2 m read

Ruby on Rails Best Practices: Optimize Code Quality

Undoubtedly, Ruby on Rails has emerged as a popular framework for building web applications. However, its flexibility and lack of rigid standards have given birth to numerous styles for everything related to coding. So, understanding the right way to utilize this language and its framework is crucial.

A competitive edge in the industry depends on a developer’s ability to understand and follow the correct approach to Ruby’s best practices.

General Guidelines For Coding in Ruby

Keeping Code Readable

The core intention behind any set of coding guidelines is to improve the readability of the code. The stakeholders interested in your codebase might vary from developers to managers, and making the code understandable for all is critical.

Indentation and Spacing

Use spaces for indentation. The universally accepted Ruby standard is to use two spaces per indentation level. This helps maintain readability and clarity in code.

Line Length

A line length exceeding 80 characters, while not an iron rule anymore, is still somewhat bothersome. Sticking within this limit is recommended to enhance readability, especially on various tools that may lack dynamic line wrapping.

Best Practices for Method Calls and Definitions

Usage of Parentheses

Do not put a space between a method name and the opening parenthesis in a method call. While parenthesis in method call may be optional in Ruby, it’s a good practice to use them for clarity.

Method Naming

Predicate methods, which return a boolean value, should ideally end with a question mark. This naming convention makes Ruby far more intuitive and readable.

Avoid prefixing these methods with auxiliary verbs such as “is”, “does”, etc. An example can be user.empty? instead of user.isEmpty?

Parameters in Method Definitions

Use spaces around the equals operator when assigning default values to method parameters. The space allows for easier visual separation and enhances code readability.

Local Variables

Prefix unused block parameters and local variables with ‘_’. This helps in distinguishing them from the used variables.

Error Handling Best Practices

Exception Handling

When it comes to exception handling, ensure that more specific exceptions are higher up the rescue chain. It’s usual to rescue from StandardError instead of Exception.

Another point to remember is if you return from a function inside an “ensure” block, the return will take precedence over any exception thrown, and the function will behave as if no exception has been raised.

Guard Clauses

Guard clauses are a set of conditional statements at the top of a function that stop function execution as soon as they can. This practice can make your code much more readable, and easier to comprehend.

Code Formatting and Conventions


Constants that refer to classes and modules should be written SCREAMING_SNAKE_CASE– all capitals. For instance, MAXIMUM_SPEED instead of maximum_speed.


When assigning the result of a conditional expression to a variable, maintain the alignment across branches. This is the established style in Ruby Programming Language and Programming Ruby sources.

Multi-line chaining

For multi-line chained method calls, put the “.” on the first line to indicate that the expression continues. Continuing the chain on the same line as the previous line increases readability.


The journey into the world of Ruby on Rails can be daunting, especially with its flexibility and various coding styles. However, keeping these Ruby best practices in mind can certainly help developers increase code quality, improve performance, and deliver a product that stands out in the market.

Previous tutorial: Speeding up with Rails Caching

Next tutorial: Coming Soon!


Leave a Reply