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Introduction to Ruby on Rails: Building Your First App

Introduction to Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails, often just referred to as Rails, is a web application framework written in Ruby. It’s a powerful tool that provides developers with the structure for all the code they write. The primary goal of Rails is to simplify the process of building complex websites. Today, we’re going to dive into an introductory tutorial on how to build your first app using this remarkable framework.

Getting Started

The first step in any new project is setting up your development environment. Before you can start coding, you’ll need to install both Ruby and Rails on your computer. There are plenty of detailed guides online that can walk you through this process step by step.

Creating a New Rails Application

Once you have installed Ruby and Rails, open your terminal or command prompt and navigate to the directory where you want your application to reside. Then type rails new my_first_app. This command will create a new directory named “my_first_app” with a number of files and folders that make up the skeleton of a Rails application.

Understanding MVC Architecture

Rails uses an architectural pattern called Model-View-Controller (MVC). In simple terms, Models handle data and business logic, Controllers receive browser requests and return responses, and Views are templates that get filled with data from controllers which then gets rendered into HTML.


A model represents the information (data) of the application and the rules to manipulate that data. For instance, if our app was a blog site, we might have models for Users, Posts and Comments.


Views are the user interfaces that present models to the user. They’re typically made up of HTML, CSS, and embedded Ruby code.


Controllers provide the “glue” between models and views. They process incoming requests from the web browser, interact with the model, and pick the appropriate view to render.

Building Your First App

We’re going to build a simple blog application. This app will have users who can create posts and comment on those posts.

Creating The User Model

To create our User model, we can use Rails’ built-in generator by typing rails generate model User name:string email:string password_digest:string. This command creates a new file in your app/models directory named user.rb that’s ready for you to fill in with relationships and validations for our User model.

Migrating The Database

After creating a new model, you need to tell your database about it. This is where Rails’ migrations come into play. Running rake db:migrate will create a new table in your database called users with columns for name, email, and password_digest.

Setting Up Routes And Controllers

The next step is setting up routes and controllers for our Users resource. In Rails, this is as simple as adding resources :users to your config/routes.rb file and running rails generate controller Users.

Crafting Views For Our Users Resource

The last part of building our blog application is creating views for our Users resource. This involves crafting templates for each action defined in our UsersController (index, show, new, edit). These templates will be filled in with form fields for creating and editing users, as well as displaying a list of all users and individual user profiles.


Ruby on Rails is a powerful tool that can make web development easier and more enjoyable. With its emphasis on convention over configuration, it allows developers to focus more on the unique aspects of their application rather than boilerplate code. This tutorial only scratches the surface of what’s possible with Rails. I encourage you to explore further and see what you can build!


James Patterson, a seasoned writer in his late 30s, has carved a niche for himself in the tech world with his insightful and practical articles. With over a decade of experience in computer programming, James has a deep understanding of the challenges and intricacies of modern enterprise software development. His blog is a treasure trove of "how-to" guides, addressing common and complex issues faced by today's developers. His expertise is not limited to coding, as he also has a profound interest in computer security, making him a go-to resource for developers seeking knowledge in these fields. He believes in simplifying complex technical concepts to make them accessible to a wider audience, helping to foster a more knowledgeable and skilled community of developers.

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