12th August 2011

Frameworks – Development Efficiency & Quality

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The internet is awash with an abundance of web development frameworks, languages and buzz words yet every day more appear. This poses a challenge as keeping abreast of them all, deciding which ones are of use in an digital agency environment and which are superfluous becomes more difficult.

One of the biggest developments on the web is the rise in open source technologies. Going back 5 years there were only two main language choices for a web developer, PHP or .Net. PHP was always thought of as an inferior choice because of its lack of standards and documentation. Where as, Microsoft development language .Net was considered robust and well documented but it came with expensive licences which priced it out of the reach of small businesses.

At Creode we have always used a mixture of frameworks and languages and have recently started using the Ruby on Rails framework. One of our main reasons for this choice is it lends itself well to our agile development practices and allows us to produce better quality websites coupled with increased productivity.

Ruby on Rails was initially developed by David Heinemeier Hansson, a partner of 37 Signals, to allow them to produce their own web application efficiently. It quickly caught on in the open source community and it now has a massive following of web developers contributing to the framework and modules to be used in conjunction with it.

Ruby on Rails

As web developers we are always striving to become more efficient and improve the quality of our websites. Ruby on Rails comes with some powerful tools which enable us to do this through the use of Test Driven Development.

By writing programmatic tests we can improve the quality of the code we produce and ensure that the functionality of the website meets the specification. Programmatic testing techniques allow us to ensure a higher level of test coverage than could otherwise be achieved through manual testing alone.

Producing better quality websites is something we all strive to achieve at Creode and by using frameworks which promote good testing practices provides massive benefits for both the development team and our clients.