The programming industry features a wide range of different web development frameworks. Django vs Ruby on Rails are two robust web development frameworks, each boasting distinct advantages and limitations. Django excels in handling intricate database-driven websites and data analysis-heavy projects, while Ruby on Rails shines in facilitating swift development and seamless scalability.
For sure, both languages stand out in terms of maturity, community, and worldwide use, and are highly known as solid backbones of any digital product.
In many cases, the right web development framework is selected depending on the developer’s skills and experience. At the same time, it can also impact the product’s functionality, development resources, and maintenance expenses.
To ensure the product’s largest performance and great efficiency in the process of its creation, many Python Django development companies compare the basic features of Django vs Ruby on Rails.
So, if you’re uncertain about which one Rails vs Django in 2023 will help you to achieve your business needs, Uvik’s experts have already come up with the solution!
Django vs Ruby on Rails: Quick Comparison Checklist
Before we dive into the detailed Django vs Rails comparison, let’s briefly review what are the major differences between these frameworks.
- Language. Ruby on Rails is based on the Ruby programming language, while Django is a Python-based web framework. While Ruby features an extremely flexible interface, Python language is easier to learn due to its simple syntax.
- License. RoR runs under the BSD License, a low restriction type of license for open source software that does not put requirements on redistribution. But, Django functions under the MIT license, the documentation that grants permissions and indemnifies developers for future use.
- Design Architecture. Rails follows Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture, while Django utilizes the Model-View-Template (MVT) design.
- Speed. If we compare the two frameworks, Ruby on Rails is faster than Django by 0.7%.
- Learning Curve. Because of a flexible interface, RoR features a smoother learning curve, but Django may be easier to get started with for developers with some experience in Python.
- Flexibility. Django is more opinionated, while Ruby on Rails provides better flexibility for developers, allowing them to unleash their creativity.
- Application in Web Development. RoR is mainly used for MVPs, eCommerce, web projects, and meta programming. Django framework is targeted at developing data-heavy websites, as well as ML solutions, Data Science, and AI projects.
- Community Support. Due to its simplicity, Django is much more popular among developers and thus has a very active community. The dedicated developers with years of experience though would rather prefer Ruby on Rails because of its flexibility.
- Examples. The popular websites built with Ruby on Rails are Shopify, GitHub, and Netflix. Famous representatives built with the Django framework are Youtube, Dropbox, and Disqus.
- Philosophy. The core idea of RoR is to prioritize progress and innovations over stability and convention over configuration. Django though is highly focused on the “Explicit is better than implicit” concept.
Knowing the key differences between these frameworks, which one – Ruby on Rails vs Django – should you choose for your project development? Here’s a simple yet structured table that helps to evaluate the advantages of each and come up with your ideal option.
What Are Django and Ruby on Rails Used For?
Once you’ve covered the basic differences between the two backend frameworks, let’s find out when to use each. With years of experience working within software development scope, Uvik’s experts have researched the typical use cases for Django and Ruby on Rails.
Django framework is mainly used to develop robust, large-scale web applications, websites, and massive databases with the use of modern technologies and solutions such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Machine learning (ML).
Typically, this framework is implemented in complex projects requiring math-intensive, scientific programming and considerable employee input. Django can also be an excellent option for developing the Rest APIs, as well as a variety of data visualization and analysis projects.
As for Ruby on Rails, the web framework will be a great alternative for server-side web applications, MVPs and prototypes development, and projects that require real-time updates and scalability. That is why RoR is mainly used for quick prototyping, startups, and small businesses that can develop and grow in the long-term perspective.
What is more, Rails is used when working with popular front-end frameworks and libraries such as Angular, React, or Vue. And, unlike Ruby on Rails alternatives, it is extremely adaptable to any changes, allowing developers to play around with the functionality of products created.
Which Framework Is More Popular: Django or RoR?
So, which framework, Django or Ruby on Rails, has gained larger popularity among developers today?
Even though both RoR and Django have been on the market for almost 20 years, the last one still gathered a larger community due to its simplicity. According to the latest survey conducted by StackOverflow, from a total of 42,000 respondents, nearly 14.2% of developers use Django, while only 7% prefer Ruby on Rails. Similar numbers show the recent web framework overview from Statista.
Moreover, as of March 2021, over 381,000 global websites have been built using the Ruby on Rails web framework, according to Foxsoft usage statistics. As for Django, the current number of websites based on this framework has currently reached 83,000.
Taken from: https://keyua.org
Nevertheless, both web frameworks feature similar growth and retention rates, yet have a nearly identical market share within the target industry. Currently, Django has a market share of 28.61%, while the market share of Ruby on Rails has 27.46%.
What are the Similarities Between Django and Ruby on Rails?
Django and Rails are similarly used for the backend development of various web app solutions. Both of them are robust server-side frameworks, have the top performance benchmarks, and share a wide range of great functions.
Among the listed, you’ve probably heard the extensive database support, security features, and a similar approach to web application development. Below we’ll explain these and many other great functions that make both frameworks a decent option for any project today.
