Python and Ruby

Ruby vs Python: Differences You Should Know [Updated]

Posted in Python, Ruby
Ruby vs Python: Differences You Should Know [Updated]

The programming world has evolved exponentially in the last few years. With the growing demand for everything digital, it is essential to know which programming language is well suited for what kind of requirements. A couple of decades ago, Java and .NET were the two most popular languages. Still, with current times, it is essential to update ourselves too with more comfortable and more friendly languages like Python and Ruby, amongst others. In this article, let us learn about Ruby and Python and their respective frameworks to appreciate each.

Some standard features of Ruby and Python are –

  • Both Python and Ruby are cross-platform languages and are available under FSF- and OSI-approved licenses.
  • Both are high-level languages and need not be compiled (interpreted language)
  • Both are dynamically typed languages; wherein a variable can be used without declaration in the beginning (unlike Java or C, where variables can be used only after declaring them, else the compiler will cry)
  • Both follow the principles of OOP (Object Oriented Programming)

What is Ruby?

Ruby is one of the most common and popular general-purpose languages to create web applications. Rails or Ruby on Rails is an elegant and robust framework that is built on the MVC architecture and has loads of libraries and in-built functions, so that you don’t have to develop everything from scratch and can focus on the specific business requirements alone. Rails have some of the big names in its kitty – Shopify, Airbnb, GitHub are all built with Ruby on Rails.

Coding in Ruby is just like talking with another human – expressive and easy to comprehend. There are no primitive types in Ruby – everything is about objects! A simple Hello World program is a single line,

puts “Hello World!”;

Ruby comments start with ‘#’ just like in Python.

Syntax of Ruby is mostly similar to languages like C or Perl.

Some popular Ruby editors are RubyWin, Ruby Development Environment (RDE), and Vi.

Most startups and companies that want a robust digital presence prefer Ruby as it is quick to build scalable and robust web applications with Ruby. The Ruby community is also web-focused.

Ruby supports anonymous functions like lambdas, blocks, procs. Also, the lambda functions are more prominent, unlike Python (we will see a small sample of a lambda function later).

Learn coding with Ruby here.

What is Python?

Python is the most popular language, and the popularity also comes from the fact that it is the preferred language for data scientists. It has an extensive set of statistical libraries that can be used for data science, which is the most popular career as of today. This also makes it a popular language amongst students learning statistics and data modeling.

Python is easy to learn, and if you are a novice, Python is a great way to start your programming journey. The programs you write will be just like writing plain English – evident and straightforward.

Python is open-source. You can download PyCharm and start learning Python almost as soon as you want to! Just like Ruby, a simple ‘Hello World’ would be only one line code –

print(“Hello World!”)

Notice the use of print as opposed to puts in Ruby, and the absence of a semicolon to end the line.

In Python, white spaces are significant and indicative of a block of code. For example,

if x > 7:
print (“Success”)
print (“Get the next value of x”)
if x > 7:
print (“Success”)
print (“Get the next value of x”)

Note that the code on the right will give syntax error as there are no other white spaces. A minimum of one area is mandatory to indicate a block of code, failing which Python will give an error. In other languages, the curly braces indicate a block of code “{}.”

Python also has four types of collections – List, Tuple, Set, Dictionary. List and Tuple support negative indexes too.

Python only supports Lambda, an anonymous function that can evaluate a single expression with any number of arguments. For example,

l = lambda a, b, c: a * b * c

We can then use ‘l’ anywhere as l(13, 23, 46).

Many frameworks support Python, of which the two most popular are Django and Flask, which enable developers to build robust web applications. However, Python’s power lies beyond just web applications – there are libraries like the Pandas that helps in data preparation and munging, the math libraries and statistical libraries that help in data interpretation, TensorFlow for machine learning tasks and Matplotlib for data visualization – all that you need for Data science is right there!

Code-level differences

Some detailed differences in the features of both the programming languages are –

Ruby

Python

No primitive data types. Everything is an object.

