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Difference Between Ruby And Ruby On Rails

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The main difference between Ruby and Ruby on Rails is their nature. Ruby is a programming language used to develop desktop and web applications, while Ruby on Rails is a framework that supports Ruby programming along with several more programming and markup languages. 

Ruby offers several features, such as DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself). Moreover, Ruby programming is simple, straightforward, and follows clear syntax. Ruby was introduced as an object-oriented programming language to speed up application development.

On the other hand, Ruby on Rails is a web development framework that comprises the power of markup languages, cascading style sheets, javascript, and other programming languages in addition to Ruby. When developing a web application in Ruby on Rails, it’s not at all necessary to use Ruby prominently. This means that ruby code in a Ruby on Rails project can be as little as 1% or even less.

What Is Ruby?

ruby language

As hinted previously, Ruby uses DRY through partials. Partials are small pieces of code that can be called just like functions at several places. They eliminate the need to rewrite the same piece of code at several places in an application. For instance, the header and footer of a website usually remain the same. Therefore, their codes can be put in two separate partials and called on the application controller, which will render those partials automatically on all the web pages. 

Ruby is simple and easy to understand. The code is lightweight and is compatible with markup languages. Most ruby codes are written in conjunction with HAML and/or HTML.

What Is Ruby On Rails?

ruby on rails

Ruby on Rails is a web development framework that integrates the power of several programming languages. It runs on the server and demands the installation of ruby on the local machine to get started. Ruby on Rails is shortened to RoR for better understanding. RoR can accommodate other frameworks such as Javascript frameworks, including React.js, Vue.js, Angular.js, etc. The purpose of RoR was to facilitate rapid web application development.

It follows the MVC structure (Model View Controller) to keep the code managed and secure. MVC discourages website hacks since the database becomes indirectly accessible on the front end. RoR is powered by gems, which are pre-built libraries to add quick functionalities. For instance, creating a user login and authentication can be achieved through Devise Gem. Similarly, giving roles and permissions can be managed through the Cancancan gem. RoR can use JQuery and other front-end libraries such as Bootstrap and Materialize by Google. A single line of code can implement the functionality of the entire library at once.

Differences Between Ruby And Ruby On Rails


Ruby is a client-side programming language, while RoR is a server-side web framework. Pure Ruby code is written in the controller, while when written on the view (front end) with a markup language, it becomes ERB (Embedded Ruby.

Programming Languages Integration

Ruby can be integrated with markup languages such as HTML and HAML. The model section sometimes uses JQuery and other frameworks (if integrated into an RoR project). RoR can integrate thousands of libraries and frameworks under the same web app. Moreover, it can house endless gems in the same app.


Ruby runs relatively slower than RoR. RoR is way faster since it’s executed on the server. Ruby runs on the client-end, leaving it with extremely limited resources, resulting in slower execution.


Ruby is used for web and cross-desktop applications. RoR is confined to the development of web applications only. RoR is a mere framework that supports ruby programming. This means that Ruby programs can be coded in many other frameworks but RoR remains the most popular and ideal framework.

Comparison Chart: Ruby Vs Ruby on Rails

AreasRubyRuby on Rails
Javascript Frameworks CompatibilityDoesn’t directly support javascript frameworks. Needs some Ruby frameworks for that.Supports countless javascript frameworks.
GITRuby code is automatically managed when controlling the framework’s version through GIT.RoR supports GIT.
Operating SystemRuby doesn’t directly need an operating system. It just needs a framework.RoR needs compatible OS, including Ubuntu, Mac, and Windows.

Similitudes Between Ruby and Ruby on Rails

Both Ruby and RoR are open sources. They get frequent updates from their respective communities for bug fixes, the introduction of new features, and optimization updates. Ruby and RoR code can be pushed to the production server such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Heroku, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use ruby to create desktop applications?

Yes, ruby supports native and cross-desktop applications through different frameworks. The same framework may not support cross-desktop application development, though.

Why is ruby on rails so popular?

RoR has gained a lot of popularity due to precise and clear documentation, thousands and gems, frequent updates, and easiness. RoR allows rapid web application development through partials, MVC, etc. The ability to integrate several latest javascript frameworks to develop appealing and tempting front-end further makes it a hot choice among the developers.

Can I integrate ruby on rails with WordPress and vice versa?

No, you can’t integrate RoR and WordPress apps. Both have different structures, protocols, and languages. WordPress is more of PHP, while RoR is a collection of several languages. Moreover, the most popular database for RoR projects is Postgresql, which is not used in WordPress.

How much can a Ruby on Rails developer earn on average?

An RoR developer is expected to earn no less than US$75,000 annually. Salaried developers may earn less, but still no less than US$50,000. Successful freelance RoR developers can earn as high as $100,000 or even more.

Does Ruby on Rails has a good future?

Despite the introduction of many more web development frameworks and programming languages, RoR has never been removed from the list of the most successful and popular frameworks. No doubt, RoR won’t lose its value anytime in at least the next 5-10 years due to no worthy opponent in the market. Several frameworks came and depreciated but couldn’t compete with RoR.


By the end of this article, it’s clear that Ruby and Ruby on Rails are two different entities, both comparable, but can’t be assumed the same. Both the development technologies are hot and popular in the market for a very long time now. So if you’re planning on being an RoR developer, consider a good return on investment from it. However, there are several popular alternatives, such as WordPress, but they don’t really give a feel of a real web developer.

Feel free to comment and discuss about the article in the comment space below if you have any information or remarks to add. If you think we made a mistake, you can also report it there.
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About the Author: Nicolas Seignette

Nicolas Seignette, who holds a scientific baccalaureate, began his studies in mathematics and computer science applied to human and social sciences (MIASHS). He then continued his university studies with a DEUST WMI (Webmaster and Internet professions) at the University of Limoges before finishing his course with a professional license specialized in the IT professions. On 10Differences, he is in charge of the research and the writing of the articles concerning technology, sciences and mathematics.
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