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William Dawson

Full Stack Developer

In this post, we will discuss Ruby vs Python comparison for web development and see their points of similarities, differences, why they are good for web development, and what the future holds for them.

Two of the most popular programming languages- Ruby and Python. Both languages possess different philosophies, came around the mid-90s to address various needs in the programming community. They’re both flexible, object-oriented languages, dynamic, and have a lot of different functionalities, required to empower web development.

Both frameworks provide views, controllers, and models to power your web application and an API that offers endpoints to address your needs.

When you are planning your new web development project this 2020, choose a framework that can provide every tool you need. And both Ruby and Python seem to be the perfect answer to these specific web development needs.

However, Django which uses the python language is rapidly growing in terms of popularity in comparison to Ruby on Rails. Let’s understand both Ruby and Python to find out the best one for web development.

Ruby

Ruby

Ruby was created by Yukihiro Matsumoto and released in 1995. It is a dynamic, open-source programming language with a focus on simplicity and productivity. It has an elegant syntax that is natural to read and easy to write.

Reasons to choose Ruby for web app development

Ruby is one of the most popular development languages which most IT professionals prefer for developing highly interactive application due to the following reasons:

1. Less coding: Ruby works on the concept of less coding and more functionality. Some of the primary principles of ROR include Create, Read, Update, Delete (CRUD), convention over configuration (COC), and KISAP (keep it simple as possible).

2. Quick to embrace new things: The programming process is much faster than other languages and frameworks. It is suitable for RAD (Rapid Application Development) as it accommodates changes seamlessly and faster.

3. Based on agile development principles: The task is divided into small parts so that each task can be executed quickly.

4. Easy testing environment: Ruby integrates a reliable testing framework, automated coding reduces testing time.

5. Free to use: Ruby is an open-source programming language, which means it’s available free of cost. It is an ideal language for start-ups, and simple coding makes it one of the best options available for developers.

Python

Python is an interpreted, object-oriented, high-level programming language with dynamic semantics. Its high-level built-in data structures, combined with dynamic typing and dynamic binding, make it very attractive for Rapid Application Development, as well as for use as a scripting or glue language to connect existing components together.

Python’s simple, easy to learn syntax emphasizes readability and therefore reduces the cost of program maintenance. Python supports modules and packages, which encourages program modularity and code reuse. The Python interpreter and the extensive standard library are available in source or binary form without charge for all major platforms and can be freely distributed.

Programmers love Python because of the increased productivity it provides, no compilation step, and the edit-test-debug cycle is incredibly faster.

Debugging Python programs is easy: a bug or bad input will never cause a segmentation fault. Instead, when the interpreter discovers an error, it raises an exception.

When the program doesn’t catch the exception, the interpreter prints a stack trace. A source-level debugger allows inspection of local and global variables, evaluation of arbitrary expressions, setting breakpoints, stepping through the code a line at a time, and so on.

The debugger is written in Python itself, testifying to Python’s introspective power. On the other hand, often the quickest way to debug a program is to add a few print statements to the source- the fast edit-test-debug cycle makes this simple approach very effective.

Reasons to choose Python for web application development

Python’s popularity is influenced by the countless benefits that it offers, including elegance and simplicity. No doubt, it is one of the best programming languages used worldwide in a simple to complex web application development projects.

It has been widely accepted across different domains, including healthcare, finance, travel, transportation, etc. The following are the main reasons why Python is popular among developers for web development:

1. Easy to use and read: Python is easy to use and understand because it is similar to the English language that we use in our everyday life. It integrates simple syntax, and every element has a concise and transparent relationship with each other.

2. Use in Multiple Spheres: Usability, including web development, academia, machine learning, data analysis, and scientific programming as Python, has highly efficient packages and tools for visualization outputs. 

3. Asynchronous coding: Writing and maintaining asynchronous coding using Python saves time as no deadlocks or other concerns exist.

4. Enterprise application integration: Python is undoubtedly the first choice for enterprise application integration as it integrates seamlessly with other highly used programming languages such as Java, .NET, PHP, etc. 

5. Server-side scripting: Simple syntax accelerates the application development process, and the credit goes to the server-side scripting attributes of Python.