Has both primitive types and objects

Since multiple inheritances are supported, mixins can be used.

A mixin cannot be used as Python doesn’t support multiple inheritances

The syntax of else if the condition is elsif

else if is written as elif

Support switch/case statements

No support for switch-case

Supports Tuples as ‘Rinda,’ which is available with the distributed Ruby library dRuby. Other collections are Arrays, Hash, Set, and Struct.

Supports tuples, Set, List, and Dictionary (Hash).

Ruby doesn’t have many functions; it has only methods that have to be wrapped in procs to pass them.

Python uses a lot of functions

Imports are generic, and the developers don’t come to know from which part of the import the exact functionality was supported.

Python requires developers to import specific functionality from the libraries

Use of iterators is very less, and they don’t play a vital role

Python’s iterators are the same as how we use iterators in Java and are essential to the language

It is not possible to modify built-in classes

Built-in classes are modifiable

Closures can be defined using blocks, and have full read and write access (to variables) from the outer scope.

Nested functions are possible; however, the secret service only has read access to variables of the outer function, but they can’t change the values of those functions.

Ruby vs Python: Head to head comparison

Apart from the differences in the code, there are a few more differences in the usage, purpose, overall ideology and other things, that we are going to highlight in the below table –

Ruby

Python

A general-purpose language is much suited for building web applications quickly and efficiently.

It is well-suited for building web applications, however not as quickly as with Ruby.

The limited set of libraries mainly focused on developing scalable and high-traffic web applications.

The extensive set of libraries that can be used not just by web developers, but also by mathematicians, students, and others to solve statistical problems and for data analysis

If your focus is digital marketing and building websites that can be efficiently coded and maintained, Ruby is the best bet

Python is the preferred language used by Data Scientists, as it includes specific libraries to manipulate, interpret, and visualize data.

More expression, human-readable (even those who don’t have programming experience can understand) and flexible

Easy to learn and code, more stable versions with fewer updates and efficient.

More flexibility as you can always find more than one way to do any task

There is only one obvious way to do a particular job, hence stricter.

For a specific niche, Ruby is a great choice – especially for functional programming and web development

Python has more significant scope and is currently one of the top programming languages, mainly because it is much more useful for data science.

Code can be reused, and automatic dependency resolution is possible. However, the process is a bit cumbersome and not very straightforward

Offers reusable code as modules that are readily available to use and it is also possible to filter them by categories to choose the most suitable one

It will take time to get used to the language, although the framework Ruby on Rails has a lot of built-in features that you can readily use without much effort.

Quicker to learn, especially if you are a beginner. Choosing a useful framework could be an exciting task based on your needs

The Rails community is young and vibrant with proper documentation and resolves problems that are focused on the web.

Python community is vast, and there are loads of documents, forums, and conferences for Python and Django.

Which one should you learn first?

Well, a combination of Django and Python can seem too complicated at first, and not required if your purpose is to bring a web application into the market as soon as possible. Rails are one of the best frameworks so far for developing web applications, and the community provides excellent support to help solve various business problems. However, even if you are first learning Ruby and Rails, it is good to get into Python as it is more suitable for scientific computing and data science. Since data science careers are going to rule the next couple of decades, Python will have more demand. Besides, it is easy to reuse Python code across applications. Both languages are unique and have their features, and it is always good to learn multiple languages to showcase a better resume!

Conclusion

As we have seen, both Ruby and Python are high-level, object-oriented programming languages that have been written for specific purposes. Deciding which one to learn first is purely based on your business needs as well as a personal choice. Hackr.io offers some great tutorials for learning Ruby and Python, access them here – Ruby, Python.

People are also reading:

Ramya Shankar

Ramya Shankar

A cheerful, full of life and vibrant person, I hold a lot of dreams that I want to fulfill on my own. My passion for writing started with small diary entries and travel blogs, after which I have moved on to writing well-researched technical content. I find it fascinating to blend thoughts and research and shape them into something beautiful through my writing. View all posts by the Author

Leave a comment

Your email will not be published
Cancel