Ruby is a growing force in programming. With that growth we have seen some pretty phenomenal applications developed through it. In this article we will take a look at what are in my opinion the 10 best sites built using Ruby on Rails. So, if you have an idea for a large scale web app, and are considering developing it using the Ruby platform - or you are just curious what it is capable of as a language - read on and be informed. Otherwise, read on for knowledge and entertainment. ;)
1: Basecamp: A web based project-management tool developed by a company called 37signals out of Chicago. I gave Basecamp the number one spot because the Basecamp project is the original project from which the Ruby on Rails framework was extracted. Basecamp is a program developed to aid communication and collaboration for business project management. It uses wiki -style web-based text documents, milestone management, file sharing, time tracking, and a messaging system along with todo lists and the capability of integrating with Campfire (web-based group chat tool that lets you set up password-protected chat rooms).
2: Twitter: It’s probably safe to say that if you don’t know what Twitter is you have lived under a rock for the past several years and should make an effort to get out a little more. None the less, in short Twitter is a real time information networking tool, utilizing short bursts of information called “tweets” in wich you can imbed large amounts of information through linking and embedded media. Twitter was developed in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and launched in July. Since then Twitter has gained popularity worldwide and is estimated to have 200 million users, generating 65 million tweets a day and handling over 800,000 search queries per day.
3: Hulu: Hulu is one of my personal favorites. Who wouldn’t love an application that offers free T.V.? Some kind of fun hating robot, that’s who. Hulu is an online video service created in 2007 that offers a selection of hit shows, clips and movies. As a collaboration between AOL, Facebook, MSN and Yahoo, Hulu's mission is to help people find and enjoy the world's premium video content when, where and how they want it. As a company they are taking big strides toward growth, having just extended service to Xbox 360 customers this month, and continuing to talk about expanding beyond their US customer base in the near future.
4: Groupon: Groupon is a website (developed using Ruby) that offers daily coupon deals for local or national companies to its subscribers. Every day Groupon offers up one coupon offer to each of the markets it serves. (such as 20 pizza’s for 50% off at Pizza Joe’s) if a certain number of people sign up for the offer, then the deal becomes available to all. If no one signs up, no one gets the deal. Usually they offer some pretty good deals. Groupon was developed from the ground up using the Ruby in 2008. Groupon is "projecting that the company is on pace to make $1 billion in sales faster than any other business, ever".
5: Justin.tv: Justin.tv is basically a live version of YouTube, developed in Ruby. Pretty cool stuff. It’s a website that allows users to produce and watch live streaming video through user accounts called “channels”. Users are encouraged to broadcast a wide variety of content. Justin.tv's broadcasting and viewing is based on Adobe Flash and users can broadcast directly from the site via an attached webcam. Justin.tv also supports broadcasting using other third party software to allow broadcasters to add effects or stream higher quality video.
6: Shopify: Shopify is an e-commerce site that allows users to create digital stores. It was founded in 2004 by Tobias Lutke and Scott Lake. Who in an attempt to sell snowboarding equipment online became disgusted with the quality of existing online store packages, they decided to create a new online store for spite using Ruby on Rails. The company claims to have been profitable since 2008 without any significant investments from outsiders. Profitable enough to offer a grand prize of $100,000 in the companies “build-a-business” contest. The Shopify platform includes a content management system that allows users to manage inventory, edit HTML and CSS code, create coupon and discount codes, and accept online payments online with Paypal and major credit cards.
7: Campfire: I mentioned this one earlier. Developed by the same company that created Basejump, Campfire is a web-based group chat tool that lets you set up password-protected chat rooms. It basicly allows you to have password protected, recorded conversations in your web browser without requiring a download like other chat systems (MSN messenger, ect.)
8: Penny Arcade: I like comic books and video games. So this site made my list. Penny Arcade is a webcomic focused on video games and gamer culture and a site developed using Ruby. Penny Arcade is among the most popular and longest running gaming webcomics currently online. With a new comic strip each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday accompanied by regular blog updates, the sites creators Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik make a full time living off of the site.
9: Guitar Hero: I'm not a big fan of Guitar Hero by any stretch, but the site is nice and was developed using Ruby on Rails. So it deserves a mention in my post. Built to support the community and news updates for the popular game Guitar Hero, the site was built by parent company Activision to support their fan base in 2007.
10: Wayfaring: Wayfaring is a neat little map builder for creating personalized maps that you can share with your friends and are linkable to your website. Wayfaring integrates Google Earth, Google Maps and allows you to put in your own comments and directions.