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Python and Ruby


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Ruby vs Python in 2022: The Differences You Should Know

Posted in Python, Ruby

Between Ruby and Python, which one is the better programming language?

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 which kind of requirements. A couple of decades ago, Java and .NET were the two most popular languages. Needless to say, times have changed!

In current times, it is essential to update ourselves with more comfortable and friendlier languages like Python and Ruby, amongst others. In this article, we’ll talk about Ruby, Python, and their respective frameworks to better appreciate each. Then, we’ll see the battle of Ruby vs Python to find out which programming language comes out on top.

Let’s get right to it!

Key Differences Between Ruby and Python

When it comes to the difference between Python and Ruby, there are a few key points you may want to consider. 

  • Ruby supports single inheritance while Python supports multiple inheritance
  • Ruby tends to be used more for functional programming and web development (thanks to Rails), while Python is a language geared more toward AI, academic, data science, machine learning, and other scientific programming
  • Python supports one-line lambda functions only. Ruby allows larger lambda functions
  • Python has functions, but Ruby’s got methods
  • This next point is a bit more subjective — Python’s language is simpler and more explicit, allowing for Python code to be more elegant when read. Ruby may be more difficult to debug

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.

Pros and Cons of Ruby

Pros

Cons

  • Like Python, Ruby can be pretty easy to learn 
  • Ruby’s syntax is slightly more complex than Python’s
  • Ruby and Rails allow users to develop web applications efficiently and quickly — at times much faster than other frameworks
  • Because the syntax can be more complex, it can be much more difficult to debug your Ruby code
  • Ruby on its own comes with plenty of features that are excellent for web dev right out of the box 
  • Besides web development, there aren’t as many other use cases for this language and framework
  • Like Python, Ruby has a well-developed community which makes it easier to find support if you encounter any issues
  • It can be more difficult to find libraries and gems
  • There are many helpful tools for developers to use during their projects
  • Ruby’s popularity is facing a steady decline
  • Ruby and Rails are considered very secure together and have built-in protection against CSRF, XSS, and SQL injections, which are some of the most popular attacks experienced by web apps

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 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, and 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 Pandas that help in data preparation and munging, 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!

 

Recommend Python Course

Complete Python Bootcamp From Zero to Hero in Python

 

Pros and Cons of Python

Pros

Cons

  • Python syntax is simple and elegant, so the programs you write can be easier to read. Its syntax is simpler than other languages (such as C, C++, and Java), so it is more beginner-friendly
  • Developers can sometimes run into issues with complicated design, so companies will generally hire experienced Python devs over newer ones
  • Supports many common tasks in programming, thanks to its massive standard library
  • Python by default is not 100% secure, you’ll need to take steps to fix this problem
  • Supported on multiple operating systems
  • If you want to start coding in Python, you’ll first need to set up your work environment. Beginners or the less tech-savvy may run into issues with this, so it may be better to try using an integrated development environment first
  • Has a lot of handy tools developers can use
  • Python uses a lot of memory and has issues with garbage collection, so developers need to be careful with this when working on their project
  • Code can be easier to debug and maintain thanks to simpler syntax
  • As a dynamic language, Python may show more errors during run-time
  • There is a large community around Python so it can be easy to find support if you run into any problems
  • Python is embeddable, which allows you to use it in other languages like C++
  • Python is extremely scalable
  • Python is one of the best languages to learn if you want to get into AI and machine learning

How are Ruby and Python Similar?

Is Ruby similar to Python? In some ways, it is. There are a few things that are similar between the two programming languages. These similarities can muddy the waters a bit and make it difficult to answer the question, “should I learn Ruby or Python first?”

How exactly are these two languages the same? 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)
  • Ruby and Python provide standard libraries, an interactive shell, and persistence support, and support over multiple platforms including Unix, Linux, Windows, and more
  • In the Ruby-Python comparison, you’ll find that both are excellent languages for use in web development. This fact is especially true when you use the web frameworks of each language. Rails (Ruby) and Django (Python) are frameworks built for use in web development

Code-Level Differences

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 not as common, 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.

Take A Python Course! 

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

For web-development

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

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

Libraries and use cases

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

Has an 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

Preferred use

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.

Syntax and language

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.

Flexibility

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.

Scope

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 reusability

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

Learning curve

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

Community Base

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.

Development Environments

Eclipse IDE only

Multiple IDEs available

Object Oriented Language

Fully object-oriented

Not fully object-oriented

Currently used by

GitHub, Apple, Hulu, Twitter, ZenDesk

Google, Instagram, Dropbox, Mozilla, Youtube, Yahoo

The Difference Between Ruby and Python: The Popularity Contest

One thing you may be wondering is whether Ruby or Python is the more popular language. The answer is simple — right now, Python is the more popular of the two. It’s been gaining more and more popularity over the years, especially since data science, machine learning, and AI have become more and more popular. 

Looking at both these graphs, it’s easy to see that Ruby and Rails are stagnated or even losing popularity. Meanwhile, Python has skyrocketed to the top, along with Django.

Which One Should You Learn First?

