Ruby on Rails for Startups
Last month, the Business Insider published a great list of the Next 25 Big Enterprise Startups. The list is based on the informal survey they conducted to some of the top enterprise VCs. They asked for the hottest enterprise startups that venture capitals are most excited about.
The total list shows just how diverse and exciting enterprise tech is these days as it includes startups from different areas such as big data, cloud, commerce, financial services and mobile tech.
With the success stories of these startups, it's not surprising that more entrepreneurs are eager to start their own company. Actually, it's getting easier to start a company nowadays considering the support (from ideas to financial) from different VCs and organization, availability of low cost resources, and outsourced services. But of course, starting a business involves more than just ideas and money.
Choosing the right platform to use for your startup is crucial. And in the modern world of agile startups, one framework stands out from the pack - Ruby on Rails. Ruby on Rails is regarded as the startup technology because of its quick turn around time and agility/flexibity in nature, saving time and cost in the process.
Time to market
In the startup scene, getting to market fast is important. One should be able to launch something very quickly and iterate frequently. Rails promotes the rapid prototyping methodology. It is believed that by using the Ruby on Rails framework, it is possible to create new web applications ten times faster compared with a regular Java framework. Rails follows the agile process making it easier to create changes and see results immediately.
It is difficult for a start-up to truly differentiate their product in a large market. Customization can be a key. Ruby on Rails is best suited for building web applications from scratch or when the design of the application is built from the ground up. Rails is a great fit for building custom-featured web applications.
Because of the speed that Rails sites can be built, there’s an opportunity to reduce the development cost and spend less money to create the application.
During RailsConf 2011, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The Lean Startup", Eric Ries, gave a keynote address on Startup Lessons Learned: Why Rails Makes Startups.
In his presentation, he shared interesting points on choosing the technology platform. He said that:
"What matters in a technology platform, for entrepreneurship specifically, is not how scalable it is... it's not how much fun it is to write code in (although I hear Ruby is very fun), it's not ... how many different people you can have concurrently working on it, it's not does it have a really beautiful syntax, it's not even is it very writable or readable. Actually all that matters is how flexible is the platform ... for our ability to learn from customers, learn what is working and what isn't"
"And it's not just the technology itself. It's the technology and the community together that make a platform what it is. And if you have a community that embraces not just making cool technology, not just having the kind of libraries that allow you to test new ideas very quickly. Not just ideas from agile development that allow you to build your software with higher quality, organization and better factoring, but that embraces the entire project of very quick prototyping, learning, testing, reacting, you can get through this feedback loop faster than anybody else."
"... and the reason I believe that startups are using Rails is not because it's better technically but because it's better at this".
To learn more about the benefits of using Rails to build your web application, download our FREE eBook on 5 Key Considerations for Choosing Ruby on Rails.
Interesting enough, I found out that some startups in the Business Insider's Next 25 Big Enterprise Startups list are using Ruby on Rails for building their apps.
Yesware, an email tool
Square, an electronic payment service
Zach Brock, Engineering Manager at Square revealed in Quora: "We're transitioning the front end right now. The logged out portions of the site will still mostly be HTML enhanced with jQuery, but the logged in portions are being rewritten to use Ember.js.
The backend services are written in Ruby and Java. We're moving all of our services to the JVM. We have one service (the largest and oldest) running on REE 1.8.7, but all of the newer ones are either Rails 3 apps running on JRuby or Java web services. Deploying and running on JRuby has been a surprisingly large hassle, but we're writing a lot of infrastructure to make it much easier.
We use Postgres, MySQL and log files to store data, along with Redis for transient information that we're ok with losing. We're exploring some more exotic data stores, particularly as we start looking into running multiple data centers."
GitHub, a web-based hosting service for software development projects that use the Git revision control system
Here's the extensive overview of their technology stack, written by Tom Preston-Werner, Cofounder and CEO at GitHub: https://github.com/blog/530-how-we-made-github-fast
Additional on the list of startups that are hot this year and using Ruby on Rails would be Airbnb and Codeacademy.
Airbnb, an online room (and sublet) reservation startup was built from scratch using the Ruby on Rails web application framework.
Codeacademy, on the ther hand is an online interactive platform. According to Quora, they uses Rails running on nginx + varnish for its back end.
Here at Exist, we have years of experience working with startups. Check out how we help Infinite.ly, a web presence startup based in the Philippines transform their business idea to life.