Ruby on Rails is a well established software framework used in creating custom web applications (websites that interact dynamically with users). It has 2 components, Ruby - a programming language created by Yukihiro Matsumoto, and Rails - a software library that was the brainchild of Havid Heinemeier Hanson.
Aside from the software, Rails has given birth to a worlwide collective of contributors, recruiters, consultancy firms and businesses that rely on Rails. The framework has acheived this popular position due to its inherent flexibility, reliability and vast array of plugins, known as "Gems" which can be applied to the many conundrums that arise during web development.
Web applications have complex interactions, from generating "views" ( what you see on screen ), to submiting user input and storing and accessing information from a database. Without the support of an application framework, the developer faces an involved process to implement even simple functionality. Even with a framework in place it can be easy to contruct an application with a code structure that is difficult to follow should a second developer take over the project.
The huge benefit that results from usung Rails as a web framwork is the removal of some of the architechtural decision making process. The Rails framework is heavily influenced by the concept of "The Rails way...", which proposes a singular method in implementing your web application structure. The advantage of this approach is that developers who are familiar with the "Rails way" can produce applications that can be understood and worked on by any other Rails developer, resulting in better collaboration, speedier development and a huge pool of open source libraries to support your project.
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