David Heinemeier Hansson breaks down the cost of the operations at Basecamp with a spotlight on the cost of running a Ruby on Rails product.

Working with Ruby and Rails is a luxury, yes. Not every company pay their developers as well as we do at Basecamp, so maybe the rates would look a little different there. Maybe some companies are far more compute intensive to run their apps. But for most SaaS companies, they’re in exactly the same ballpark as we are. The slice of the total operations budget spent running the programming language and web framework that powers the app is a small minority of the overall cost.

Only 15% of the Basecamp operations budget is spent on Ruby

For years I’ve heard arguments that Ruby on Rails is too expensive to run, but I’ve never seen costs for anything as big as this. And to be honest, I was surprised that this was all it was.

Sure, every SAAS product is different in what it does, how it’s built and how it’s run. But, the fact is that Ruby on Rails is an ideal web framework for most SAAS products and has been for years.

I’ve watched the JavaScript hype train trundle on now for a couple of years and I can’t see any clear advantage of it over Ruby on Rails or any other non-JavaScript framework for that fact. And I think developers are starting to realise this.

Given the choice between Rails and any other framework for an application, I will keep going with Rails. It doesn’t have the big hype around it that it did ten years ago, but it’s still proving to be a developer-friendly and therefore business-friendly framework to build your SAAS product with.