Rails vs Sinatra: What are the differences?
Rails: Web development that doesn't hurt. Rails is a web-application framework that includes everything needed to create database-backed web applications according to the Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern; Sinatra: Classy web-development dressed in a DSL. Sinatra is a DSL for quickly creating web applications in Ruby with minimal effort.
Rails and Sinatra are primarily classified as "Frameworks (Full Stack)" and "Microframeworks (Backend)" tools respectively.
"Rapid development" is the top reason why over 822 developers like Rails, while over 63 developers mention "Lightweight" as the leading cause for choosing Sinatra.
Rails and Sinatra are both open source tools. It seems that Rails with 43.6K GitHub stars and 17.5K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Sinatra with 10.6K GitHub stars and 1.9K GitHub forks.
According to the StackShare community, Rails has a broader approval, being mentioned in 2322 company stacks & 798 developers stacks; compared to Sinatra, which is listed in 92 company stacks and 34 developer stacks.
What is Rails?
What is Sinatra?
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By mid-2015, around the time of the Series E, the Digital department at WeWork had grown to more than 40 people to support the company’s growing product needs.
By then, they’d migrated the main website off of WordPress to Ruby on Rails, and a combination React, Angular, and jQuery, though there were efforts to move entirely to React for the front-end.
The backend was structured around a microservices architecture built partially in Node.js, along with a combination of Ruby, Python, Bash, and Go. Swift/Objective-C and Java powered the mobile apps.
These technologies power the listings on the website, as well as various internal tools, like community manager dashboards as well as RFID hardware for access management.
When starting a new company and building a new product w/ limited engineering we chose to optimize for expertise and rapid development, landing on Rails API, w/ AngularJS on the front.
The reality is that we're building a CRUD app, so we considered going w/ vanilla Rails MVC to optimize velocity early on (it may not be sexy, but it gets the job done). Instead, we opted to split the codebase to allow for a richer front-end experience, focus on skill specificity when hiring, and give us the flexibility to be consumed by multiple clients in the future.
We also considered .NET core or Node.js for the API layer, and React on the front-end, but our experiences dealing with mature Node APIs and the rapid-fire changes that comes with state management in React-land put us off, given our level of experience with those tools.
We're using GitHub and Trello to track issues and projects, and a plethora of other tools to help the operational team, like Zapier, MailChimp, Google Drive with some basic Vue.js & HTML5 apps for smaller internal-facing web projects.
StackShare Feed is built entirely with React, Glamorous, and Apollo. One of our objectives with the public launch of the Feed was to enable a Server-side rendered (SSR) experience for our organic search traffic. When you visit the StackShare Feed, and you aren't logged in, you are delivered the Trending feed experience. We use an in-house Node.js rendering microservice to generate this HTML. This microservice needs to run and serve requests independent of our Rails web app. Up until recently, we had a mono-repo with our Rails and React code living happily together and all served from the same web process. In order to deploy our SSR app into a Heroku environment, we needed to split out our front-end application into a separate repo in GitHub. The driving factor in this decision was mostly due to limitations imposed by Heroku specifically with how processes can't communicate with each other. A new SSR app was created in Heroku and linked directly to the frontend repo so it stays in-sync with changes.
Related to this, we need a way to "deploy" our frontend changes to various server environments without building & releasing the entire Ruby application. We built a hybrid Amazon S3 Amazon CloudFront solution to host our Webpack bundles. A new CircleCI script builds the bundles and uploads them to S3. The final step in our rollout is to update some keys in Redis so our Rails app knows which bundles to serve. The result of these efforts were significant. Our frontend team now moves independently of our backend team, our build & release process takes only a few minutes, we are now using an edge CDN to serve JS assets, and we have pre-rendered React pages!
#StackDecisionsLaunch #SSR #Microservices #FrontEndRepoSplit
Back in 2014, I was given an opportunity to re-architect SmartZip Analytics platform, and flagship product: SmartTargeting. This is a SaaS software helping real estate professionals keeping up with their prospects and leads in a given neighborhood/territory, finding out (thanks to predictive analytics) who's the most likely to list/sell their home, and running cross-channel marketing automation against them: direct mail, online ads, email... The company also does provide Data APIs to Enterprise customers.
I had inherited years and years of technical debt and I knew things had to change radically. The first enabler to this was to make use of the cloud and go with AWS, so we would stop re-inventing the wheel, and build around managed/scalable services.
For the SaaS product, we kept on working with Rails as this was what my team had the most knowledge in. We've however broken up the monolith and decoupled the front-end application from the backend thanks to the use of Rails API so we'd get independently scalable micro-services from now on.
Our various applications could now be deployed using AWS Elastic Beanstalk so we wouldn't waste any more efforts writing time-consuming Capistrano deployment scripts for instance. Combined with Docker so our application would run within its own container, independently from the underlying host configuration.
Storage-wise, we went with Amazon S3 and ditched any pre-existing local or network storage people used to deal with in our legacy systems. On the database side: Amazon RDS / MySQL initially. Ultimately migrated to Amazon RDS for Aurora / MySQL when it got released. Once again, here you need a managed service your cloud provider handles for you.
