Ruby on Rails vs Node.js – Picking The Right Approach To Web Development
In the late 2004 popular American psychologist, Barry Schwarts came up with a bit counter-intuitive idea, that sometimes having a choice brings much more anxiety and suffering than being left without one. Although his book “The paradox of choice” was mainly about the consumer market, the statement remains true even on the B2B market. The proof is seen when it comes to choosing between Ruby on Rails and Node.js.
The technologies enjoy comparable popularity with Ruby on Rails being a leader. The framework is seen on 1,981% of top 100k sites and 1,279 top million sites while node.js is seen on 1,576% and 0,786% respectively. The share exemplifies in 386,780 websites powered by Ruby on Rails and 117,996 leveraging the Node.js technology.
Interestingly, the Ruby on Rails remains dominant in almost every part of the world except China (6,552 powered by Node.js and 5,505 with Ruby on Rails) and Belarus (1,632 compared with 899 sites).
What is Ruby on Rails?
Ruby on Rails is a framework for Ruby programming language, designed mainly to swift up the code development process and eliminate the bottlenecks of the processes. The framework comes with several important features from the coders’ perspective. The most important is the “Don’t Repeat Yourself” rule, that forces the developer to reuse the components as often as possible, effectively reducing the hidden dependencies within the code and the possibility to ruin something when changes are applied.
Moreover, the framework aims to reduce the amount of required configuration by preparing the environment, that is as much ready-to-go as possible.
The technology is mature with the first stable version released in 2005 and the latest in 2018. It is adopted by various web giants, including Hulu, Shopify, AirBnB and GitHub.
What is Node.js?
The project aims to enable developers to use a single programming language throughout the entire project, tackling the traditional separation of front-end and back-end technologies. It is most commonly used in designing the web applications executed in the real-time, like online games and communication tools.
On the other hand, Ruby without Ruby on Rails web development framework remains a powerful and versatile programming language but is much less convenient to use.
Why compare them?
At first glance, both technologies appear to be similar. Both shine in the development of the online project and are used by web giants. Both have die-hard enthusiasts, ready to fight to the end in the internet battles.
The situation is far from being simple enough to provide a fair answer on which one to choose all the time. Considering that, we prepared this short guide to keep you informed.
Ruby on Rails vs Node.js – User Interface
As many web-based technologies, Ruby on Rails comes with many options to design the interface and deliver the user a more immersive and convenient experience. Yet – tools should be used what are they designed for and Ruby on Rails is not an exception. The language is designed to power the application, so leaving all the UX matters in the virtual hands of Ruby on Rails wouldn’t be the smartest move possible.
Ruby on Rails vs Node.js – Architecture
Ruby on Rails is a framework, thus the developer is provided with many basic concepts, that powers coding with predefined architectural concepts. The convention over configuration approach enables the developer to focus on designing the code, not to tackle the configuration problems. With Ruby being the object-oriented programming, delivering the consistent and stable architecture is relatively easy.
Verdict: Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails vs Node.js – Speed of coding
Ruby on Rails (and Ruby itself) is one of the modern programming languages designed to be easy to use and to leverage all the modern IT tools. Considering that the Ruby on Rails programmers can deliver the code relatively easy and fast.
Verdict: Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails web development wins in terms of delivering the solution faster. In the end – it was designed to run all the backend work, not forced to do it by the runtime environment.
Ruby on Rails vs Node.js – Performance
Node.js comes with Google-designed V8 engine and it really deserves its automotive-related name. It’s damn fast and its ability to write a high-speed asynchronous code is praised by many web developers. It shines especially in IO heavy operations.
Ruby on Rails is not fully supporting the asynchronous code and concurrency is much harder to achieve and requires more experience from developer. Thus, the performance of Ruby on Rails is visibly lower than in Node.js, although it may still shine in some CPU heavier scenarios.
Various benchmarks show that the performance of Node.js can be up to 20 times greater than the one provided by Ruby on Rails.
Ruby on Rails vs Node.js – Community, and support
Despite that, Ruby on Rails is incomparably more popular with 386,780 webpages powered compared to 117,996 supported by Node.js.
The bigger the popularity of the technology, the more support the user can find. So considering the raw numbers, it is much more possible that someone encountered and solved the Ruby on Rails problem, than Node.js-related one. In the same manner, finding the outstanding Ruby on Rails developer is much easier than when it comes to Node.js.
Verdict: Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails vs Node.js – Stability
When the technology is backed and used by internet giants, serious problems with stability aren’t usually the case. Both technologies are used by heavyweight internet (and not only!) players and come with numerous users around the web.
Verdict: Ruby on Rails
The stability is not a case in this context – both technologies are stable and can be trusted. The difference is in modules and extensions, where Ruby on Rails dominates the clash.
Ruby on Rails vs Node.js – Documentation
Both projects provide solid documentation on core components. The rest varies depending on the effort put by the team delivering the component. Considering the less strict approach to programming seen in Node.js, the add-ons may come in a less trustworthy quality than in Ruby on Rails.
Considering that, there is no clear way to point the better one.
Ruby on Rails vs Node.js – The maturity of the platform
Both technologies provide stable versions and are developed in regular releases. There are many companies relying on these technologies and looking for ways to leverage them in their projects.
Finally, both technologies can be easily used alongside and integrated with other popular solutions.
Summary: beware the mumbo-jumbo
With both technologies being powerful, flexible and mature, it is challenging to pick the winner. It rather depends on the type of web product you want to create.
When to use Node.js?
- When there will be a MASSIVE number of requests – Node.js is visibly better performing than Ruby on Rails, so every app that is going to be heavy on requests to the process can benefit from choosing the Node.js over the Ruby on Rails.
When to use Ruby on Rails?
- When the project is heavy on databases – Ruby on Rails shines when it comes to database management and operations on data. The ability to perform requests with the Ruby on Rails code instead of integrating the SQL code comes with numerous advantages and the swiftness of the process is just one of them.
- When the clarity is a must – Ruby on Rails comes with numerous best practices and guidelines to follow when developing the project. When combined with the good and clear documentation, the code becomes easy to read, manage and develop by a large, distributed team.
- When there is a need for rapid delivery – the framework itself comes with all the technologies the web app would need to be launched – the web server, the database, etc. Thus, there is no need for the integration and configuration or looking for the best match. This saves a lot of time and effort and the development team can just sit and start to code.
Whatever the project you have to deliver, picking the right tool is the first step to victory. The hardest part of it can be ignoring the fashions and marketing mumbo-jumbo pointing one or other technology as a one-size-fits-them-all and the perfect remedy for all the issues.
And if you decide to go with Ruby – drop us a line! Ideamotive is a Ruby on Rails development company delivering tailor-made web solutions for businesses of all sizes. You can schedule a free consulting session with us here.