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Ruby on Rails vs JavaScript: Which To Choose For Web Development?

Jun 16, 20216 min read

Dawid Karczewski

Senior full stack developer and CTO at Ideamotive.

Ruby on Rails vs JavaScript

Ruby on Rails and JavaScript are often used within one tech stack and serve different purposes. Their tandem holds unlimited potentials and in this article, we want to show you how two opposites can be put in one place to broaden your horizons and enable you to look from another perspective at the back-end framework Ruby on Rails and front-end development language JavaScript.

 

Disclaimer: RoR is generally used for backend and JavaScript for frontend development. We want to dive deeper into the peculiarities of these two technologies because they are often used within one tech stack. It is important to notice that in this article we would address RoR and JavaScript as complementary technologies, not alternatives.

 

On our blog you can find the comparison of well-known technologies that may be useful for every developer: PHP vs Ruby on Rails, Ruby on Rails vs C#, Ruby on Rails vs Django, and many others. In this article, we would discover the interesting features of Ruby on Rails and JavaScript, and what these technologies are used for.

What is Ruby on Rails?

Ruby on Rails is a framework used for web application development and what’s notable is that it’s written in Ruby language. Firstly released in 2004 by David Heinemeier Hansson, the framework became popular and successful in 2006 when Apple shipped it with Mac OS X “Leopard”. 

 

Developers enjoy working with this framework for the high speed of app development it provides. It possesses many innovative features, including seamless database table creations, migrations, and scaffolding of views. With Ruby on Rails, it will be possible to take advantage of CoC (convention over configuration), DRY (don't repeat yourself), and the active record pattern. If you wonder about the future possibilities of this framework read our guide on Ruby on Rails for more compelling data! 

What is JavaScript? 

The programming language JavaScript is considered to be one of the fundamental technologies of WWW. It represents a paramount aspect of web applications that are used for client-side pages. Moreover, plenty of web browsers have a dedicated JavaScript engine for its execution. JavaScript appeared 25 years ago, and its founding father is Brendan Eich. Since that time, the language has been gaining popularity in the web development realm. 

 

Why do people use JavaScript so often, and its name is well-known worldwide to everyone who is a bit into technologies? That’s because of its functionality and high-performance qualities, including curly-bracket syntax, dynamic typing, prototype-based object-orientation, and first-class functions. 

 

As the frontend development tool, JavaScript works as HTML and CSS, but as the backend, it is replaced by Node.js.We need to focus on the Node.js language that has a JavaScript engine and is very often compared with Ruby on Rails because of similar features of these two backend web giants. Follow the link to discover extensive language comparison to better understand which tool is better to choose. 

Why Are They Compared?

Web development is on the rise nowadays since every domain of human life is backed up by technologies. Just imagine: there are about 200 million active websites on the Internet, and their number is growing rapidly. Both tools are widely used in web development, but the question is whether Ruby on Rails vs JavaScript will meet all your demands. 

 

Consider the TL;DR table for a brief overview of Ruby on Rails and JavaScript development tools that will enable you to make the right choice without much time and effort. 

 

Ruby on Rails vs JavaScript

Speed of Coding

The development tools are widely used in the programming world, however, we should remember that modern framework RoR is used for the backend while well-known classic language JavaScript - for frontend development.

 

Ruby on Rails finds its application in many modern IT tools due to its high speed and ease of code delivery. It has rich libraries that significantly facilitate the development process. The programmer can solve the problem, arising in a process in a way they consider the most appropriate. 

 

JavaScript coders face many challenges caused by additional functionality of the language that includes event queues, syntax, operators, and HTTP requests. It has asynchronous nature enabling the execution of all of the code simultaneously. Very often, there is no straightforward way to solve a problem, so a programmer has to meet the goal by making plenty of attempts.

Performance

The performance of the language or framework plays a crucial role in project success. 

 

JavaScript is used both on the client and server-side and is an event-driven and single-threaded model. JavaScript is perfect for developing low-latency applications as you do not need to wait for the completion of functions.

Ruby on Rails doesn’t fully support asynchronous code and has a slow CPU processing time. Moreover, the developer should be well-experienced to achieve concurrency. The framework is fully interpreted at runtime that makes RoR a weaker tool in comparison to JS. 

Documentation

You may get acquainted with Ruby on Rails documentation and see the variety of useful features it suggests for a developer, so follow the link to find more. JavaScript documentation is highly sophisticated as well and requires the experience of a developer to master the language. 

 

We can say that both tools may be used by both novice and experienced developers. However, if a person is not well-experienced, they will need more time and effort to master the language or framework.

Popularity 

In order to see the whole picture, we need to provide you with some information about the popularity of both tools. For a clear understanding of popular trends, it’d be great to resort to Google Trends. It shows the undisputable prevalence of JavaScript over Ruby on Rails. Users’ interest in JS lowered during the last year, but RoR’s positions are unchangeably low.  

