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Building Your First Web Application with Ruby

In our previous article, we took a look at metaprogramming in Ruby. Following that, we’re going to dive into building your first Ruby application using the Rails framework.

This beginner’s guide will walk you through the steps of creating a basic web application, highlighting key principles and procedures.

Preparation: Setting Up Ruby Environment

Installing Ruby

For you to get started, your system must have Ruby installed. The application we’ll build requires Ruby version 2.7.0 or later. If you have a lower version or do not have Ruby, you’ll need to install a fresh copy.

Visit the official Ruby website to download and install the correct distribution for your platform.

RubyMine and run/debug Configuration

Upon successful installation of Ruby, you should set up RubyMine. This intelligent Ruby and Rails IDE will help smooth your coding process.

When you start a new project in RubyMine, it automatically creates a special profile, and a run/debug configuration, used for running, debugging, and testing applications.

Understanding MVC and RESTful Design

Before we write the first line of code, it’s essential to understand the basic principles of MVC (Model, View, Controller) and RESTful design. These principles are at the core of most web applications.

MVC is a design pattern that separates the responsibilities of an application, making the code easier to manage and reason about.

Layouts and Rendering in Ruby on Rails

In Ruby on Rails, layouts and rendering play crucial roles in determining the presentation of your application’s user interface.

Layouts, typically composed of a blend of HTML and Ruby code, serve as templates to establish a consistent look and feel across various views within your application.

Building a Simple Weblog: Your First Ruby Application

We’re now ready to begin actual coding. To start, we need to generate a fresh Rails application using the application generator. This will provide us with the foundation we can build upon, as it would save us the time of writing everything ourselves.

Starting Up a Server on Your Development Machine

After generating the application, we can now start a web server on our development machine. If you are using Windows, remember to pass the scripts under the ‘bin’ folder directly to the Ruby interpreter, e.g., Ruby bin\rails server.

Creating a Controller

Now, we’ll move on to creating a Controller. Controllers are Ruby classes that handle user requests and provide directions on how data is processed or displayed.

After creating your controller, remember to restart your server if you had previously stopped it to run the controller generator.

Creating a Model

The final piece of the MVC puzzle is creating our model. The model is responsible for interacting with the database, and it manages the rules of your data. This includes how a database table is created, manipulated, and removed. For simplicity, we’ll create a model for an “article.”

Conclusion: Recap and Next Steps

Building your first Ruby application might seem cumbersome, but it’s a crucial step in understanding the Ruby programming language and Rails framework. We’ve walked through installing the required software, understanding the key principles of MVC and RESTful designs, and building a simple weblog.

Keep practicing to get a better understanding of Ruby on Rails, and don’t hesitate to explore other resources.

If you enjoyed this article and found it helpful, you might also like our previous article on “Metaprogramming in Ruby”.


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