Is Ruby on Rails the Right Framework for Your Minimum Viable Product?
by Nicolas Jacobeus, on 30 June 2017
While various frameworks will suit MVPs with very specific requirements, for more general applications you may find that Ruby on Rails is the best option. Today we're sharing five reasons why Ruby on Rails is the best framework for building an MVP.
One of the biggest strengths of the Ruby on Rails framework is the programming language it's built around.
Ruby is a concise programming language, meaning you can express things quickly and efficiently. This means your developers don't need to write endless lines of complex code - and there's less to change or discard as your MVP changes in response to feedback from users.
2) Framework Conventions
There are a couple of conventions implemented in Ruby on Rails that are specifically designed to improve productivity and keep things simple:
- Convention over Configuration - some programming languages require extensive set-up and configuration at the start of a new project. One example is Java, which requires a lot of code to be written at the start of a project, which has little real benefit to your application. In contrast, Ruby on Rails takes a simpler approach, where developers only need to specify aspects that are unconventional.
- Don't Repeat Yourself - this is aimed at reducing repetition in the code; when done successfully, this means that any changes to parts of the code will be reflected elsewhere, rather than having to make multiple changes.
3) Open Source
Ruby on Rails is an open source web framework, with large numbers of software libraries available to use for free. This means that developers have access to pre-built, thoroughly tested pieces of code to use on their own projects, making it possible to build complex functionality relatively quickly - much faster than if you were doing everything from scratch.
This makes it ideal for building an MVP: you can create a functioning prototype relatively quickly, minimise developer time and expense, and test out the assumptions behind your startup idea sooner.
4) Popular with Startups
Ruby on Rails has long been a popular choice with startups - thanks to the open source libraries mentioned above. As a result, the developer community around Ruby on rails is well-established.
Thanks to the popularity of the framework with startups, you have lots of people encountering similar challenges. This means you're likely to be able to find solutions for your startup's technical challenges (things like Stripe integration, or managing recurring billing cycles) in the Ruby on Rails community.
5) Maximise Developer Productivity
One of complaints directed against Ruby on Rails is that it's relatively slow. While it may not be the fastest framework, in practice, we're talking about a difference of a few milliseconds here or there. At the MVP stage, this won't make or break your startup. At this stage, the most important thing is testing out your hypotheses and getting feedback on your product. You need to build first, test it out, and worry about optimising for scale later.
A prime example of this is Twitter. Originally built on Ruby on Rails, it successfully managed thousands of active users before they transitioned over to a different framework, Scala.
There are also ways in which Ruby on Rails is faster than other frameworks. Thanks to the concise language and accessibility of open source projects, Ruby is optimised to maximise developer productivity. When you're an early-stage startup, time is money: if your developer can build an MVP in Ruby on Rails in less time, then that's less money spent building, and more time and money you can spend testing, getting feedback, and shaping your product roadmap.