Rails: The Force Awakens - Why ReactJS Got Left in the Dust

ยท 1044 words ยท 5 minute read

Join the Dark side

Hello World!

In a world where tech tools are constantly evolving, the age-old Ruby on Rails has stood the test of time, leaving ReactJS in the dust.

Join us on this rollercoaster ride as we explore the journey of a seasoned developer who made the switch from ReactJS to Rails, and learn why Rails continues to reign supreme.

May the force be with us!

A Tale of Two Frameworks ๐Ÿ”—

Our journey begins with the protagonist, a self-proclaimed “lazy” programmer, who found solace in Ruby on Rails. Initially, ReactJS seemed like a simple addition to their skill set. However, reality hit hard, and he realized that ReactJS brought complexity rather than simplicity to the table.

Ruby on Rails, often affectionately referred to as Rails, is a web application framework that has been around for over two decades. Despite its age, Rails continues to bring a smile to the faces of developers like our protagonist. Why, you ask? Well, let’s take a closer look.

Rails has a reputation for embracing the “convention over configuration” philosophy. This means that it comes with sensible defaults and predefined conventions that significantly reduce the amount of decision-making required during development. For a lazy programmer, this is a dream come true. Rails offers a structured and organized way to build web applications, making it incredibly efficient and productive.

In the ever-evolving world of web development, our protagonist decided to expand their skill set. When a job opportunity arose that required knowledge of ReactJS, he thought, “How hard could it be?” After all, ReactJS, along with other JavaScript frameworks, was designed to simplify the lives of programmers, right?

ReactJS was hailed as a revolutionary front-end library, promising to make building user interfaces a breeze. It gained immense popularity in a relatively short period, thanks to its component-based architecture and virtual DOM. Our protagonist saw it as a way to enhance their capabilities and bring modernity to their repertoire.

The Reality Check: Complexity Over Simplicity ๐Ÿ”—

However, as he delved deeper into the world of ReactJS, our protagonist’s initial optimism began to wane. He soon realized that ReactJS came with its own set of complexities and challenges. What initially seemed like a simple addition to their toolkit turned into a complex puzzle.

ReactJS introduced the concept of “states” to frontend development, aiming to provide better control over the user interface. While this sounded promising, it also added layers of complexity to what once seemed like straightforward tasks. The simplicity he had expected was quickly replaced by intricate state management and component interactions.

The framework that was meant to simplify their coding life started to feel like an unruly teenager, constantly rebelling against their attempts to tame it. Building even the simplest of features in ReactJS required dealing with a multitude of concepts like props, state, lifecycle methods, and JSX.

The contrast between Rails and ReactJS became evident. Rails adhered to the principle of “making simple things easy and hard things possible,” while ReactJS, with its ever-expanding ecosystem and rapidly changing landscape, seemed to make simple things more complex.

The choice between Rails and ReactJS became clear for our “lazy” programmer. He returned to the warm embrace of Rails, where convention over configuration reigned supreme, and productivity was a way of life.

But you might object: “You are comparing Apples to Oranges, how can Rails be effectively used for front-end development?”

Rails: The Unsung Frontend Hero ๐Ÿ”—

Rails, often misconceived as just a backend framework, proved its worth as a full-fledged frontend framework. While ReactJS and others stole the spotlight, Rails quietly excelled in both domains. Unfortunately, the tech world seemed unaware of Rails' true potential.

Rails earned its reputation as an efficient and developer-friendly backend framework, and rightfully so. Its “convention over configuration” approach, clean code organization, and built-in features make backend development a breeze. But what many fail to recognize is that Rails is not a one-trick pony. It seamlessly extends its capabilities to the frontend, offering a holistic solution for web application development.

Hotwire: Rekindling the Old Flame ๐Ÿ”—

Hotwire, a modern addition to the Rails ecosystem, is nothing short of a renaissance. It resurrects the simplicity and efficiency of Rails' frontend capabilities, drawing parallels with its predecessor, RJS. This revival simplifies the web development process and places powerful tools in the hands of developers, ensuring accessibility for all.

Hotwire’s core philosophy revolves around enhancing the user experience by minimizing complexity. It leverages the principles of unobtrusive JavaScript and progressive enhancement to seamlessly integrate with Rails applications. With Hotwire, developers can effortlessly build dynamic, real-time interfaces without the steep learning curve often associated with modern JavaScript frameworks.

What sets Hotwire apart is its ability to streamline frontend development while remaining familiar to seasoned Rails developers. In essence, it bridges the gap between traditional server-rendered applications and the demands of modern, dynamic web experiences. This shift isn’t just an “innovation”; it’s a revival of tried-and-true techniques that have been part of the author’s toolkit for years.

Hotwire empowers developers to create responsive, interactive web applications with ease. It brings the focus back to productivity and simplicity, echoing Rails' core principles. So, while the tech world buzzes with the latest trends, Hotwire reminds us that sometimes, the most effective solutions are those that have been with us all along.

Rails vs. ReactJS: The Ultimate Showdown ๐Ÿ”—

Rails takes a final jab at ReactJS with “Morphing,” a technique that eliminates the existence of ReactJS altogether. With server-side code, Rails compares diffs and applies them during view rendering, creating single-page applications with ease.

Don’t take my words on it. Watch this video and get your own opinion:

Jorge Manrubia - Making a difference with Turbo - Rails World 2023

Escape the Clutches of JavaScript ๐Ÿ”—

For product-based companies enslaved by excessive billing, the path to freedom is clear. Switch to Hotwire for a quantum leap in productivity. Ditch the JavaScript frameworks and embrace a brighter future.

As we conclude this journey, we’re reminded of the Yoda of programming, the force that brings bliss to development. It’s time to embrace Rails, may the force be with you!

So, is Ruby on Rails truly dead? Not a chance! It’s thriving, evolving, and ready to face the challenges of the modern tech world. Watch out, ReactJS! Rails is here to stay!



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