Node.js vs Ruby on Rails Development: Which Technology Fits Better in 2017?

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Node.js vs Ruby on Rails Development: Which Technology Fits Better in 2017?

If your team is looking to switch which technology it uses on the backend, read on to get a comparison of two of the most popular frameworks.

· Web Dev Zone ·
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The choice of technology is always the important thing. One of the latest discussions in the web community is dedicated to such technologies as Node.js and Ruby on Rails. It is hard to say for sure which one is 'better' because it really depends on multiple factors. However, in our Node.js vs Ruby on Rails research, we will shed some light on both technologies' advantages and disadvantages in order to help facilitate your choice.

Why Ruby on Rails?

Ruby is an object-oriented programming language that was created in 1993. Despite the fact this language was designed as a general-purpose one, it found lots of admirers in web development.

When answering the question, what is Ruby on Rails, it is worth mentioning that it is a framework. The Ruby on Rails framework is based on the Ruby language and was created in 2004. Developers often just call it Rails.

Before we go into the comparison itself, let's consider some of Ruby on Rails's advantages.


Nobody likes bugs in their apps. Neither the end-users nor the developers. Ruby on Rails technology has stakes in bug-free products, so it has a testing tool called Minitest. This tool provides developers with testing tools such as benchmarking, mocking, TDD, and BDD.

If you strictly follow the TDD and BDD approaches, they will help you to test all the project's code and provide you with a well-thought-out architecture.

The Rails community of developers sticks to the principles related to keeping the code simple. This way, all the Rails-based projects have code that is easy to read, maintain, and test. For both junior and senior web developers, it is undoubtedly one of the advantages of Ruby on Rails. Some other advantages include the readability of the language and the amount of open-source projects. 

Time Efficiency

Since Ruby on Rails is a framework, it contains a lot of ready-made solutions like plugins and various modules. That fact leads to a faster development process and helps to avoid writing boilerplate code.

The framework's consistency makes it easier for developers to stick to generally accepted rules of file storage and coding conventions. Due to that fact, the structure of your Ruby on Rails projects is more readable. It helps not to waste a lot of time on code maintenance and updating.

Another factor contributing to Ruby on Rails time efficiency is the presence of the Model-View-Controller. With its help, several developers can work on a project simultaneously by sharing their responsibilities. Thus, one of them has an opportunity to work on controllers while another can be focused on models or views.

Ruby on Rails framework MVC


If you are currently developing another Facebook killer, it is vital to take care of the number of requests your project is able to cope with in advance. For example, one of the famous companies that use Ruby on Rails is Shopify, which processes around 4 million requests every second.

On the one hand, scalability does not depend only on the technology. The architecture of your system and database are also important factors that come into play when scaling the app. On the other hand, Ruby on Rails has good scaling potential due to its modularity.


Community is a very important factor when deciding whether to learn a new technology or apply it to your next project. It is worth noting that the Ruby on Rails community is one of the most active among all the existing open-source frameworks.

It has over 3 thousand contributors and 35 thousand stars on GitHub. Not to mention the fact that Rails developers share their experience with pleasure by writing posts and even making videos.


One of the other advantages of Ruby on Rails is its security. The framework has a variety of built-in security-related features and requires developers to follow processes such as the Secure Development Lifecycle.

Besides, the large community of Rails keeps this framework up-to-date all the time. They contribute to this project and conduct tests on plugins even before they are released.

Ruby on Rails projects

Why Use Node.js?

What is Node.js? It is a platform written in JavaScript that lets developers build web servers and even networking tools. Moreover, the servers support Windows, Mac OS, and Unix.


Powered by Google's V8 engine, Node technology demonstrates a really high running speed. One more interesting thing about Node.js is that it allows running the code written by coders much faster, increasing the speed of any framework.

The only thing that's required from developers is to write the piece of software correctly. After that, a Node.js application will follow all the prescribed steps.

Node.js runtime comparison with Java

Share Your Code

The Node.js platform has NPM packages that allow developers to share their code. So, Node.js developers can reuse or update it easily, as well as apply to their own projects.

Nowadays, this repository has over 50 thousand packages intended to help developers create effective solutions.

Data Streaming

Both HTTP queries and responses are perceived as isolated events but, in fact, they are actually streaming data. Data streaming with Node.js really looks better, so developers can feel Node.js advantages when implementing something like processing files during their upload.

Such features especially come in handy for those developers whose current projects are connected with encoding video or audio in a real-time.

Suitable for Real-Time Apps

Node technology does pretty well with data streaming, so it is a good choice for real-time app development. Also, it is suitable for projects requiring an event-based server or non-blocking driven servers. Node.js is used by companies such as PayPal and LinkedIn.

Proxy Server

Having a number of efficient features, Node.js can be used to proxy a certain amount of services that have some differences related to response time. Also, they can be used for streaming data from various sources.

For instance, let's say the server-side of an app is used to communicate with some third-party source. Node technology can be used as a proxy server in case the enterprise has no proxy infrastructure.

Single Codebase

By means of Node.js development, programmers have an opportunity to write both client-side and server-side. That fact contributes a lot to time-efficiency since it allows devs to send and synchronize data easily between these two sides.

Famous services based on Node.js

Ruby on Rails vs Node.js: Which One to Choose?

Node.js performance has raised dramatically over the last 4 years, leaving Ruby far behind in some peculiar cases. For example, Ruby is one of the slowest languages when it comes to runtime.

Ruby runtime

The job market also shows that Ruby on Rails roles are in decline. That means that the demand is dwindling among employers and the whole industry respectively. While Node development, on the contrary, continues to see an increase in demand.

A well-known professional social network, LinkedIn, has replaced the parts of their back-end created with Ruby on Rails with Node.js due to reasons related to performance, as well as scalability.

By applying Node technology, the company has managed to increase the performance for certain scenarios up to 20 times, as well as reduce the load on the servers.

Pros and Cons of Ruby on Rails

So, let's now consider the pros and cons of the Ruby on Rails framework in a nutshell.

Ruby on Rails Pros

  • It is a rather flexible framework.

  • Can be easily ported to any platform by means of database migrations.

  • Rails allows devs to express the logic of an app in an intuitive way.

Ruby on Rails Cons

  • Can be tricky when it comes to big projects.

  • Requires more processing power.

  • It is slow if compared to other popular technologies.

  • It has big stack frames that make debugging harder.

Node.js Pros and Cons

In order for you to properly compare these two technologies, let's also consider some of the Node.js pros and cons.

Node.js Pros

  • Node.js has powerful basic libraries such as libuv.

  • It is in demand in the IT market.

  • The same language is used on both the client- and server-side.

  • Easy monitoring and support.

  • Provides faster page loading for a website.

Node.js Cons

  • Unstable API.

  • Lack of developers on the market since it is relatively new.

Cleveroad's Experience

Of course, both technologies are good in different ways. However, each developer has their own reasons for choosing one or the other. In our case, these reasons have played in favor of Node.js.

The first one is related to our extensive experience of work with this technology and the second one to its technical aspects. For example, due to its speed and the fact it is asynchronous, we can perform several operations simultaneously while querying.

backend, node js, ruby on rails, web dev

Published at DZone with permission of Nataliia Kharchenko . See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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