8 Best Ruby on Rails IDE and Text Editors for Web Development

Ruby on Rails usage statistics depicts that it is a powerful and popular backend framework for web development companies. Writing code in Ruby is easier compared to the rest of the programming languages. 

In fact, Ruby acquired its popularity only after the Ruby on Rails framework became prevalent. Developers across the globe use Rails for rapid web development of user-driven, high traffic websites and web apps.

Ruby on Rails IDE is all you require to begin your programming expedition with the Ruby on Rails web framework. 

There are several IDEs that are accessible in today’s market, both paid and free, and choosing one is time-consuming. To help you, we have curated a list of the best IDE and Editors for Rails development.

Let’s first take a closer look at the RoR concept, understanding what it is and why developers use it. We will then look at some of the popular Ruby editor and IDE.

What is an IDE?

Integrated development environment or IDE is a software tool intended to maximize programmers’ productivity by supplying tight-knit components with parallel user interfaces. 

IDE is a software application that delivers wide-ranging services to computer engineers and programmers for software development. 

An IDE generally contains at least a debugger, a source code editor, and build automation tools. Some of the IDEs, like Eclipse and NetBeans, comprise the essential interpreter, compiler, or both; others, namely, Lazarus and SharpDevelop, do not. 

The border between a full featured IDE and other software development tools like a code editor is not defined; occasionally a version control system or several tools to streamline the creation of a graphical user interface (GUI) are incorporated. 

Many contemporary IDEs have a class hierarchy diagram, a class browser, and an object browser for usage in object-based development.

What is Ruby on Rails used for?

What is Ruby on Rails used for?

Ruby on Rails (RoR) is a server-side web app framework written in Ruby under MIT License.  It is a model-view-controller (MVC) framework, supplying default structures for a database, web service, and pages. 

It reassures and simplifies the usage of web standards like XML or JSON for data transfer and CSS, HTML, and JavaScript for user interfacing. 

Some popular companies that use RoR are Groupon, Shopify, Netflix, Github, and Airbnb, to name a few.

Why Rails?

RoR is one of the most popular web frameworks employed for developing an application that is faster than a Java framework. 

Also, Rails give emphasis to the practice of other well-known software engineering paradigms and patterns, such as the-

  • Active record pattern
  • Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY)
  • Convention Over Configuration (CoC).

Some Benefits of Using Ruby on Rails Framework

The procedure of programming in Rails is faster than the rest of the languages and frameworks, partly due to the object-oriented trait of Ruby and the massive collection of open-source code accessible within the community.

The active RoR community provides Ruby Gems for almost all kind of tasks. These libraries are open source and so dissimilar to other commercial development frameworks.  Also, it has absolutely no licensing costs.

Apart from cost-saving, the framework is also known to be highly productive. The Ruby on Rails code is readable and self-documenting. This enhances productivity, as there is less requirement to write out distinct documentation.

Plus the self-documentation makes it simpler for the developers to pick the current projects. Additionally, the Rails conventions make it simpler for developers to shift between diverse Rails projects.

Every project is standardized and tends to abide by the same coding practices and structure.

Rails is extremely good for rapid application development (RAD), as this framework makes it easy to accommodate any alterations. Rails has built a sturdy emphasis on testing and has a decent testing framework.

Owing to these features, the framework is mainly used by startups and small businesses who require quick and secure results.

8 Best Ruby on Rails IDEs to Use

  1. RubyMine IDE

    Rubymine

    RubyMine is a fully-featured IDE established by JetBrains, a corporation that makes developer tools for proficient developers. It gives thorough support for the languages like CoffeeScript, Ruby, ERB, JavaScript, CSS, HAML, and Saas. 

    It is easy to use and provides readable, seamless code. However, one thing that you must know about this IDE is that it is not open-source or free and you have to pay a fee for it. 

    Features:

    • Graphical user interface debugger for JavaScript, Ruby, and CoffeeScript, and the capability to set breakpoints to debug the code.
    • It has formatting suggestions, code completion, syntax and error highlighting, and unified integration with version control systems.