Future improvements / technology decisions included:
Caching: Amazon ElastiCache / Memcached CDN: Amazon CloudFront Systems Integration: Segment / Zapier Data-warehousing: Amazon Redshift BI: Amazon Quicksight / Superset Search: Elasticsearch / Amazon Elasticsearch Service / Algolia Monitoring: New Relic
As our usage grows, patterns changed, and/or our business needs evolved, my role as Engineering Manager then Director of Engineering was also to ensure my team kept on learning and innovating, while delivering on business value.
One of these innovations was to get ourselves into Serverless : Adopting AWS Lambda was a big step forward. At the time, only available for Node.js (Not Ruby ) but a great way to handle cost efficiency, unpredictable traffic, sudden bursts of traffic... Ultimately you want the whole chain of services involved in a call to be serverless, and that's when we've started leveraging Amazon DynamoDB on these projects so they'd be fully scalable.
For many(if not all) small and medium size business time and cost matter a lot.
That's why languages, frameworks, tools, and services that are easy to use and provide 0 to productive in less time, it's best.
Maybe Node.js frameworks might provide better features compared to Rails but in terms of MVPs, for us Rails is the leading alternative.
Amazon EC2 might be cheaper and more customizable than Heroku but in the initial terms of a project, you need to complete configurationos and deploy early.
Advanced configurations can be done down the road, when the project is running and making money, not before.
Finally, comunication and keeping a good history of conversations, decisions, and discussions is important so we use a mix of Slack and Twist
I'm working as one of the engineering leads in RunaHR. As our platform is a Saas, we thought It'd be good to have an API (We chose Ruby and Rails for this) and a SPA (built with React and Redux ) connected. We started the SPA with Create React App since It's pretty easy to start.
We use Jest as the testing framework and react-testing-library to test React components. In Rails we make tests using RSpec.
Our main database is PostgreSQL, but we also use MongoDB to store some type of data. We started to use Redis for cache and other time sensitive operations.
We have a couple of extra projects: One is an Employee app built with React Native and the other is an internal back office dashboard built with Next.js for the client and Python in the backend side.
The first live version of Leanstack was actually a WordPress site. There wasn’t a whole lot going on at first. We had static pages with static content that needed to be updated manually. Then came the concept of user-generated content and we made the switch to a full on Rails app in November of last year. Nick had a lot of experience with Rails so that made the decision pretty easy. But I had also played around with Rails previously and was comfortable working with it. I also knew I’d need to hire engineers with a lot more experience building web apps than I do, so I wanted to go with a language and framework other people would have experience with. Also, the sheer number of gems and tools available for Rails is pretty amazing (shout to RubyToolbox ).
I don’t see us ever having to move away from Rails really, but I could be wrong. Leanstack was built in Rails 3. For StackShare we decided to upgrade to Rails 4. Biggest issue with that has been caching. DHH decided to remove the standard page and action caching in favor of key-based caching (source)[http://edgeguides.rubyonrails.org/caching_with_rails.html#page-caching]. Probably a good thing from a framework-perspective. But pretty shitty to have to learn about that after testing out your new app and realizing nothing is cached anymore :( We’ll need to spend some more time implementing "Russian Doll Caching", but for now we’ve got a random mixture of fragment and action caching (usually one or the other) based on which pages are most popular.
We use Rails for webpages and projects, not for backend services. Actually if you click through our website, you won't notice it but you're clicking though, I think, seven or eight different Rails projects. We tie those all together with a front-end library that we wrote, which basically makes sure that you have a consistent experience over all these different Rails apps.
It's a gem, we call it Karmeleon. It's not a gem that we released. It's an internal gem. Basically what it does is it makes sure that we have a consistent layout across multiple Rails apps. Then we can share stuff like a menu bar or footer or that kind of stuff.
So if we start a new front end project it's always a Rails application. We pull in the Karmeleon gem with all our styling stuff and then basically the application is almost ready to be deployed. That would be an empty page, but you would still have top bar, footer, you have some custom components that you can immediately use. So it kind of bootstraps our entire project to be a front end project.
Scalatra (we had to pick Sinatra on StackShare since Scalatra is has not yet been officially added) is the slickest (not to be confused with Slick for Scala) web/applet server framework we've had the pleasure of playing with in Scala.
For all intensive purposes, Scalatra is the Scala version of Sinatra (which for anyone who doesn't know is a Ruby web server DSL).
Web has always been in Rails from the beginning, so we used Redis for caching our items, which we had, from the beginning. Rails is kind of what we were comfortable with, and we knew we wanted the front end to be really, really snappy, so we de-normalized all the item attributes into Redis, and that's how it got served out.
Rails 5 (beta 3) provided a nice structure for rendering responses, linking to front-end assets (compiled previously via Webpack), handling sessions w/ tailor made login links via an email button/token, background jobs, and creating an admin behind basic auth to allow managing of users and purchases.
For this project rails was ideal due to new features introduced in Rails 5 that allowed us to build a lightweight "API only" project. Developer familiarity and the ability to rapidly iterate, as well as providing an accessible testing framework were additional factors.
We use Sinatra a lot. I love Sinatra for APIs. It's really simple, really lightweight. It's awesome.