Getting Real with Ruby: Understanding the Benefits

By Jennifer Marsh

Jennifer Marsh is a software developer, programmer and technology writer and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.

Ruby is an advanced language for many programmers, but it’s a powerful language used to make dynamic interfaces on the web. Dynamic web hosting shouldn’t be taken lightly because security holes still exist. A good cloud web host will offer a safe environment for development while still offering scalability and usability for Ruby programming, testing and deployment.

Space for Testing and Development

Web applications can grow to several gigabytes. For newer Ruby developers, it’s helpful to have enough storage space for backups, so a backup can be made to support the deployed code changes. Ruby is an interpreted language, but a bug can still mean a lot of time and resources devoted to discovery and fixing. Instead of emergency code reviews, the developer can restore the old version of the application before troubleshooting bugs.

Support for Database or Hard Drive Restoration

In severe cases, the application corrupts the data stored in the database. A good web host will backup the database and then restore it when the site owner needs it restored. This is especially useful in emergencies when the site gets hacked or data is corrupted due to application changes or hard drive crashes. The web host should support the client, including in cases of restoring database and application backups.

Find Support for Ruby

To run Ruby, the web host must support the framework. Check with the hosting company, and verify the host allows execution of CGI files. A good way to check is to find a host that has FastCGI and specifies that it supports Ruby and Ruby on Rails. Ruby is typically supported by Linux hosts, but some Windows hosts will support Ruby. Ruby is an interpreted language like Java, so it can run on any operating system.

Ask for Shell Access

Ruby configuration can be a bit hairy to configure. If the programmer is familiar with the language, having shell access helps speed up application configuration. Not all hosts will offer shell access, but with extended or advanced service, most hosts will oblige the webmaster. Shell access gives the webmaster more control of the Ruby settings.

The most important part of a web host is customer support an up-time. Most web hosts have a contract with the client that promises a percentage of up-time. This should be around 99%, meaning the website will be up for visitors. Check with the host for contract specifics before purchasing cloud hosting for Ruby.

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Extending on premise applications to the cloud

When you have an existing system, and you have a need to deploy a mobile app that won’t interfere with what’s already in place, the cloud can offer a great solution if managed correctly. With so many services on offer, there are many problems that cloud can be considered as a solution for, especially in projects where ” no one size fits all”. Such was the case for a recent cloud use case in mobile app development, as told in this SlideShare.

This presentation was given at the Amazon Web Services User Group UK meetup on 15th May, in London, England; it was written and delivered by Intechnica’s Technical Director Andy Still.

Read more blogs about cloud, development and application performance from Intechnica

Designing Applications for the Cloud

When designing applications for the cloud, or extending on-premise applications into the cloud, it should go without saying that you can’t just deploy and expect good results. There is much to consider from the very beginning as it relates to using cloud platforms fin development; these include scaling out, taking new and imaginative approaches to data storage, making full use of the wide range of products and services on offer from cloud providers (beyond hosting), and exploring the many flavours of hybrid solution which can mean all types of business can leverage the benefits of the cloud. These details are laid out further in the following SlideShare presentation.

“Architecting for the Cloud” is the theme for the upcoming Amazon Web Services User Group UK meetup (15th May, London). Intechnica’s Technical Director Andy Still will be there, and plans to talk about extending an application to create a caching platform for mobile access within AWS. If you’re in the London area this is definitely worth coming along to for the discussions and networking around AWS and cloud computing.

Read more blogs about cloud, development and application performance from Intechnica