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Ruby vs. JavaScript: What’s the Difference, and Which Is Better?

Ruby vs. JavaScript

Ruby vs. JavaScript: What’s the Difference, and Which Is Better?

If you’re a web developer or someone interested in coding, you’ve likely heard about Ruby and JavaScript and probably come across the Ruby vs. JavaScript hot topic. Both programming languages have arguably taken the web development world by storm in recent years, but which one should you choose? With Ruby’s ease of use and JavaScript’s versatility, it’s pretty hard to say.

That’s why we’ve decided to pit Ruby against JavaScript to see what exactly sets them apart as well as the pros and cons of both. By the end of this article, you’ll know the ins and outs of both languages and be able to make an educated choice about which one is right for you.

Ruby vs JavaScript: Side-by-Side Comparison

FeatureRubyJavaScript
Developed ByYukihiro Matsumoto in 1995Brendan Eich in 1995
Functionality (Main)Server-side development, web frameworksClient-side development, web frameworks
Type SystemDynamically typedLoosely typed
ParadigmPure OOPMulti-paradigm
SyntaxNatural language-likeSlightly complex, but consistent
PlatformPlatform-independentPrimarily web browsers and Node.js environments
Popular FrameworksRuby on Rails, Sinatra, HanamiReact, Angular, Vue.js
TIOBE Index#18#7
Latest VersionRuby 3.2.1ECMAScript 2022 (ES2022)
Ruby is a purely OOP language that is used for backend web development.

Ruby vs. JavaScript: What’s the Difference?

Functionality

At a high level, Ruby and JavaScript are both programming languages used to create websites and web applications. However, they have different functionalities. 

Ruby is a general-purpose scripting language that is primarily used for backend development. It is ideal for creating server-side applications, as it provides an easy-to-use syntax and an extensive collection of libraries and frameworks. Ruby on Rails, for instance, is a popular Ruby framework that allows developers to build dynamic web applications quickly and easily.

JavaScript, meanwhile, is great for creating interactive user interfaces on the client side of web applications (although it can also be used for backend development using Node.js). Ruby and JavaScript would therefore complement each other if used together. While Ruby would power the server side of the web app, JavaScript would handle the client side. 

Type System

Ruby and JavaScript have different type systems that affect how they handle variables and data types. Ruby, pretty much like Python, is a dynamically typed language, meaning that variables do not have a predetermined data type. 

This makes it easier for developers to write code as they can use variables without having to declare their data type. Ruby automatically assigns a data type to a variable at runtime based on its value, which allows for more flexibility and faster development.

On the other hand, JavaScript is a loosely typed language, meaning that variables can change data types during runtime. This can lead to unexpected errors in code, especially in large projects with multiple developers. 

In JavaScript, the type of a variable is determined by its value, and as a result, it can change at any point during the program’s execution.

Although both languages have different type systems, they both have their advantages and disadvantages. Ruby’s dynamically typed nature allows for faster development and more flexibility, but it can lead to unexpected errors if not careful. 

In contrast, JavaScript’s loosely typed nature can be useful in some situations, but it can also lead to bugs that are difficult to find.

Paradigm and OOP Support

Ruby is a pure object-oriented scripting language, which means that everything in Ruby is an object, even the most basic data types like integers and strings. Its code is organized into objects that interact with each other. This structure allows for more modular and reusable code, making it easier to maintain and update over time.

JavaScript, on the other hand, is a multi-paradigm scripting language supporting multiple programming paradigms such as procedural or functional programming as well as dynamic programming.

But while JavaScript supports OOP concepts through its prototype-based model, it is not a pure object-oriented language. JavaScript has some non-object primitives, such as strings and numbers, which can make it harder to organize and maintain code.

Generally, Ruby’s pure object-oriented nature renders it useful where code reusability is a concern, while JavaScript’s multi-paradigm approach allows developers to write code in various styles and paradigms.

Syntax

Both languages have their unique syntaxes which can take some getting used to if you’re new to either one. However, Ruby uses a more intuitive natural language-like syntax, which makes it easier to read and write and for beginners to pick up. For example, declaring a variable in Ruby is simple and straightforward:

name = “John”

The commands in Ruby are usually short and easy to understand, like “puts” or “print”. As a result, it is easier to understand what code does without having to refer to the documentation.

