Ruby is a popular web development language that was created by David Hanson in 2004, and since then has helped developers improve their productivity without reducing application quality. As of 2021, the market share of Ruby is 4.5% and it is used in about 3 million web applications.
Being an interpreted, object-oriented language, Ruby has become one of the most powerful programming (and general-purpose) languages. Its popularity increased with the introduction of Ruby on Rails, which has subsequently been used as a server-side language for web applications.
While choosing a development language for projects, a company is often biased towards trending or hyped tech. All programming languages come with their pros and cons, and today we’ll review the advantages and disadvantages of Ruby.
And if you’re looking for help selecting the right Ruby development company? Tell us what you need. We will do the work for you to connect with up to 5 companies that match your needs within 72h - all for free!
The developer community is integral for the progression of any technology. Developers share their experiences and work as a team for the growth of the tech.
Being a new language—in comparison to server-side languages like Java, PHP, and Python—Ruby has an agreeable and friendly community. Github is the main hub for Ruby developers and the place to get Ruby snippets, called gems, which are easily integrated into code. The community ensures that the gems are updated regularly and bug-free.
One of the best aspects of Ruby is that when it is combined with Rails, development becomes easier and faster. The Web framework Ruby on Rails allows much faster application creation in comparison with some other tools.
Some of the characteristics of Ruby that support its fast development are:
A lot of time and money can be saved in projects through these quick development features.
In addition to Rails, you will see a lot of third-party libraries as well, which can help you to achieve project goals. Libraries play an important role in development, speeding up the process and allowing more interesting programming.
There are many libraries being maintained and developed using Ruby. It rests under the top 10 list of contributor languages on GitHub repositories, illustrating Ruby and Ruby library popularity.
Ruby comes with its own standards and includes features like DRY, which are not available in PHP or other server-side languages. An application developed with Ruby follows strict guidelines and software design paradigms, like code by convention and active record patterns. Our article on PHP frameworks describes how these features are available after installation, but in Ruby, these are the basic standards and paradigms.
Some advantages of Ruby’s standards:
Since Ruby speeds up the development process, it reduces a lot of hourly developer charges as well as promoting competition. With many Ruby developers in the job market, this competition can reduce project prices. And if you need help finding these companies, just tell us what you need. We will work to connect you with up to 5 companies, who match your needs within 72h, for free!
And if you have any concerns whatsoever about the budget, simply take a look at our article on the Do’s & Don’ts of managing an outsourced Ruby on Rails development team.
Ruby is undoubtedly one of the fastest development languages, but in terms of web application performance, it does not always show the best results. Programming languages like Python and NodeJS are still faster.
In most cases, the performance of Ruby is weighed down by the database connections and is dependent on the expertise of the developer and how efficiently their code is written. These issues can create a bottleneck for Ruby, resulting in latency.
Twitter struggled with Ruby performance and ended up partially replacing it with code in other languages. Ruby was not completely abandoned, but the system was replaced with Scala solutions.
Ruby follows standards and paradigms strictly, which creates difficulties in changing the core codebase. This results in flexibility losses because there are many configured set objects that can not be modified by developers.
This is one of the biggest disadvantages of Ruby, as it doesn’t allow the developers to make required core changes and necessitates a shift to other tech stacks.
Documentation is not always up to date for RubyGems which are heavily involved in application development. While documentation is mostly available for the popular gems, trying lesser-known libraries and gems can mean taking your chances.
The developer suffers in this case, as they have to repeatedly check for the required functionality and waste development time.
Ruby is a good language for application development, but some of its downsides lead companies to use other alternatives. There are many cases for using Ruby such as web scraping, automation, DevOps tools, and command-line media players, where PHP can fail. Of course, the selection of any tech stack depends on the budgetary requirements and the team you work with. We’ve previously covered best practices for hiring Ruby on Rails developers to help ensure you get the best talent possible!
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