  2. Atom Editor

    atom editor

    Atom editor, from Github, now a subsidiary of Microsoft, is an open-source IDE that has extremely customizable traits to simplify code development. 

    In addition to this, it aids in upsurge productivity without moving the configuration file each time. Typically, it does not function alone since it avails support from the Github seamless practice. 

    It supports numerous programming languages that include Ruby. Some other features of Atom for Rails development are discussed below.

    Features:

    • Incorporation with Git and GitHub for version control.
    • It contains auto-completion, manifold panes, and find and replace characteristics.
    • Teletype, in which developers can function in the identical document in real-time.

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  3. VIM Editor

    VIM editor

    VIM is an open-source, free to use text editor for Ruby on Rails that is considered to be rich in features.  Those who utilize VIM, they love it, especially developers who love using only a keyboard and no mouse for availing lightning-fast coding

    VIM is available under the GPL license as open-source software.  The fame of VIM can be ascertained from the fact that the engineers at Facebook have employed VIM during their early development stage.

    Features:

    • It is keyboard-based, which can make moving from file to file quickly.
    • VIM Editor is accessible as a best Ruby IDE for Linux.
    • Plugins that present a choice to convert this text editor into an influential Ruby development environment.

  4. Sublime Text

    sublime text

    Sublime Text is the code editor that is customizable, lightweight, and high-performing. Sublime Text the best IDE for Ruby on Rails development today.

    It is one of the most prevalent editors due to its beautiful user interface, performance, and capability to add plugins, which can turn it into a fully-featured IDE.

    Features:

    • The Goto definition and Goto Anything features simplify user searches.
    • Performance and customization are highlights of this ruby text editor.
    • It has the capability to divide edit, the ability to select and change the text in several places at once, and promptly switch projects without having to save.

    These features make Sublime Text the best editor for Ruby on Rails.


  5. Aptana Studio

    aptana studio

    Aptana Studio is one of the most favoured open-source IDEs that aids to make dynamic and programming web applications. Aptana Studio provides integrated support with Rails.

    It is considered the best IDE for Rails owing to its usage of the external plugin RadRails which includes a lot of high-tech features to simplify the development of database-driven web apps.

    Moreover, this tool has upgrading novel features to enhance productivity and support customization.

    It also supplies extended support over manifold programming languages, including AJAX, Javascript, Rails, CSS, PHP, and HTML. 

    Features:

    • Its filter nodes are utilized to view collections to match the patterns.
    • It helps to forecast the bugs.
    • It comprises syntax or error high-lightning too.
    • It has a tree-structured code representation.
    • It easily inspects variables, breakpoints, and control execution.

  6. Emacs

    Emacs

    Emacs is a complete stunner and adorable code editor for Ruby scripting and Rails web programming.  It is accessible free to use and can be configured and customized as per the requirements. 

    Emacs is utilized by several Ruby developers, and for that motive, there is a devoted Ruby plugin named enhanced Ruby mode for supporting Ruby programming.  

    Supplementary packages to further augment Emacs for Ruby comprise names like ruby-tools, rubocop-emacs, rake, rvm, chruby, bundler, and rbenv

    It is one of the best selections explicitly when you are considering a free Ruby IDE.

    Features:

    • Enhanced Ruby Mode for streamiling Ruby on Rails web development
    • Its edit modes include syntax colouring.
    • It is functionality outside of text editing, containing tutorials for project planners, new users, and a debugger interface.
    • It has a highly customizable appearance utilizing GUI or Emacs Lisp.

  7. Cloud9

    cloud 9

    Cloud9 presents the development environment for nearly all programming languages comprising Ruby. 

    It is quickly becoming popular amongst medium to big enterprises and companies like Soundcloud, Heroku, Mozilla, Mailchimp to name a few are already employing Cloud9.

    Cloud9 is a powerful Ruby code editor that lets you host the development setting of Ruby on Rails in Cloud9 and retrieving the command is like how you will do it on your own workstation. 