On the other hand, JavaScript has a slightly more complex syntax, which can be challenging for beginners to grasp. It requires you to write code in a specific order, or it may not work as intended.

For example, declaring a variable in JavaScript requires the use of the “var” keyword:

var age = 30;

However, with the latest version of JavaScript (ES6), you can also use “let” and “const” to declare variables and constants as such:

let name = “Sarah”;

const PI = 3.142;

These keywords have different scoping rules and provide more flexibility when it comes to variable declaration.

Even though JavaScript’s syntax may appear more complicated to Ruby, it’s anything but, and with enough practice, picking it up should be fairly easy. JavaScript’s syntax is more consistent with most other languages, making it easier for developers to switch from one language to another. 

Platform

Being platform-independent, Ruby is compatible with various operating systems like Windows, Mac, and Linux. This versatility is handy, as it allows developers to write code on their preferred device without worrying about compatibility issues. 

Meanwhile, JavaScript is primarily utilized in web browsers and Node.js apps. Although it’s possible to create desktop applications with Node.js, web development is where it shines the brightest.

Database Support

When it comes to relational databases, Ruby has a leg up on JavaScript. Ruby’s ActiveRecord library is a fantastic ORM (object-relational mapping) framework that lets developers interact with relational databases. It simplifies database access, making it easier for developers to work with databases, and comes with excellent support for different relational databases like MySQL

JavaScript, however, is catching up with libraries like Sequelize, which offer similar functionality, but it’s still not on the same level as Ruby.

Ruby has a popular Object-Document-Mapper (ODM) called Mongoid, which provides an easy-to-use interface for working with MongoDB, a widely-used document database. Mongoid allows developers to use familiar ActiveRecord-like syntax to query data, making it easy to work with data structures in Ruby.

On the other hand, JavaScript has a native API for MongoDB, which means developers can use JavaScript to interact with the database directly without the need for any third-party libraries.

The native API, known as the MongoDB Node.js driver, is compatible with both JavaScript and TypeScript. This allows for a more streamlined development experience for JavaScript developers working with document-based databases.

Popularity

The TIOBE index is a good indicator of a programming language’s popularity as it ranks languages based on the number of skilled engineers worldwide, courses, and search engine popularity. Going by the latest TIOBE index, JavaScript ranks 7th among the top 20 most popular languages. 

JavaScript’s widespread popularity has also led to the development of many popular frameworks like React, Angular, and Vue, which makes it even more attractive to developers.

Ruby, on the other hand, has seen a decline in popularity over the years, ranking 18th by the latest ratings, but it still has a dedicated following. Ruby’s claim to fame is the Ruby on Rails web app framework, which has been instrumental in the development of many popular web applications like GitHub

Rails’ “convention over configuration” approach has been a hit with developers, making it an attractive option for web application development.

Ruby vs. JavaScript
Javascript is a very popular language with a vast support community.

Ruby vs. JavaScript: 5 Must-Know Facts

  • Both Ruby and JavaScript were developed in 1995 by Yukihiro Matsumoto and Brendan Eich respectively.
  • Ruby is often seen as a more “elegant” language than JavaScript due to its focus on readability and expressiveness of code, while JavaScript focuses more on the performance and flexibility of code execution.
  • Third-party tools like Sorbet provide static typing support for Ruby, while TypeScript adds optional static typing to JavaScript and acts as a syntactical superset for the language.
  • Both Ruby and JavaScript have large communities. However, JavaScript has a larger community because of its near-ubiquitous presence in web development. It is the language of choice for front-end developers, and more back-end developers continue to adopt Node.js. Ruby, on the other hand, has a smaller but vibrant community.
  • Many big companies have built their websites and services using these two languages. Twitter was originally built on Rails, while Facebook uses Reactjs to power its user interface and enhance performance across devices.