6. Portability and interactivity: Python can be easily embedded in a wide range of applications, even if they use different programming languages. It is easy to fix modules and extend the Python core vocabulary and connect diverse elements.

Ruby Vs Python

Ruby Vs Python

Python and Ruby are the best new-generation high-level languages that focus on simplicity and providing the developers ease of doing things faster ( rather than strict hierarchy and syntax correctness).

Ruby is a dynamic, open-source, object-oriented programming language that runs on all types of operating systems (Windows, UNIX, and Macintosh). Whereas, Python is a powerful, simple, easy to learn, high-level, object-oriented programming language ( also an interpreted scripting language).

Though both programming languages are quite similar, they differ in terms of language, flexibility, web frameworks, and a few other factors.

1. Language

Ruby is a flexible, easy to code language for web developers, where they can practice numerous tricks hassle-free for developing web apps. On the other hand, Python integrates a more direct approach where everything is precisely visible to the web developer.

2. Flexibility & Popularity

Ruby offers multiple ways to accomplish a task, which sometimes accelerates the complexity levels. Python works on preferably only one obvious way to do a task. Though Python’s code is not flexible, it is more readable to even the amateur programmers.

When it comes to popularity, Python is more popular by being the 3rd most used language for web development.

3. Testing & Troubleshooting

Testing the code is a must followed and the most crucial step during the development process. Both Ruby and Python possess capable toolsets for effective testing and troubleshooting.

4. Web Frameworks

Both Ruby and Python help you build responsive web applications, they deliver similar performance. Both languages are based on the MVC framework and provide traditional models, controllers, views, and database migrations. 

5. Reusable Code

Reusable codes in Ruby are known as “Gems” whereas, in Python, they are called “Modules”.

In Python, the modules are available through PyPI, and the user can search for more than 1,50,000 modules. In Ruby, the users can search around 1,50,000 gems.

6. Usage

Both Ruby and Python are popular for web development. Ruby’s prowess can be seen on popular websites like- Apple, Airbnb, Groupon, Shopify, Twitter, and Github.

On the other hand, Python websites include Instagram, Google, Mozilla Firefox, Pinterest, Washington Post, and National Geographic.

7. Performance

While choosing a programming language for your next web application project, performance must not be a deciding factor as the initial objective of the coding is to solve the proposed problem. If you decide on selecting an open-source programming language, the possibilities are that an optimized library must already exist for achieving the intended goal.

8. Learning curve

 Python is hands-down easier & quicker to learn. The syntax is simple to understand, and more readable to the beginner. Ruby might take more time to get used to, but Ruby on Rails has built-in features—like scaffolding and Active Record, to accelerate your development. As soon as you know them, you’ll be able to build a CRUD application with API access in a matter of few minutes.

Main Similarities

First the similarities.- Both are high-level, object-oriented languages. Both provide an interactive shell, standard libraries, multiplatform support across Linux, Unix, Windows, and other operating systems, as well as persistence support.

They are both excellent for web development, more so when you take advantage of each language’s purpose-built web frameworks – Django for Python and Rails for Ruby.

The similarities between the Ruby and the Python are as follows:

  1. They both are high-level, server-side, scripting languages.
  2. Both works on an interactive prompt, named IRB.
  3. They both integrate embedded doc tools.
  4. Ruby and Python are supported by Emacs modes.
  5. Both languages integrate GNU Debugger.
  6. Both work on multiple platforms.
  7. In both platforms, objects are typed using a dynamic and robust approach.
  8. Both the languages are written in a clean syntax
  9. Ruby and Python are highly readable.

Python or Ruby for the next web development project?

Python Vs Ruby

Python, a flexible programming language that is easy to understand, easy to scale, and highly readable across multiple platforms, allows developing simple and clear applications right from small-scale projects to complex applications.

It is considered an ideal choice for beginners in development to start with, as well as start-ups as it reduces development risks. Also, if you want to use a language that’s widely applicable and proficient with managing the data analytics, then again Python is an ideal option.

Henceforth, we can say that Python is best choice for web development.

What does the future hold for Ruby or Python?

Both Ruby and Python have strong future prospects in application development capability. They are definite improvements from the .NET and JAVA frameworks as they speed up the whole application development process.

