5 Practical Tips for Smoother Ruby on Rails App Development


Ruby on Rails is one the most popular web development frameworks as it is easy to use and the framework offers many benefits when developing dynamic applications. All of these tips are quite useful and can greatly improve your experience if you are a total beginner in Rails or if you already have several projects that you want to optimize.

Remember, to fully leverage the potential of Rails, it’s important to consider when to hire Ruby on Rails developers who can bring expertise and efficiency to your project.

Embrace the Rails Way

  • Understand Convention Over Configuration

Rails is designed around the principle of Convention Over Configuration (CoC), which means that the framework makes assumptions regarding what you want to do and how you are going to do it. By following these conventions, you will be able to get rid of having to write lots of boilerplate code and, therefore, increase the development speed.

Tip: Dive deep into Rails guides and existing codebases to understand the conventions that are expected. The more you align with these, the more seamlessly you can integrate with the Rails ecosystem.

  • Utilize Rails Generators

Rails comes with a set of built-in generators that make it incredibly easy to set up new projects, models, controllers, and more. These are not just utilities; they promote good programming habits and guarantee code conformity.

Tip: Use generators for creating stubs but always take time to understand the code being generated. This aids in learning and also assists in modifying the code as per the requirement at a later time.

  • Stay Up-to-Date

Rails is continuously evolving, with frequent updates that improve security, speed, and functionality. Staying updated with the latest version of Rails and its libraries can save you from facing numerous headaches related to security flaws or deprecated features.

Tip: Follow the Rails official blog or Twitter account for the latest updates. Regularly update your gem file to keep all libraries up to date and test frequently to catch any compatibility issues early.

Write Clean and Maintainable Code

  • Refactor Regularly

As your application grows, it’s important to refactor your code to maintain its readability and performance. Refactoring is useful in that it reveals areas of likely error and areas for further enhancement.

Tip: Set aside time for code reviews and refactoring sessions. Use tools like RuboCop to enforce style guidelines and ensure that your codebase remains clean and consistent.

  • DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself)

Rails is very conducive to the DRY principle, which states that each piece of knowledge must have a single, unambiguous, authoritative representation within a system. Adhering to DRY helps reduce the repetition of software patterns, replacing them with abstractions, or using data normalization to avoid redundancy.

Tip: Always look for ways to abstract repetitive tasks into methods or classes. Use partials and helpers in views to reduce duplication.

  • Leverage Testing

Testing in Rails is a built-in feature that you should take full advantage of. Though it may take time to write tests, it will eventually pay in the future since it will identify areas that need to be debugged early.

Tip: Start with simple unit tests using Rails’ built-in testing framework and then move to more complex integration tests. Frameworks like RSpec and Cucumber are good for BDD and might be useful for writing effective test cases.

  • Optimize Your Application

Optimizing the performance is important and this is true when the application is growing in size or complexity. There are many factors that cause low performance, but Rails offers different built-in tools and methods to address them.

Tip: Use caching wisely to reduce load times. Rails supports several caching strategies out of the box, such as page caching, action caching, and fragment caching.

Tip: Optimize database queries. Use the bullet gem to identify N+1 query problems and other common query inefficiencies.

Tip: Minimize asset sizes using the Rails asset pipeline to concatenate and minify JavaScript and CSS files. This reduces the number of requests a browser needs to make.


Thus, using the options listed in the tips section above will make the Ruby on Rails development process smoother. Developing a deep understanding of the framework, staying updated, maintaining good coding practices, rigorously testing, and continuously optimizing are the keys to building adaptable and maintainable Ruby on Rails applications.

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