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Frank Sinatra was an outstanding American actor and singer whose work is still admired today. He is considered by many people to be an icon of the 1940s and 1950s. The artist has made a big mark in pop culture, but not everyone knows that his name also appears in the IT world. What is the term Sinatra and what does it have to do with Ruby language? I will try to answer these questions in the following text.

Table of Contents:

1. Sinatra as a full stack web development framework.

2. Definition of Sinatra.

3. The advantages of using Sinatra.

3.1. Lightweight as a main pro.

3.2. Minimal effort in coding.

4. The disadvantages of using Sinatra.

4.1. Difficulties with scaling.

4.2. A limited toolset framework.

5. Similarities and differences between Sinatra and Rails.

6. What you should know when building a Sinatra application?

6.1. Specify your own expectations for your Sinatra application.

6.2. Create a folder for your project.

6.3. It's time for the config folder and environment file.

6.4. Put the gems into the Gemfile.

6.5.  Don't forget about config.ru

6.6. Take care of the application controller.

6.7. Create Rakefile.

6.8. Insert your models.

6.9. Create a database folder and run migrations.

6.10. Add controllers, routes, and views.

Sinatra as a full stack web development framework

First, let's talk about what web frameworks are before I discuss Sinatra. According to Sinatra, it is this group that it belongs to. A web framework is a software structure that is designed to support the rapid development of web applications, web resources and web APIs. Web framework is a software library that allows developers to create software on the web. There are different languages and methodologies that can be used to develop apps. In the case of Sinatra, we are dealing with a full stack web development framework to support development in the areas of front-end user interface, back-end logic and database communication.

Definition of Sinatra

Sinatra is a simple web framework developed in Ruby programming language. It was created in 2007 on behalf of Blake Mizerany and was written for Ruby. The name refers to the aforementioned author of such songs as "Fly me to the moon" and "Strangers in the night". Sinatra is recognized by developers as a DSL (Domain Specific Language). With Ruby and web APIs, it makes working on projects simple by harnessing the power of Ruby programming. Sinatra is often referred to as a microframework, and that's because it's programmed to provide developers quickly creating web applications.

sinatra applications

The advantages of using Sinatra

Lightweight as a main pro

Writing web applications in Ruby using Sinatra comes with many advantages. First of all, lightweight. This one of the Ruby frameworks features only the necessary components for app development. In comparison with Rails, Sinatra doesn't have as many actions, which makes it an ideal choice for small projects. Sinatra applications are lightweight and less complex, which translates into loading times. For small apps, there is no better choice than this Ruby framework.

Minimal effort in coding

Another advantage of Sinatra is web application development with a single file. Because of that, many developers consider it the best way to learn how to build applications in Ruby. Working on the Sinatra app was a good background for many of them before other frameworks. In addition, connecting to the Ruby API via Sinatra requires only a bit of code and is extremely easy.

The disadvantages of using Sinatra

Difficulties with scaling

Despite the advantages mentioned earlier, using Sinatra for web application development can have its weaknesses. One problem is the difficulty of scaling. Because of the minimalism that characterizes Sinatra, its users should be very knowledgeable about the libraries and modules that are useful to use. Without this necessary background, scaling can pose considerable problems.

A limited toolset framework

Although the lightweight nature of Sinatra is considered an advantage, it brings up some limitations in the context of the available tools. Fortunately, the development of Rails over the past few years not only provides considerable code resources, but also libraries developed by the community of this software language.

require sinatra

Similarities and differences between Sinatra and Rails

Putting Sinatra and Rails together, it is possible to see how many characteristics they have in common. The first most obvious link is the use of the Ruby language. In addition, they use Rack - middleware that provides a properly equipped Ruby based user interface. When it comes to differences, the characteristic feature is weight. Sinatra is lightweight due to a limited number of features making it ideal for developing smaller applications. Ruby on Rails, on the other hand, due to its large code resources, will be perfect for large projects.

What you should know when building a Sinatra application?

Taking up the development of Sinatra application requires following a few steps that are able to significantly facilitate the work.

1. Specify your own expectations for your Sinatra application

The beginnings are the most difficult. Therefore, at this stage what matters is not how the code of the application will look like, but the very idea of the application and its purpose.

2. Create a folder for your project

Once the details of the project vision are set, it is the right time to create the project folder and subfolders. It is also the right time for a Gemfile file to be created.

3. It's time for the config folder and environment file

This is a very important step in the context of the creation of the Sinatra application. Creating the file will allow you to join the database. The folder, on the other hand, will be used to establish a connection to the other files.

4. Put the gems into the Gemfile

Although the posting of gems can be done at a later stage, the important thing is to add any gem that is necessary. All this is done to ensure that the entire process of Sinatra application development goes smoothly.

5. Don't forget about config.ru

The config.ru file is a very important part of the application you are developing. This is where your environment should be loaded. Also here is the place for your application controllers.

6. Take care of the application controller

The presence of an application controller is very important. Therefore, when enabling each session, it is a good idea to make sure that other controllers inherit from the app controller.

7. Create Rakefile

Rakefile is responsible for defining tasks and activities. This is where the necessary model and database tests can be performed. Rakelife directly connects to the application ecosystem.

8. Insert your models

Now it's time to add the necessary application models. They will help you further work with the database and provide the necessary functionality of the Sinatra app.

9. Create a database folder and run migrations

When we decide to use ActiveRecord, the 'db/migrate' folder will be the place where all migration files will take place. Therefore, its presence in the application structure is even essential.

10. Add controllers, routes, and views

This is the final stage in the development of the Sinatra-based application. Once you have completed all these steps, you will be able to enjoy the functionality of your project.

As you can see, creating applications using Sinatra can be extremely convenient. Also at Railwaymen we use this Ruby framework to develop smaller applications. If you are interested in our technology stack or want to see what the individual results of working on each tool are, then visit our Case Study.