Moreover, they offer clear design and abstraction attributes, which makes them future-ready application development platforms. To sum up, since Python doesn’t only rely upon web development, it infers better longevity than Ruby.

Ruby Vs Python- At a Glance

RubyPython
Developed ByCreated in 1995 by Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto.
Created in 1991 by Guido Van Rossum.

LibrariesSmaller range of library than PythonLarger range of libraries.
Web FrameworksRuby on RailsDjango
IDEsSupported by EclipseIDESupported by multiple IDEs.
FunctionsNo Yes
Anonymous FunctionsIt supports blocks, procs, and lambdas.
Supports only lambdas.
Switch/ Case statementSupportedNot supported
Lambda FunctionsIt supports larger lambda functions.Supports single line lambda function only.

InheritanceSupports single InheritanceSupports multiple Inheritance
Built-in classesCannot be modifiedCan be modified
UsageApple, GitHub, Shopify, Groupon, Airbnb, and, Twitter etc.
Instagram, Pinterest, Google, Mozilla Firefox, Washington Post, and National Geographic, etc.
Pros1. Tons of features for web development.
2. Quick to embrace new things
Very easy to learn, diverse community with big ties to Linux and academia.
ConsCan be very hard to debug at times

Often very explicit and inelegant to read

In Conclusion

After doing this Ruby Vs Python comparison, one thing is clear that both are equally capable, which language is better for your project, that is the main deciding factor ultimately. In fact, many of the changes and new features in Python are first tested in Ruby.

If you are looking at only building web applications, then consider Ruby on Rails. On the other hand, if you are interested in building web applications but would like to also learn a language that’s widely applicable and proficient with handling data analytics than Python is the best bet.

Also, when looking to add more features to your web application, like machine learning or other areas, Python is a perfect choice as it has libraries that support other fields.

Ruby focuses on giving developers the freedom to do whatever they want and staying out of their way, whereas Python developers are somewhat conservative and value stability over change. (developments and new features are slowly added)

Both Ruby and Python are fast and simple programming languages. For projects that include a lot of data computing, processing, and analytics, Python is probably the best option. However, Ruby suits projects that are traffic-heavy and involves rapid prototyping.


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Is Ruby Worth Learning in 2020

Yes, the ecosystem is one of the richest out there, especially for web development.
There are very few things you can’t do with the ruby standard library and the vast collection of published gems that are already in use.

Which is Better, Ruby, or Python?

Python is faster than Ruby, but they’re both in a category of interpreted languages. Your fastest language is always going to be one that’s compiled down to byte code or object code right on the computer. Both Ruby and Python exist a level above that, they’re abstracted.

Does Google Use Python?

Python is recognized as an official language at Google, it is one of the key languages at Google today, alongside with C++ and Java.
Some of the key Python contributors are Googlers and they continue to use, promote, and support the language actively.

Can Python Replace Java?

TIOBE predicts Python will replace Java as a top programming language.  Java still holds the top spot while C is in second place.
According to TIOBE, if Python keeps this pace up it could replace both Java and C in three to four years.

Is Python the Future?

Over a span of 25 years, Python has reached a level that is high above others making it the fastest-growing language.
Also, it has a promising future along with the addition of other technology. There is no doubt that it has become quite a favorite in the software industry.

Why is Ruby Used?

Ruby is used for building web applications. However, it is a general-purpose language similar to Python, so it has many other applications like data analysis, prototyping, and proof of concepts.
Probably the most obvious implementation of Ruby is Rails web, the development framework built with Ruby.

What is more Popular, Ruby, or Python?

Ruby is mostly used combined with Ruby on Rails, the equivalent to Django for Python. When comparing Ruby on Rails vs Django, Ruby wins in demand and stands almost as equal in popularity.
As we branch out of web development into other computer science areas, Python beats Ruby by a large margin.

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About The Author

William is a CTO and a full-stack engineer with 10 years of experience. He has spent the past seven years doing web and mobile apps. He’s good at designing architecture and implementing agile development process. The technologies he’s worked with include: Node.js, Elixir, Rails, AngularJS, React, React Native, Objective-C, iOS, Java, Android. He’s also familiar with C++, Haskell, C#/.NET. He is an enthusiastic programmer and a great guy to know

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