Rails is a framework for interacting with databases and web servers that 
is programmed in Ruby. When starting a project with Rails, there is a 
lot of functionality built-in so that you don't need to program it from 
scratch.

For instance, many database driven web sites modify records using simple 
Create, Read, Update and Delete (CRUD) operations. If you were starting 
from scratch with Ruby, you would probably use the DBI interface (among 
many alternatives) to connect to a database, prepare a statement handle 
where the SQL is sent to the database, execute the statement handle and 
then fetch the results. None of this is overly difficult but it can be 
tedious. Add in the need for a web site to handle record navigation 
(first record, previous record, next record, last record), validate form 
values and before you know it, a simple database interface can take a 
fair amount of time to get all the details ironed out and working correctly.

Rails simplifies this by providing a scaffold where all this 
functionality is built in and ready to use. If you follow the normal 
convention of how a database accesses are done, Rails makes it simple to 
connect to the database, validate form fields for appropriate values, 
and modify the records accordingly. A programmer can create an 
application with Rails in an hour or two that would take a better part 
of a day (or more) without it. So its not that Rails allows you to do 
things you can't do in Ruby, it makes it far easier and faster to do so.

For web site development and testing, all you would need is a web 
browser to test the output much like in FrontPage. There are times 
though that seeing the final output is not enough to debug what is going 
on and for those instances your would use the Interactive Ruby (IRB) 
tool to step through and test code further. Rails also makes it easier 
to write unit tests to verify that code is working properly.

It sounds like you should sit down with a good book and read a bit to 
get a better understanding of Rails (apologies to all for my 
oversimplified description of Rails and IRB). My recommendation is 
"Agile Web Development with Rails", second edition and if you work 
through the examples in the book you'll be hooked on Rails in no time.

HTH,
Jim

Rae wrote:
> Well I really don't understand what the difference is between Ruby and
> Rails? Could someone explain that to me please? Is there a program that
> you need to see your test programs? For example, in Front page, I can
> preview what my webpage will look like. Is there a program that you can
> use with Ruby (or is it Rails?) to see what your coded page will look
> like?
>
>
>
>