What do you like best?
Some of the first things I liked coming from PHP frameworks were the Ruby language and the "convention over configuration" paradigm. Once you get that into your mindset and with the help of the Ruby on Rails guides and scaffolding tools you will have a solid base structure to focus on building the features that matters. Having tests as a first class citizen also allows you to learn really productive/agile stuffs such as BDD and red/green refactor cycle.
What's even better is that Rails is incorporating new technologies with each new version. For example, web sockets will be included in Rails 5 via ActionCable and Rails 4 included ActiveJob which was something you have to do "manually" before to have support for async jobs.
And something really important when having code in production is the Rails security reports google group that is constantly reporting security issues with patches and/or instructions to mitigate vulnerabilities.
What do you dislike?
There are not too many things I dislike about Rails but despite one of the things I like best are conventions, some of them I don't like too much like concerns.
Perhaps another thing I don't like too much is the level/length of the component stacks but maybe that's something that is improving over time. I mean, for a given point in code execution there is in my opinion a long stack before it. Most of the times those are part of tools/gems you're using but IMHO some things could be a little more flat. Anyways, I'm not a Rails contributor and I have to agree with the tradeoff between productivity and code execution efficiency.
Recommendations to others considering the product
Don't hesitate to start reading the Ruby on Rails guides. They will guide you in the right direction and you'll see the open road very quickly so you start going faster and further without much effort.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
In our agency Iporaitech, we've solved different problems in the past 4-5 years, being the most important the following:
- Web app for a battle of rock bands contest with integration to Soundcloud to play tracks in contest and Facebook to like each track, band and the whole site as well as Facebook polling in that time.
- Web app for presidential voting in Paraguay 2013 allowing users to compare candidates side by side, with information gathered with a Rake created to navigate other websites using Nokogiri and some other tools.
- e-commerce websites with Spree
- Web service API for retail store to be used by client apps running on tablets allowing offline processing and distributed creation of resources based on UUIDs.
- Web service to provide financial reporting of people and companies to clients such as banks.
- Web management system for small/medium sized retail companies.
- In www.tweetandlove4g.com our most recent project we've implemented an idea of an agency company, a web app to convert tweets into MP3 audio tracks getting notes from tweets, in Spanish such do (C), re (D) and so on (don't know how long is going to stay in there). In this project we leverage Rails template and layout system to create a 2 pass algorithm to render staff as partial layout first and then to place the notes in the staff in the view.