Practical Ecommerce

What is Ruby on Rails?

First there was Ruby, and now there is Ruby on Rails.

Ruby is an open-source web-programming language that was developed in Japan in 1995. Ruby resides on your web server and operates similarly to other programming languages, such as PHP, ASP and Perl.

“Rails” is a separate pre-built framework to help automate common Ruby commands. It was developed in 2004 by a Danish programmer, David Heinemeirer Hansen. It, too, is open-source and it makes programming in Ruby much easier and quicker.

For example, to write programming code to create, update and delete files from a database can take much time and effort. Rails, however, has a pre-built framework for quickly programming this common task in Ruby, and by using it a programmer can accomplish in minutes what would sometimes take hours to do.

As such, Ruby on Rails is gaining in popularity as a simple, easy and free programming option to create websites. To read more, see and

Brian Getting

Brian Getting

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  1. Legacy User April 10, 2007 Reply

    This article is incorrect and poorly summarizes Ruby and Rails.

    Ruby is not a web programming language. Ruby is an all-purpose, object-oriented scripting language. It has many included libraries, including CGI and other web technology implementations.

    Rails is not designed to automate Ruby commands. Rails is a full-stack, Model-View-Controller (MVC) web framework, designed using the Ruby programming language. Because of Ruby's dynamic nature, Rails provides many exciting features for web programmers, such as easy database access and methods to utilize some of the newest technologies on the web.

    — *Lee*

  2. Legacy User April 11, 2007 Reply

    Huh? What's a "full-stack, Model-View-Controller (MVC) web framework…" ?

    — *Bill K.*

  3. Legacy User April 11, 2007 Reply

    Well said, Lee.

    — *Burt*

  4. Legacy User April 11, 2007 Reply


    Model-View-Controller is a software development pattern. In MVC, you put your business logic in models, your presentation (web pages) in views, and use controllers to connect them. You can find lots of information by Googling 'mvc'.

    Full-stack refers to the application stack. I think it's mostly a buzzword, but basically it means Rails is with you at every step of the web request and response. Parsing the request, initiating your controllers and allowing you to access a database, do some code, and send responses back to the browser and all done with Rails.

    — *Lee*

  5. Legacy User April 19, 2007 Reply

    I figured this might be confusing, especially since the article was written to be a primer for those that are not developers. I posted more about this on our Developer Diary blog, in particular in an effort to explain <a href="">the MVC architecture that Lee has mentioned</a>.

    — *Brian Getting*