 

Ruby on Rails vs JavaScript

 

Let’s check the data from StackOverflow to find which of the technologies is the most beloved by developers. According to the statistics, Javascript is used by 58.3% of developers, and 18.5% of the respondents expressed their desire to work with this language in the future. Now let’s turn to Ruby and Rails to see how many people like it and are interested in it. It comes out that 42.9% are currently working with the tool, and only 4.5% plan to develop using RoR. 

 

Thus, we may see that programmers widely use JavaScript for their projects, but you should consider other data to make the right decision.  

Community

Every language and framework needs to possess a community of professionals who can help each other and novice developers as well as improve the technology. In order to properly measure the community around technology, it’d be better to go to GitHub and see the number of contributors and commits for each tool. Ruby on Rails has 4,200 contributors and 79,753 commits. JavaScript is the most popular language on GitHub according to 21% of pool requests, while Ruby is only 1,7%.

 

Ruby and Rails vs JavaScript community

 

We can say that they both have strong vibrant communities, however, JavaScript has more professionals working with the language. 

Talent Pool 

Developers of both tools are highly appreciated and rewarded through the technology world. If we take a look at the salaries of developers working with JS and RoR, it’s clear that the average amount of money earned by the first is about 10,000$ higher than the latter. 

 

Ruby on Rails and JavaScript Developer Salaries

 

 

Stack Overflow Developer Survey suggests that 18,5% of developers would like to start working with JS if compared to 4,5% interested in Ruby. Consequently, a person developing with the help of JavaScript has more perspectives and chances to get a higher salary.

Easiness to Learn

JavaScript is more difficult to learn for beginners than Ruby on Rails because the latter is the most appropriate framework for beginners that allows you to overcome difficulties and makes mistakes less likely. JS requires from a novice developer considerable background knowledge and skills to master the language.

Security

Security is essential for successful web development that’s why you should consider that RoR is more secure than JavaScript. It’s an open-source framework with built-in tools for fending off many threats. JavaScript is subject to security risks, especially on the client side. But remember that you should always be ready for some forms of attacks regardless of the tool you are working with, so care about precaution measures.

Cost of Development

The price of development always doesn’t matter if your web project building is run by top professionals who are good at what they do. If we compare these two technologies in terms of cost-effectiveness, we can say that they are both a bit expensive. RoR requires technical resources and skilled professionals, while JavaScript is an ECMAScript implementation that presupposes high-skilled professionals. 

Main Pros and Cons of Both Technologies

Any development technology has its pluses and minuses that can become detrimental for a particular choice. We want to outline Ruby vs JavaScript main aspects to facilitate your contemplations on which of them is more appropriate to you. So take a look at the advantageous and disadvantageous features of both tools.

pros and cons of Ruby on Rails and JavaScript


When to Use Ruby on Rails 

Based on Ruby programming language, the full-stack framework Ruby on Rails is widely used by both start-up and reputable companies for its structure that splits codes of diverse functions. Millions of websites use Ruby on Rails, let’s outline their main types:

E-commerce Websites

RoR possesses many features useful for online retailers who need high-quality web development with an array of tools for security and accounting. 

Companies: Shopify, Groupon

Complex Software Development 

RoR Convention over Configuration approach for web development allows work with classic programming conventions that facilitates the process and reduces the number of errors. 

Companies: GitHub, Zendesk

Entertainment Platforms

This business's rapid development and demand require speedy coding of high-quality, and RoR is a perfect choice for this task. The framework attracts companies for the availability of microservices and internal security applications. 

Companies: Netflix, Hulu

When to Use JavaScript 

Developers can take advantage of a full range of language applications due to its special feature to function as both frontend and backend development tools. Let’s take a look at areas of its application:

Web Applications

React which is the open-source front-end JavaScript library is often used for building websites and various UI components.

Companies: Netflix, Paypal

Games

Developers take advantage of JavaScript and HTML5 that allows them to easily create games on the web. JavaScript’s Easel library possesses rich graphics that are vital for a high-quality game. 

Companies: Minecraft, HexGL

Mobile Applications

JavaScript codes in mobile apps for smartphones enable the developers to operate the basic client-side functions. Many choose the language for its rich frontend platform and offline support. 

Companies: Tinder, QRReader, Google Earth, Uber

Bottom line

We hope that this article has helped you to better understand the particularities of both technologies. While using Ruby on Rails for backend and JavaScript for frontend development you can build stable and well-performing software.

 

Considering the fact that Ruby on Rails offers some in-built JavaScript tools such as Hotwire and Turbolinks and supports the 'unobtrusive JavaScript' approach, the tandem of these technologies holds unlimited potential.

 

We are always ready to answer all your questions concerning your product. Feel free to book a consultation with the IdeaMotive team if you need to hire Ruby on Rails or JavaScript web developers.

Dawid Karczewski

Dawid is a full stack developer experienced in creating Ruby on Rails and React Native apps from naught to implementation. Technological superhero, delivering amazing solutions for our clients and helping them grow.

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