    You get practically all the characteristics that you require for Ruby on Rails development including a text editor, file manager, Unix shell, preview, and chatting for team collaboration.

    Features:

    • It supplies a browser-based editor that makes it simple to write, run, and debug your projects.  You can choose the themes for the editor.
    • It encompasses the integrated panel debugger that aids to breakpoint, check variables state and steps through code.
    • It enables you to run commands, such as compiling your code, push code changes to git, or exhibiting command output from servers.
    • Tools, namely Serverless Application Model (SAM) use templates in Cloud9 to deliver a streamlined way of describing resources for your serverless applications.

  8. Net Beans

    netbeans

    NetBeans is utilized for diverse programming languages as a prevalent IDE for development. It is a powerful Ruby development environment for RoR developers.

    With its end-to-end app development traits, continuously improving Java Editor, and frequent speed and performance enhancements, NetBeans IDE sets the benchmark for Rails web development with cutting-edge technologies.

    You can employ NetBeans to quickly and easily develop desktop, mobile, and web applications using Java, PHP, HTML 5, C or C++. 

    This IDE arises from Oracle and is free to utilize.  It also relishes the support of a huge community of developers and programmers because it is a faster and smarter way to code. Lets look at the outstanding features of this code editor for simplified Ruby and Rails development

    Features:

    • It is cross-platform and runs on Windows, Linux, macOS and Solaris.
    • It delivers smart outlines to aid you in comprehend and manage your Rails applications, containing excellent support for popular technologies, namely Maven.

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Which IDE Should You Use For Ruby on Rails?

Your developers are going to devote much time to opt for the required editor for your Rails web development project.  Hence, it is imperative to utilize an editor that you are comfortable and productive with. 

Most of the editors and IDEs mentioned above for Ruby development are either free or give a free trial version. It is always helpful to try out a few of them before you opt for one.

Here are certain things that you should consider before selecting the best text editor for Ruby:

  • Consider inbuilt characteristics that enhance your productivity like auto-complete, code snippets, and clean design that does not get in your way.
  • Whether the selected Ruby on Rails editor is open-source or not?
  • What Ruby-related plugins are accessible to create things easier for you?

These were some of the best code editors for Ruby on Rails that can increase developers’ productivity in building applications. 

Still, if you have some queries or questions, here we have answered some frequently asked questions. Feel free to reach out to us for further information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What IDE should I use for Ruby on Rails?

You can use RubyMine if you want a graphical user interface debugger for Ruby, CoffeeScript, and JavaScript. It has the competency to allocate breakpoints to debug code. Also, you can opt for Aptana Studio that provides integrated support with Rails. It comprises tree-structured code representation and can easily inspect variables, and control execution.

Is there a difference between Ruby and Ruby on Rails?

Yes, there is a difference between Ruby and Ruby on Rails. Ruby is a language while Ruby on Rails is a web framework. Ruby is a dynamic, object-oriented, interpreted scripting language. While, Ruby on Rails is an open-source web application framework, which functions on Ruby language.

Is Python similar to Ruby?

No, Python is not similar to Ruby. As discussed in one of our previous blogs, Ruby on Rails vs Python, the Ruby on Rails web framework is developed utilizing the Ruby language while the Django web framework is developed using Python language. Python takes a more direct methodology to program. Its chief goal is to make everything noticeable to the programmers.


Conclusion

Ruby is a universal-purpose programming language that is frequently compared with Python when it comes to an easy understanding of syntax and readability. 

With Ruby on Rails, developers can develop a wide range of websites and web apps that are scalable, fast and integrable. But to simplify the web development process, an IDE or code editor is useful.

Ruby requires feature-rich good Ruby on Rails code editors like Atom, Vim, Emacs, or Sublime Text.  A full-featured IDE namely Eclipse for Java is not actually needed for the maximum of the projects. 

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Author Bio
Jigar Mistry
Jigar Mistry
Designation: CTO - Monocubed

Jigar Mistry is the CTO of Monocubed and is the main curator and writer of the content found on this site. He has 14+ years of experience in the information technology industry. He always believes in quality, in terms of code and application.