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Getting Real with Ruby: Understanding the Benefits

A good cloud web host will offer a safe environment for development & still offer scalability & usability for Ruby programming

By Jennifer Marsh
Jennifer Marsh is a software developer, programmer and technology writer and occasionally blogs for
Rackspace Hosting.

Ruby is an advanced language for many programmers, but it’s a powerful language used to make dynamic interfaces on the web. Dynamic web hosting shouldn’t be taken lightly because security holes still exist. A good cloud web host will offer a safe environment for development while still offering scalability and usability for Ruby programming, testing and deployment.

Space for Testing and Development
Web applications can grow to several gigabytes. For newer Ruby developers, it’s helpful to have enough storage space for backups, so a backup can be made to support the deployed code changes. Ruby is an interpreted language, but a bug can still mean a lot of time and resources devoted to discovery and fixing. Instead of emergency code reviews, the developer can restore the old version of the application before troubleshooting bugs.

Support for Database or Hard Drive Restoration
In severe cases, the application corrupts the data stored in the database. A good web host will backup the database and then restore it when the site owner needs it restored. This is especially useful in emergencies when the site gets hacked or data is corrupted due to application changes or hard drive crashes. The web host should support the client, including in cases of restoring database and application backups.

Find Support for Ruby
To run Ruby, the web host must support the framework. Check with the hosting company, and verify the host allows execution of CGI files. A good way to check is to find a host that has FastCGI and specifies that it supports Ruby and Ruby on Rails. Ruby is typically supported by Linux hosts, but some Windows hosts will support Ruby. Ruby is an interpreted language like Java, so it can run on any operating system.

Ask for Shell Access
Ruby configuration can be a bit hairy to configure. If the programmer is familiar with the language, having shell access helps speed up application configuration. Not all hosts will offer shell access, but with extended or advanced service, most hosts will oblige the webmaster. Shell access gives the webmaster more control of the Ruby settings.

The most important part of a web host is customer support an up-time. Most web hosts have a contract with the client that promises a percentage of up-time. This should be around 99%, meaning the website will be up for visitors. Check with the host for contract specifics before purchasing cloud hosting for Ruby.

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