The combination of Django and Python can seem a bit too complicated at first. Fortunately, it’s not really required if your intent is to bring a web app into the market as soon as possible.

If you’re looking to develop web apps, you may want to learn Ruby (and Rails) first. Rails is one of the best frameworks for web application development today, and you’ll find that the community around it provides excellent support to help you solve problems you may encounter along the way.

However, even if you are first learning Ruby and Rails, it is good to get into Python when you have the time, 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! If you’re not sure how to tell the difference between the two, it may help you to look at some Ruby vs Python code examples to help you figure it all out.

Python vs Ruby: Which One is Better for Beginners?

If you’re an absolute beginner looking to dip your toes into the world of development, it may be challenging to figure out which language to learn first.

Many people tend to start with Ruby and Rails simply because it’s one of the best tools available for creating web applications today. For those who don’t necessarily intend to develop web applications on a commercial level, Python (and Django) may be the better option.

Python tends to have syntax that is easier to learn and understand. Ruby, on the other hand, tends to be the “more enjoyable” option (though this is quite subjective depending on the developer). People tend to gravitate toward learning Ruby first as it’s quite a popular language with startups — so your chances of getting hired are a bit higher!

Conclusion

As we have seen, both Ruby and Python are high-level, object-oriented programming languages that were written for specific purposes. The decision of which one to learn first is purely based on your business needs. Of course, it is also a personal choice. 

We hope that this head-to-head Ruby vs Python battle has helped you figure out which language suits your needs best. If you’d like to learn either of them, Hackr.io offers some great tutorials for learning Ruby and Python, which you can access here:

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Ruby better than Python?

This question can set off a great debate that can easily devolve into madness. If you look at Python vs Ruby, they certainly have their similarities. However, Python is often better when it comes to educational use and for making quick apps and programs, while Ruby is usually the choice for those who want to make commercial web apps. The choice depends on your (or your project’s) needs and ultimately comes down to personal preference.

2. Which is easier, Ruby or Python? 

If you’re a beginner looking to learn either of the two languages, you may be wondering which one would be easier to start with. One of the best ways to figure out which one would be easier is to look at Ruby vs Python syntax. Purely based on syntax, Python wins — simply because it uses simpler, more natural language.

When it comes to use in web development, Ruby is generally much more popular. Python tends to be more popular for use in academic and scientific circles and purposes.

4. Can you use Ruby and Python together?

Yes! It is certainly possible to use Ruby and Python together. If you’d like to know more about how Ruby and Python can work together, you can look at this article. It even includes an example!

5. What can Ruby do that Python can’t?

Quite honestly, both Ruby and Python tend to be interchangeable — what Ruby can do, Python can also do. The choice in Ruby versus Python is the developer’s to make. However, in many cases, developers tend to favor Ruby simply because of Rails.

6. Is Ruby good for beginners?

Ruby can be quite good for beginners, especially as it’s designed to help enforce good coding habits from the very beginning. It’s open-source, so you can use it for free whenever you need it. It’s simple and also allows for fast development, so you can get your first project up and running quite quickly.

7. Is Ruby front end or back end?

Ruby, like PHP and Python, are back-end programming languages.

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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

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Tony Fisher
Tony Fisher

Is Ruby good for beginners?

Kay Bass
Kay Bass

Well, it totally depends on how much programming experience you have. It is easier to learn but you will face some complexities while you move into deep metaprogramming. It is the easiest framework to learn if you have programming hands-on. There is a lot to explore for beginners and they will find it a little bit complex.

Leona Warner
Leona Warner

Is Ruby like JavaScript?

Pearl Todd
Pearl Todd

Ruby is much like JavaScript but Ruby is much easier than JavaScript in many ways. Ruby syntax is intuitive and ruby is more imperative than JavaScript. Ruby with its easy syntax makes it user and programmer friendly. Ruby is also object oriented with many interesting modules that can be reused.

Adrian Harrington
Adrian Harrington

Is Ruby front end or backend?

Darren Duncan
Darren Duncan

Ruby is a back-end language. Backend developers mostly focused on site speed and its responsiveness and using Ruby is a great option. Ruby is used to create dynamic websites which store database information that keeps on changing and updating.

Jerry Weber
Jerry Weber

Is Ruby on Rails obsolete?

Jorge Foster
Jorge Foster

No, Ruby on rails is not dead. Many organizations are still using it due to its performance, convenience and readable syntax. In order to learn something new many developers are preferring ruby on rails. It is practical and offers libraries and tools that help in making the development faster.

Hazel Potter
Hazel Potter

Why is Python faster than Ruby?

Rachel Bell
Rachel Bell

The reason python is much faster than the ruby is that the python code is being compiled into bytecode that is executed by VM while in Ruby code the AST’s are traversed every time we run the code. Python converts the AST’s into byte code so there is no need to traverse AST’s every time that saves most of the time.

Katrina Owens
Katrina Owens

How is Ruby different from Python?

Julian Berry
Julian Berry

Both platforms are built using different programming languages. Both are high-level and server side language that focus on simpler codes. Python is basically a prototyping language that can be easily translated to C++. While ruby mostly focuses on human language programs and its code is like English language which makes it popular among programmers.

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