Is Ruby on Rails dead? I’ve been asked this question a lot by students.
Disclaimer: I’m a big fan of Ruby and Rails. I’ve used it extensively in my professional career and have found it to be extremely flexible, productive and intuitive.
I usually give a standard answer to questions like this from my students: it doesn’t matter. It’s a tool. Use it to get better at your craft. See more about that in my post “On the Death of Languages.”
Practically, I do not see Rails as dead, though it does seem to be declining somewhat in usage. What one needs to remember is that a lot of popular applications use the framework. Shopify, GitHub and Twilio all spring to memory.
That should be enough to answer the question, Is Ruby on Rails dead? It’s not.
But why do people ask questions like this? It’s usually, in my experience, because they are worried about wasting their time learning something that will not advance their goal — often, that goal is getting a job in the industry.
In that respect, the answer depends on a couple of factors:
- Do you live in an area that has a large Ruby / Rails community? I.e., Chicago.
- Do you already possess the fundamental knowledge of the web? Are you comfortable with MVC, CRUD, requests, responses, parameters, etc.?
Do you live in an area that has a large Ruby / Rails community?
If you’re not experienced enough to be considered for remote positions, it might be out of your control if you get to work on Rails applications. You may not live in an area that has companies using the framework.
If that’s the case, and you already possess the fundamentals of programming and web development, learn a framework that is popular in the area. I know that sounds simple, and it is — if you indeed possess the fundamentals, you’ll be able to pick up a new language to land a job.
If not, then read the next section…
Do you already possess the fundamental knowledge of the web?
If you do, you can skip Rails unless you want to work on applications that use it or it’s the only viable option in your location for landing a job.
If you do not, Rails is a great way to expose yourself to these fundamentals. There are many reasons that the majority of boot camps (unsubstantiated and empirically based claim) use Rails. You could do a lot worse than Rails as your tool to learn the web.
Is Ruby on Rails dead? No. Is Ruby on Rails worth learning? Probably, but it depends.