Ruby vs. JavaScript: Pros and Cons

From what we’ve discussed, we can safely conclude that both Ruby and JavaScript have their own strengths and limitations. We could summarize these into the following pros and cons:

Ruby 

Pros:

  • Easy to learn and read, with a simple syntax that allows for quick development.
  • High productivity and efficiency due to the availability of a wide range of open-source libraries and frameworks like Ruby on Rails.
  • Elegant and concise code, with built-in support for powerful programming paradigms like OOP.
  • The dynamic and flexible type system makes it easier to write code.

Cons:

  • Slower performance compared to some other languages. This can be an issue for large-scale, computationally intensive applications.
  • Less widespread adoption than some languages like JavaScript, which can make finding developers and resources more difficult.
  • Limited support for certain programming paradigms like static typing may be a downside for some developers.

JavaScript 

Pros:

  • Widely adopted and supported, with a vast ecosystem of libraries, frameworks, and tools available for web development.
  • High performance and speed, with just-in-time compilation and other optimizations improving its efficiency.
  • Flexible and versatile, with support for many paradigms like object-oriented, functional, and procedural.
  • Good for developing large-scale, complex web applications that require extensive client-side functionality and interactivity.
  • Easy to learn and use, with a simple syntax that is considerably similar to programming languages like C.

Cons:

  • Often criticized for its lack of consistency and quirks in the language, which can lead to unexpected behavior and bugs.
  • Loosely typed variables can lead to unexpected errors in large projects with multiple developers.
  • The syntax can be more complicated than Ruby, making it harder for beginners to pick up.

Ruby vs. JavaScript: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Choose?

When it comes to deciding between Ruby and JavaScript, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It really depends on your specific use case and what you want to achieve with your project.

If you were to consider the best use cases for each language, then Ruby is good for prototyping and building small to medium-sized applications that require fast development cycles and iterative processes. 

As well, if you’re building a complex full-stack web application with lots of server-side computation, then Ruby’s Rails might be a better option. It offers a “convention over configuration approach” that makes development faster and more streamlined.

On the other hand, JavaScript is perfect for developing large-scale, complex web applications that require extensive client-side functionality and interactivity. JavaScript can also run directly within browsers, which means you don’t need any special software or compilers to get started. 

On the flip side, Ruby requires additional components like a Ruby environment and the Rails framework, which need to be installed beforehand in order to work properly.

However, if you’re looking for something that’s easy to learn and use, then Ruby might be the way to go. Its syntax resembles English sentences, making it much simpler to understand code written in this language, compared to JavaScript’s slightly more complex structure.

In the end, both languages offer powerful toolsets capable of creating amazing websites and applications, so it really just comes down to which one fits best into your project requirements. Don’t be afraid to experiment with both languages and see which one you feel more comfortable with.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which language is easier to learn, Ruby or JavaScript?

Both languages have their own unique learning curves, but in general, Ruby tends to be more beginner-friendly due to its natural language-like syntax.

Can I use Ruby and JavaScript together in the same project?

Yes, you can use both Ruby and JavaScript in the same project. For example, you can use Ruby on the backend and JavaScript on the frontend to create a full-stack web application.

Is Ruby faster than JavaScript?

It’s quite difficult to compare the speed of Ruby and JavaScript because they are used for different purposes. Ruby is often used for backend web development, whereas JavaScript is primarily used for frontend development. However, both languages have fast and efficient implementations that can handle a wide variety of tasks.

How do Ruby and JavaScript compare in terms of vulnerabilities?

Both Ruby and JavaScript have had their fair share of security vulnerabilities in the past. However, the security of your code ultimately depends on how well you write it and how you configure your environment. There are tools and best practices available for both languages to help you write secure code.

What are some notable companies or projects that use Ruby or JavaScript?

Ruby is used by companies like Airbnb, Basecamp, Shopify, and GitHub, while JavaScript is used by companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Popular projects that use Ruby include Ruby on Rails and Jekyll, while popular projects that use JavaScript include Vue.js and Node.js.

How do Ruby and JavaScript compare in terms of job opportunities and salaries?

Job opportunities and salaries for Ruby and JavaScript developers can vary depending on the industry and location. However, in general, both languages have a strong job market and can offer competitive salaries. It really boils down to your experience, skills, and the specific job you’re applying for.

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