Why Ruby on Rails is better then PHP

I’ll admit - I’ve been a fan of the LAMP for a long time. When I started out, like many new web designers I needed ways to do things dynamically. I remember my first form to capture data to a text file using PERL. It didn’t take long before I got sick of the picky uploading requirements and file permssion setting that PERL required. I was looking for a faster, easier plug and play way. Ah at last - PHP. I could pretty much copy and paste code snippets as a newbie and scripts were working immediately. Now and then an error would pop-up - but delightfully followed with a tip to “go to line…” whatever to fix my “parse errors”. Yes I was and still am a huge fan of PHP.

It wasn’t until some of the best PHP developers I knew wondered why I was doing things so “inneffeciently” that I started probing RoR. Now I’ll admit - I’m far from conversant in Rails as I’m a webmaster/designer type, but I have learned a few things that have influenced me and our organization to switch over to the rails framework for new applications. Here are a few reasons we made the (95% of the time) switch. I say 95% of the time because there are still cases when we find the framework may not be the best option - but that’s for a later post.

I’ll admit - I’ve learned these benefits from the pros I work with who write the language. Adrian Madrid of HyperX first introduced me and I’m glad he did. Others have had to force the logic into my brain - but I’m starting to ‘get’ it.

  1. Rails has an interactive shell that lets you write and execute code directly. No queries…just simple code.
  2. Database abstraction. Being able to loop through rows with just one simple command rocks. Remember php while … In rails the same thing would be something like this: table.each do |column| is pretty cool. Of course you can still run queries, but the most common ones are taken care of. It also understands relationships if you let it.
  3. Working with databases as objects is a great time saver.

So there you have it - yes it is better then PHP. Where is it headed? I’m not sure - but folks around here cringe if I mention doing new projects in PHP, and smaller projects are typically finished in half the time - so I’m sold.

One Response to “Why Ruby on Rails is better then PHP”

  1. Shad Says:

    We’re back to php 5 and mysql 5 as of November 2007. Ruby on Rails proved too server intensive for many small applications. In addition - it’s really catered to a developer environment - not very web designer/webmaster friendly. Designer should never have to touch the command line in my opinion to make basic changes to files. In the end, we stopped using Ruby on Rails because it occupied more server resources, required advanced server configuration (in many cases), required more testing after simple pushes, not web designer friendly and seems to be loosing main stream support.

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