, prototyping, and proof of concepts.
Probably the most obvious implementation of Ruby is Rails web, the development framework built with Ruby. Homebrew, an extremely popular tool for installing software packages on macOS, is also written in Ruby. So is the security software Metasploit, which allows you to test websites and applications for how easy they are to break into.
There are a number of highly visible applications created by Ruby developers with Rails. These include the popular booking site AirBnBand the TV streaming service Hulu. Others include Github, Goodreads, and the calorie-tracking application MyFitnessPal.
This means that Ruby and Ruby on Rails can help you build a website, secure a website, find a great book or new show while vacationing in your Airbnb, and make sure you don’t overeat at lunch.
Not bad for such a simple programming language!