5 Ruby Tools and Extensions You Should Know

Ruby is a common programming language, ranked among the most popular in the world for tech startups, alongside Java, Python, SQL, and PHP. Many well-known applications and websites are built on Ruby, including Airbnb, Twitter, Kickstarter, CafePress, and Github.

Ruby is an object-oriented language developed in the mid-1990s by Japanese creator Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto. Matz created the language with the intention of it being a buffer between machinery and human developers, striking a balance between imperative and functional programming.

Though Ruby isn’t especially new, as programming languages go, it remains attractive to many developers. Given the way Ruby is designed, developers can typically write fewer lines of actual code to produce a high level of functionality. Many developers work within the Ruby on Rails web application framework, which offers efficiency and ease-of-use—along with some guidelines specific to this language.

The Ruby on Rails framework is founded on two core principles. The first is “Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY).” The DRY software development ethos establishes that everything within a system must have a sole, authoritative, and unequivocal representation. This means developers using Ruby on Rails don’t have to continually rewrite the same information, making the system less fault-prone, easier to maintain, and potentially more scalable.

The other guideline is “Convention over Configuration.” This principle entails favoring Ruby’s perceived “best way” of building web applications over other methods. This is essentially a set of default Ruby conventions that serves as the foundation for web application development. In practice, it means applications can be deployed more quickly because development teams don’t have to spend as much time on configuration.

The Ruby Tools and Extensions You Need to Know

Developers utilizing Ruby can take advantage of the fact that many tools exist to streamline this process. Creating, testing, and implementing a Ruby-based project can be easier with programs for Ruby performance monitoring, Rubby logging, Ruby user authentication, and more. If you’re planning to develop with Ruby—or already using Ruby—consider the following tools and extensions to save time and effort.

1. Ruby Performance Monitoring Tool: AppOptics

SolarWinds® AppOptics™ offers Ruby application performance monitoring. With Ruby monitoring and tracing, you can see real-time performance stats, both across distributed apps and in single service tiers. How do your remote calls, code, or database queries impact performance? What is the distribution of response times? AppOptics Ruby monitoring helps answer these kinds of questions for multiple frameworks and servers, with out-of-the-box support for Rails, Padrino, Sinatra, and more.

When bottlenecks do occur, the dashboard offers drill-down visibility, allowing you to trace individual bottlenecks across processes, hosts, and data centers for faster troubleshooting. Customize metrics to get the necessary granular insights into Ruby performance. The dashboards offer unified metric graphs, allow you to customize alerts, and can integrate with Snap and Telegraf.

2. Ruby Logging Tool: Loggly

When attempting to log Ruby files, it can become difficult to manage log volume and perform effective analysis. In a production environment, these difficulties can slow development. SolarWinds Loggly® is a cloud-based solution for Ruby logging. This platform lets you maintain all your logs on a centralized basis, meaning you can use this program’s intuitive dashboard to manage various Ruby logs alongside other infrastructure and application logs.

Because Loggly is founded on a cloud-based, agentless architecture, you can start logging without the necessity for time-consuming configurations. With the Logglier Library, you can send Ruby logs over HTTP/S to Loggly, and with syslog you can send Ruby on Rails logs. The Logglier library accepts JSON events and multiline.

With Loggly Ruby logging, previous logs are archived automatically, and you can maintain them indefinitely if it suits your needs. In addition, Loggly users have access to open-source logging libraries, like Fluentd and Lograge, allowing them to enhance their basic Ruby text logs. Lastly, the automated log parsing feature, which is enabled for all incoming logs, means rapid search results when you need to troubleshoot.

3. Ruby User Authentication Tool: Devise

Devise allows you to add user authentication functionalities to your Ruby applications. It’s a free, open-source tool covering email confirmation, multiple user session request processing, and password recovery.

Rack-based Devise lets you sign into multiple models simultaneously and is a complete MVC Rails engine solution. This tool is founded on the “use only what you need” principle, otherwise known as the modularity concept. Devise offers 10 core modules, including the following three examples:

Confirmable: This module ensures a confirmation email is sent to check whether an account is verified upon sign-in
Trackable: With this module, the sign-in count is tracked, along with IP addresses and timestamps
Lockable: This means an account can be locked out after a defined number of incorrect sign-in attempts

4. Ruby Global Location Tool: Geocoder

Geocoder, a Ruby location tool, is free, open-source, and can be integrated with Ruby on Rails, as well as with ActiveRecord, Mongoid, and several APIs. Geocoder is compatible with multiple versions of Ruby, including Ruby 2.x, JRuby, and Rails 3, 4, and 5.

This is a comprehensive geocoding solution for Ruby with several key features, including geocoding for IP addresses and caching, reverse and forward geocoding, and the ability to connect more than 40 APIs globally. Its basic geospatial queries incorporate searching within a rectangular or circular radius and its configurations allow you to attribute varying parameters and APIs to different specific conditions.

5. Ruby Front-End Formatting Tool: Bootstrap

One Ruby tool for front-end formatting is Bootstrap, a component library providing access to a host of styling and formatting elements. Bootstrap is an open-source tool designed for developing applications with CSS, JS, and HTML. It features jQuery-built plugins, a pool of prebuilt components, and an interactive grid system—all of which can help simplify the process of prototyping your ideas and building your application. For instance, you can leverage the Autoprefixer, which lets you add vendor prefixes automatically. This allows you to write key CSS code only once, saving time and effort.