According to the detailed Django vs Rails comparison, you can find out that both frameworks and their respective languages feature large communities. Thus, you can get help when detecting specific bugs, unexpected or unwanted behavior, or in case of any other related issues. All the answers can be typically discovered online through a variety of solutions, examples, and recommendations.
Plenty of Libraries
Both web frameworks support a variety of libraries that come in the form of “gems” in Rails and “packages” in Django. The installation procedure and syntax are extremely similar.
As an example, if you need to add user authentication in the app, you’ll require:
For Ruby on Rails framework:
- Add gem ‘device’, ‘~> 4.7’, ‘>= 4.7.3’ in your rails gemfile, then run bundle install (the command of the Bundler tool) in your terminal
For Django framework:
- Use the ubiquitous pip install command – pip3 install Flask-Authorization in your terminal, or simply add it to your requirements file and execute that.
Easy as an A!
Language Version Management
Environment control is another great feature of both Django and RoR, that enables running multiple projects at a time. As you know, both Python and Ruby are singular languages, but each of those features multiple versions of themselves.
When you need to switch between the projects, your effort can be ruined if the languages haven’t been switched accordingly.
Luckily, multiple version managers can help you effectively address this issue. Python developers mostly use pyenv, while the Ruby community can choose between two options: rvm and rbenv.
Apart from the core aspects listed above, both Django and RoR web frameworks feature useful characteristics that are highly appreciated by many developers across the globe. The qualities, which are worth mentioning:
- Dynamic type
- Late binding
- Syntactic sugar
- Highly extensible
- Human-friendly syntax
- Free to use
Major Differences Between Django and Ruby on Rails
Regardless of the large number of similarities between Ruby on Rails vs Django, these web frameworks are used for different projects and have diverse development focuses. To get a better understanding of which one fits best, let’s now review the basic characteristics that make a difference in competition.
Django features the MVT or Model View Template architecture, which displays a database that explains data structure. In this framework, developers don’t need to code all the control-specific functions for the Controller, they’re fully automated.
RoR follows MVC or Model View Controller architecture. This model interprets the database data like comments, pictures, posts, etc. It is considered to be a leading design pattern as it effortlessly separates business logic from the database, queries, and UI-UX code.
Having compared Django vs Rails, developers can find out notable differences in the user interface of each framework. Django is more straightforward, has a quick response time, is responsive, with a top-notch interface.
RoR is promising to deliver a better user interface because of its flexibility. The framework is easily adjustable to modern solutions and is an excellent option for creating world-class websites with an interactive, user-friendly interface.
So, the convenience of use will mainly depend on the personal preferences and skills of a developer, as well as the project requirements to be fulfilled.
Speed and Performance
Comparing the performance of Rails and Django, we note the following. Raw language or web framework speed is usually checked only by measuring it via a real experiment on a real app. In the speed test experiment in 2017, Ruby on Rails has proven itself to be faster than Python/Django by 0.7%.
For sure, these have nearly no difference in productivity. But as the Python vs Rails fight lasts for years, we finally have a real proven fact that shows that RoR is actually faster and shows better performance.
Winner: Ruby on Rails
Web development is always based on stability and creativity, as it helps to create an outstanding website that will rank high on searches. From this point of view, Django employs proven methods to solve the issues and feature stability. However, the framework does lack creativity and innovative approaches.
Rails have effectively combined both aspects, allowing users to resume code to cut dependency. Additionally, it utilizes the “convention over configuration” concept, ensuring the development process is stable and easy.
Winner: Ruby on Rails
In terms of security, both systems feature excellent performance but in slightly different manners.
Django offers superior security and is widely used by the world’s best sites of NASA because of that. The framework comes with different useful tools to protect your web application from malware, SQL injection, cross-site scripting, etc. It features excellent authentication and many plugins to effectively and securely manage your web platform.
RoR also features a decent security level that can protect the website from SQL injection, Cross-site scripting, and more. That is why it stands by the world’s popular sites such as GitHub, Shopify, Airbnb, Twitch, SEOly, and more.
As the name suggests, Ruby on Rails is based on the Ruby programming language, while Django performs under Python. Overall, both Ruby and Python are object-oriented, interpreted, dynamically typed programming languages.
However, Python is a more general-purpose language that can be used for creating different solutions with AI and ML components, Data Analytics features, and more. Ruby, though, is mostly used for web APIs and web server development.
Building an API with Ruby on Rails can be incredibly complex, as RoR has no equivalent to Django’s REST framework.
However, Django is widely used for platforms with complex API architecture that rely on data from third parties. The RESTful framework adds a lot to API’s functionality and convenience, as it covers the authentication modules, JSON serializers/deserializers, API routing, and documentation.
Thus, Django’s REST-based architecture is one of the most prominent advantages of this web framework.
Having compared Ruby on Rails vs Django, it becomes more than clear that the development logic of both frameworks is also different.
