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Ruby on Rails for the Rest of Us : Comments

By Justin Williams

December 4, 2006



December 6, 2006 9:55 AM

PHP is a programming language and Rails is a framework

That’s true, but incomplete. PHP is a language; Ruby is a language. Rails is a framework, and there are Model-View-Controller frameworks like CakePHP and Code Igniter for PHP.

Justin Williams

December 6, 2006 9:47 PM


The goal of the article wasn’t to make the reader feel like they were building Web applications with legos. I didn’t really cover much in terms of program design and structure. Instead, it was focused on introducing/demistifying a buzzword that has been around. Your comments are a very beneficial addition to the article though for people looking for more information.

Massimo Sgrelli

December 9, 2006 5:33 AM

A very good article.
As you say:

Scaffolding is a great way to hash out a data model quickly

Often when people talk about RoR they present scaffolding as a shortcut to build applications, quickly. Real applications have nothing to do with scaffolding, even if that technology could be really useful during prototyping. You can get your customers playing with the application quickly: they know they’re not evaluating look and feel but checking functionality. It’s a good way to fix unexpected requirements early in the development process.

Michael Slater

December 12, 2006 8:35 AM

Nice article. I think Ruby on Rails offers a great opportunity for web designers who have depended on someone else for even simple backends to be able to do it all themselves. But there definitely is a learning curve, and most of the material out there assumes considerable programming experience. In fact, most of the Rails books assume you can read Ruby code.

I recommend David Black’s book Ruby for Rails for someone new to both Ruby and Rails. It is very well written and introduces the language and the framework together in a graceful way.

If you want an immersive introduction to Rails, consider the three-day Rails Studio training from the Pragmatic Studio folks. Great hands-on instruction from real experts.

As for hosting, I second the recommendation for a VPS, and for Rails Machine in particular. I just switched to them after using Rails Playground for a while and suffering poor performance. At $75/month, the entry-level VPS isn’t cheap, but it is very robust.

The VPS solution does involve a learning curve of it’s own, however. Those expecting to do much with Rails should take the time to learn to use Capistrano, which adds yet another item to the learning stack but makes it much easier to manage and deploy apps once you get it set up. (I have a couple posts on this on my blog.)

T1 Line

January 3, 2007 8:10 AM

I’ve just started using cpanel to work on my sites, and I keep hearing about ruby on rails. This is definetely a good introduction and have at least a basic introduction.


January 17, 2007 9:16 AM

Rails is certainly a great framework but there are good frameworks for PHP too. Take a look at

It’s a great framework.


January 18, 2007 6:17 AM

Eriksen, Symfony feels like a Java developer threw up all over a php framework. (Can you say “waaaaaaay too much XML configuration”?)

Try out code ignitor or cakePHP if you want a performance php framework.


January 25, 2007 5:56 AM

I use the open source Wordpress as my framework for PHP. It basically has an entire framework for a site that can be easily customized and is more widely supported due to PHP being largely open source. It also provides the rewrite software automatically which I don’t think Ruby on Rails provides. That’s very important for anyone interested in search engine optimization.


January 27, 2007 6:44 AM

@Brad – Comparing any RAD with Worpress is comparing Apples to Oranges. I agree, PHP is more widely supported by hosts and is much easier to deploy, but it does not have the extensibility of a RAD.

As for your thought that rewrite software does not comes with Rails, that is wrong. Routes are available in most RADs (including Rails) and make it amazingly easy to customize URLs to your heart’s content.

Sorry, comments are closed.

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