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Ruby on Rails (RoR or Rails)

Contributor(s): Alexander B. Howard

Ruby on Rails, sometimes known as "RoR" or just "Rails," is an open source framework for Web development in Ruby, an object-oriented programming (OOP) language similar to Perl and Python.

The principle difference between Ruby on Rails and other frameworks for development lies in the speed and ease of use that developers working within the environment enjoy. Changes made to applications are immediately applied, avoiding the time consuming steps normally associated with the web development cycle. According to David Geary, a Java expert, the Ruby-based framework is five to 10 times faster than comparable Java-based frameworks. In a blog posting, Geary predicted that Rails would be widely adopted in the near future.

Rails is made up of several components, beyond Ruby itself, including:

  • Active record, an object-relational mapping layer
  • Action pack, a manager of controller and view functions
  • Action mailer, a handler of email
  • Action web services
  • Prototype, an implementer of drag and drop and Ajax functionality

Rails can run on most Web servers that support CGI. The framework also supports MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, SQL Server, DB2 and Oracle. Rails is also an MVC (model, view, controller) framework where all layers are provided by Rails, as opposed to reliance on other, additional frameworks to achieve full MVC support. Invented by David Heinemeier Hanss, Ruby On Rails has been developed as an open-source project, with distributions available through rubyonrails.org.

This was last updated in April 2006

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