RoR’s philosophy stands for conversion over configuration, which means users can gain much better flexibility and development opportunities. Also, this framework highly values progress over stability, which significantly contributes to developing innovative products.
Django is more conservative in terms of innovations and unusual solutions. That is why its major development principle is Explicit is better than implicit. However, the framework is pretty straightforward in web development, which adds to its ease of use.
Having tested Ruby on Rails vs Django in terms of installation, the last one will obviously take the 1st place. Django features a simple installation system that can be completed in just a few clicks.
To compare, the installation of RoR is much more painful for the average user. To get started, you need to learn some basic things such as Bundle, gems, etc, that help to run a command for Rails installation.
The Flexibility of Use
RoR features an excellent balance between flexibility and stability. Overall, it allows developers to reuse the code, adjust the existing templates and implement new, innovative features for each project specifically. In Rails, convention always comes over configuration, which significantly reduces the workload.
On the other hand, Django is extremely opinionated, which is both good and bad. There’s a single solution for any action to perform, and if you need to implement the new functionality, it usually takes up lots of time and effort. Additionally, it doesn’t feature creating advanced implementations, which can hurt the creativity and flexibility of web developers.
Winner: Ruby on Rails
The complexity of the frameworks also depends on the developer’s experience and skillset. Python, which is used for the Django framework, has the largest community for the language. Moreover, it’s one of the leading options for large-scale projects that work with big data.
While Python Django is easier to learn, Ruby on Rails features more modern development patterns. Additionally, you’ll need to put a considerable effort to get started with RoR, as it requires understanding Ruby at least on a basic level.
Winner: Ruby on Rails
Community and Support
Finally, Django and Ruby on Rails have got different popularity depending on the location it’s been used on.
As you can see from the map below, Django has more customers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and some countries in Western Europe. On the contrary, the RoR has a large pool of users, mainly located in Asia and Central and Eastern Europe.
Winner: Ruby on Rails
Taken from: https://www.slintel.com
Which Framework to Choose: Django or Ruby on Rails?
The next aspect of the Django Ruby on Rails comparison, which is surely worth analyzing is the range of use cases for each of the web frameworks. This will not only help you to pick up the most profitable web development toolset for 2023 but also for the long-term development perspectives.
Cases in Which You Should Choose the Django Framework
It’s worth considering the Django option as the framework is suggested for:
- Working with huge databases and complex database-driven websites due to its powerful ORM
- Various data-visualization and analysis projects
- Different projects requiring math and complex computing
- The web apps with heavy user traffic
- Creating REST APIs
- Developing highly secure web applications, that project against common vulnerabilities
- Large-scale projects with multiple team members
- Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence solutions
Cases in Which You Should Choose the RoR Framework
Ruby on Rails will be an excellent web development option if you’re considering a project with the following needs:
- Meeting short deadlines and creating quick solutions
- Creating products with real-time updates and advanced scalability
- Developing simple projects and MVPs
- For a variety of eCommerce projects
- For the projects that require quick prototyping
- While working with popular front-end frameworks and libraries
- Complex projects with unique features and cutting-edge functionalities
- For startups and small businesses that require high scalability and performance
Still Uncertain Which Framework Is Right for Your Project?
Overwhelming information about the difference between Django and Ruby on Rails might not immediately lead you to the final decision. So, let’s now briefly summarize the potential of each to define the right option for your web project.
Ruby on Rails framework works better for early-stage startups and small organizations. Therefore, if your project requires a simple web application delivered within the shortest time frames – Rails can be a thing!
Django, on the contrary, will fit best for large companies that are searching for a standardized, large-scale web development solution. It is more straightforward and powerful, which makes it the ideal fit for projects with massive databases.
Selecting the best web framework is an essential task that can greatly impact the entire project development process. As you can see, the final answer to the Django or Rails question mainly depends on the project specifics, business goals, and expectations set. Considering the factors above will surely help you to decide the best one from the point of functionality and efficiency.
If you still have any questions or doubts concerning the framework for your project – we’re always here to help. With years of experience, Uvik has contributed to multiple development projects, helping clients successfully achieve their project goals and create excellent solutions for their businesses.
Contact us today to discover which one: Django vs Ruby on Rails for development will be the best fit for your upcoming project!
Still have some questions about choosing Ruby on Rails or Django? Discover the most common ones answered by Uvik’s best web development experts!
Which developer is more cost-effective: Django developer or RoR developer?
With which framework Django or Rails can you quickly create a project?
Which project is easier to maintain: Django or Ruby on Rails?
Where is it easier to implement monetization tools: on Django or RoR?
Is Ruby on Rails easier to work with than Django?
As you can see, both backend frameworks have their benefits and some flaws, you just need to choose the solution that is best-fitting your business needs. If you have problems choosing between Django vs Ruby on Rails for web development and need professional assistance with choosing the right tool, then you can contact Uvik.
We have extensive experience in both Ruby on Rails and Django development, thus we know how to turn your most ambitious ideas into well-functioning products.