Ruby on Rails or Django

Ruby on Rails or Django - Image Credit: Skilledup.com

31Jul
2017

Which is the better framework Ruby on Rails or Django? This is a question that is commonly asked by most of the startup software development companies in Middle East and novice developers. Both want trending software that delivers the best performance at quicker iterations. Let’s look into both the frameworks and compare it in this post. 

Getting to know both frameworks:

Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails (ROR) is a web application development framework which is written in the Ruby language. It was released in 2004 and is open source software. It is created with the aim of making development of web applications simplified. This means that developers can do a lot of great functionalities right off the bat. ROR is an MVC framework that allows efficient ways for building applications at each step of development process. A lot of main components can be generated by ROR instead of typing thousands and thousands of lines of code. In the words of experienced ROR developers, it makes web application development more fun. The Don't Repeat Yourself (DRY) principle of ROR enables programmers reuse code across multiple projects. This makes your code is more maintainable, scalable, and less buggy.

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Some of the popular applications built with ROR are Basecamp, GitHub, Shopify, Airbnb etc.

Related: How to Choose the Right IT Company for your Project

Django

Django

Django

Django is a free and open source web application development framework written in Python. It is also an extremely popular server side application. It was released in 2005 by Django Software Foundation (DSF) which is a non-profitable organization. It was initially developed to accelerate the development of news websites and later it moved to become a general-purpose framework. Django enables rapid development of secure and maintainable websites. It has a lot of contributors who have helped to make the framework robust, As of Jul 20, 2017, there are 1445 contributors to Django on github which is good news to its developers. The Don't Repeat Yourself (DRY) principle of ROR is also present Django which enables its programmers to reuse code across multiple projects.

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The most popular applications that were built using Django are InstagramBitbucketPinterest. 

Since you are introduced to both the frameworks now, let’s move on to the differences in both the frameworks.

Ruby on rails vs Django

The similarities both these languages have is that, 

  • Both are Server side frameworks.
  • Adhere to DRY principle (don’t repeat yourself)
  • Both have community supplied extensions and packages
  • Both makes web application building quicker and easier
  • Both are popular and trusted in the programming world  

Differences:

  1. Language differences:
  • The Ruby on Rails web application development framework is written in Ruby programming language while the Django web application development framework is written in the Python programming language. Ruby language is designed to be flexible and simple for programmers. Python believes that code readability to be the most important feature whereas Ruby believes in giving programmer the freedom and power.  ROR does more work for you by generating files and running magic scripts behind the scenes which you from typing a lot of code. But this can be a drawback in a way too as Ruby magic can make it very hard to track down simple bugs for hours. The reason for this is because you don't fully understand what's exactly happening in the background.
  • Python influenced its code from other programming languages like: C, C++, JAVA, PERL etc. while Ruby has influenced its code from C++, PERL, CLU, PYTHON etc.
  • Python takes a more direct approach to programming. Its main goal is to make everything clear to the programmer with its readable code taking advantage. Python gets big thumbs up when it comes to learning to code and debugging problems.
  • Consolidating the above, Ruby takes advantage of its flexibility of the language while Python takes advantage of its direct and readable code. 
  1. Beginner Friendly:
  • Python scores here with its simple and readable code. Its syntax is easy to understand by a beginner.
  • Meanwhile Ruby also boasts of being beginner friendly, it is not friendly when it comes to debugging the code in case of bug when it comes to beginners. 
  1. Framework Comparison:
  • Both frameworks are open source which is an added advantage to its users. Both of them use the model–view–controller (MVC) architectural pattern to simplify the creation of web applications. These frameworks have also risen in popularity, particularly with start-ups.
  • Ruby on Rails framework lets the programmers take the freedom to focus on major business logic and design instead of fundamentals and syntaxes in the language which makes it more developer friendly.
  • On the contrary, Django focuses on the fundamentals and syntaxes in the language than the major business logic and design. This doesn’t mean that Django isn’t that beginner friendly as it is good for beginners who want to get their grip around the fundamentals of the language. 
  1. Productivity
  • When it comes to productivity, Both Ruby on Rails and Django are good to deliver products at faster iterations. However, RoR magic takes away the cup when compared to Django. Let’s see why,
  • When a ROR developer wants to create a controller, its methods can automatically access variables and inherit methods of other classes. These Variables and classes need not be defined explicitly by the programmer as this gets added automatically by Ruby on Rails along with the routes inside MVC.ROR developers needn’t completely understand how everything works behind the scenes to organize the code.
  • When it comes to programming in Django, the developer should explicitly define variables and import classes as Django focuses on the fundamentals and syntaxes in the language. They must use regular expressions to define routes and URLs. Django developers should completely understand how everything works behind the scenes to organize the code.
  • If you are a novice programmer who wants to know all the fundamentals of how web frameworks work, then go for Django. If you want quick web application deployment and need to deliver the app soon then go for the magic of ROR. 
  1. Performance
  • Both web frameworks of Django and Ruby on Rails are based on interpreted scripting languages. This means both render nearly the same performance. Previous versions of Ruby, like 1.8 or 1.9.x, were talked about for the poor performance rendered.
  • Python is considered slightly slower than Ruby.  There are tons of variables involved in a performance. You can think about hardware, quality of code and scale of the project. The good news is that each new version of programming languages brings performance improvements. According to a survey by benchmarks game, As of January 2017, on average Python is slower than Ruby by 0.7%.
  • At the end of the day, it’s not about language being slow or fast. It’s about how you optimize it to work for your needs. 
  1. Documentation
  • When it comes to documentation, both frameworks are well documented and well organized
  • Django Software Foundation and Rails core team have done a great job to keep the documentation structured, user-friendly and easy to understand.
  • The documentation for Django and Ruby on Rails are available in https://docs.djangoproject.com/ and http://guides.rubyonrails.org/ respectively. These are simple to read and resembles like a book. 
  1. Community:
  • Communities are always the backbone and strength of any open source language. These forums help developers to find the needed code and get help whenever required. The solutions that novice programmers are looking for is always available readily. There are lots of packages developed by the community. The plugins can help to cope with most of the tasks. Strong communities on Stack overflow and GitHub support both frameworks.
  • When it comes to communities, Ruby on Rails has a larger community than Django due to its popularity. Django has been highly criticized for its inactive community support which results in lesser solutions rendered for a problem. Django also has a very little online forums and user groups. So, the answers for Ruby on Rails will be got easily compared to Django. 
  1. Scalability:
  • Even though both frameworks are heavyweight, they both are designed with scaling in mind.

Comparison table

Here’s a table consolidated for you to understand the differences at a glance

Feature

Ruby on Rails

Django

Created on

2008

2005

Language

Ruby

Python

Framework

MVC

MVC

Easy to Learn

Django is easier than ROR

Easy to learn

Market Demand

Higher than Django

Lesser than ROR

Usability

Better than Django

Lesser than ROR

Community

Bigger than Django

Smaller than ROR

 

Conclusion:

Lets wrap it up with some stats. About 165,803 websites in the internet are built using Django whereas 2,064,386 websites are built using Ruby on Rails. This popularity is the reason that top software development prefers Ruby on Rails. Ruby on Rails has better usage coverage in more websites categories which includes Business & Industry, Arts & Entertainment, Internet & Telecom, Shopping and 237 other categories while Django is leading in Automotive News and Educational Resources. With this post, I hope the comparison has given you the insight on which to choose according to your requirement.

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