Lead time (in terms of Lean Management) is a crucial KPI which might decide if a startup succeeds or not. Audience feedback and the first revenue (however low) are essential for the new companies. Creating a prototype which allows validating your idea shortly is crucial. This enables taking the right direction for further development. That’s why, the speed of software development is really important. Less time spent on coding means faster user feedback cycle and smaller development costs.
The Role of Speed in Software Development
According to FastCompany, software development is an expensive part of a startup journey which doesn’t have an end. Environmental risk, such as law changes and third-party dependencies’ updates, means that there is some extra work for developers.The time span from the first noticeable change to production delivery should be as short as possible.
What the fast software delivery looks like from the client’s perspective? It is a frequently updated staging/uat environment with the new features that could be seen and tested by clients. New registration page, an admin management panel as well as an email in an inbox are just a few to name. When development teams follow Scrum methodology, every iteration (which might be a week or two) should deliver a new noticeable value for business customers. Keeping in mind that MVP is more than a landing page, it is easy to conclude that the technology choice is important from the stakeholder’s perspective. To sum it up, fast development provides you with the following benefits:
Short time to market - bringing application to users as fast as possible.
Quick feedback from application users.
Lower development costs.
Fast market change adoption.
Frequent application updates.
Speed of Development with Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails is a frequent choice to build prototypes or create the MVP version of a product. There are many factors which make web development in Rails fast:
1. Complete framework
It is a “battery-included” framework in which many important, out of the box tools and solutions are available, e.g.: database communication, schema migrations, email sending/receiving, websockets, internalisation, caching, API mode and good security defaults.
2. Layered structure
The MVC (Model–View–Controller) software architectural pattern is a simple and easy way to split application logic into separate layers with their respective responsibilities. Ruby on Rails follows MVC allowing developers to focus on what really needs to be done instead of making decisions over code organisation (at least in an early stage of a project).
3. Numerous third-party components
A huge collection of third-party components (gems) which significantly speeds up app development. Authentication (registration, login pages or through social media providers like Facebook or Google) is very easy to set up thanks to Devise gem. Building administration panel is simple with ActiveAdmin.
4. Strong support from devops services
Many hosting and CI/CD (continuous integration and continuous delivery) services which have prebuilt Rails support, e.g.:
The convention over configuration strategy that saves dozens of lines of configuration and boilerplate code. Favouring sets of rules that comes with Rails can cut the number of decisions that need to be made, keeping code simplicity and flexibility at the same time.
6. Good frontend tools support
Thousands of development questions have already been answered on stackoverflow. Developers can learn Rails from dozens of technical books, hundreds of tutorials and many good video tutorials that are available across the web. Not to mention many conferences that take place around the world.
8. Code scaffolds
Code scaffolds are auto-generated code snippets that can provide good basic defaults for new app components. They are ready to use in a few seconds. Their main benefit is that they make developers more productive in their day-to-day work.
Can You Prototype Fast with Ruby on Rails?
So what can we expect regarding speed development when choosing Ruby on Rails with the aim of building a web application? It mainly depends on team velocity - however, assuming that an application is built from the ground up, it's easy to create staging, beta and production environments in a couple of days. Creating a basic Rails app is a matter of minutes, so presenting the first working version of a product after a few days of development isn't uncommon. A few months might be enough to build the MVP so that the business could start validating its goals.
What Else Affects the Speed of Development
The speed of development is not only related to a technology that is being used. There are many other factors that come into play. What kind of project methodology the team follows is important too. Nowadays, Agile (and Scrum in particular) is a common choice. It involves the usage of additional tools that organise and visualise the work. An example of project management tool might be a JIRA. Continuous integration (CI) and development (CD) tools help to deliver high-quality code fast.
At Netguru, we use CircleCi as a CI and CD option. Bug monitoring tools like a Rollbar or Sentry can save time spent on error fixing by providing instant error notifications as well as many helpful details. To keep the application free of bugs, the QA (quality assurance) process is also critical. There's no better check than a human interaction with the newly created feature.
Ruby on Rails has proved to be one of the best choices regarding fast software development. Especially when it comes to building MVPs. Thus, if your priority is to prototype and verify your idea fast, Ruby on Rails is a way to go. And we can definitely help you with this! Drop us a message or estimate a project.