Ruby on Rails steamrolls into Medical Council

Agile development framework less complex than coding from scratch

The not-for-profit Australian Medical Council (AMC) will migrate most of its internal VB-based systems to the Web with the aid of the open source Ruby on Rails Web application framework, according to developers working on the project.

An independent national standards body for medical education and training, the AMC accredits Australian and New Zealand medical schools, courses and specialist training, and advises state and territory medical boards on registration of medical practitioners.

The AMC joins the small club of local enterprises using Ruby for software development, which combined with the Rails framework is renowned for its ability to deliver software projects rapidly.

AMC IT manager Sean O'Dowd told Computerworld the in-house Windows client/server legacy applications have been around for at least 10 years and have had one to three developers working on them during that time for "quite a lot of person years".

"When I first saw Rails I was impressed at how it tied together the MVC and unit testing and is a best practice framework," O'Dowd said. "I've worked in teams using ColdFusion and, like PHP, there was nothing encouraging programmers towards best practices in the development. With Rails we are encouraged to better manage the quality of our software."

AMC's first Rails application is already online and aims to cut down manual paper work for one process by 80 percent whilst improving the timeliness of our service to customers.

The application is for international medical graduates seeking registration to practise medicine in Australia.

"We have a two-year program where we want to replace in-house legacy systems as they are costing too much to maintain and can't change as fast as the business does," O'Dowd said. "We chose Rails as the technology to replace VB because it was an integrated best practice framework and there was enthusiasm within the team for this change. Rails is a very productive technology for developers with excellent coverage for our business requirements. Rails will do what the AMC requires very well; of course it is not for everyone."

O'Dowd believes Ruby on Rails tends to "do the whole package", whereas with Java and similar languages developers are "bolting on" a lot of different packages.

"Java is a very sophisticated and complex base product to which additional complexity is added to cover MVC, testing, continuous integration, and so on; this complexity is a concern to me," he said.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rodney Gedda

Show Comments

Brand Post

Imou: At home with security

Modern living is all about functionality and security for everybody from the very young to the very old. With Imou anybody can enjoy smart life – the solution is at their fingertips.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?