Ruby vs Ruby on Rails: Find Out The Differences

Ruby vs Ruby on Rails: Find Out The Differences

We understand that many people always wonder, Is Ruby And Ruby On Rails The Same? And if not, then what are the real differences between Ruby vs Ruby on Rails? 

As an experienced Ruby on Rails development company, We are here to solve all of your queries!!

In web development, people often associate Ruby and Ruby on Rails with different purposes, as they play distinct roles within the development landscape. 

While both are related and often used together, it’s important to understand their individual roles and differences. 

Let’s delve into the nuances that set Ruby vs Ruby on Rails apart.

Ruby: A Dynamic Programming Language

Ruby is a dynamic, object-oriented programming language known for its simplicity and flexibility. 

Created by Yukihiro Matsumoto in the mid-1990s, Ruby focuses on developer productivity and code readability. Its syntax is designed to be natural and intuitive, resembling spoken language. 

This makes Ruby an ideal choice for various programming tasks beyond web development, such as scripting, automation, and software development.

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Here, we have listed the top characteristics of Ruby, have a look:

Key Characteristics of Ruby


Everything in Ruby is an object, making it easy to structure and manipulate data.

Dynamic Typing

Ruby is dynamically typed, allowing variables to change types during runtime.

Garbage Collection

Ruby handles memory management through automatic garbage collection.


Ruby’s powerful metaprogramming capabilities enable code to modify and define new behaviours at runtime.


RubyGems are packages that provide additional functionality to Ruby applications.

Want to know what Ruby on Rails is? Go through the next section!

Ruby on Rails (Rails): A Web Application Framework

People often call Ruby on Rails simply Rails, and developers constructed this web application framework using the Ruby programming language.

It was developed by David Heinemeier Hansson and released in 2005. 

Rails simplifies the process of building dynamic, database-driven web applications by providing a structured framework and a set of conventions.

Let’s explore the features that the Rails framework offers for web app development.

Key Features of Ruby on Rails

Convention over Configuration

Rails enforces conventions for structuring code, reducing the need for explicit configuration.

Model-View-Controller (MVC) Architecture

Rails follows the MVC pattern, separating application logic into distinct components for easier management.

Active Record

Rails’ ORM (Object-Relational Mapping) system, known as Active Record, streamlines database interactions.

RESTful Routing

Rails encourages RESTful design principles for creating clean and predictable URLs and actions.


Rails offers scaffolding tools to automatically generate basic code for CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) operations.

Gems and Plugins

The Rails ecosystem boasts a wide range of gems and plugins that extend its functionality.

There are numerous ROR companies who will give service to hire best ruby on rails developers to fetch advantages of all these key features in your web app development.

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The Difference: Ruby vs Ruby on Rails

Launched in 1995, Ruby is an object-oriented scripting language.A web app development framework built on the MVC model is called Ruby on Rails.
As a general-purpose programming language, it is referred to.However, it is recognized as a framework for data-driven web applications.
Ruby has been created with the help of the C programming language.Rails is written in Ruby programming language.
This programming language is regarded as secure and safe.                                                                                                                                      While being seen as more secure than Ruby.
Ruby is a programming language not a framework.Rails is a web development framework.
Ruby is frequently employed in the creation of static websites.Ruby on Rails is generally not advised for static website creation.
Smalltalk and Perl are acknowledged as being Ruby’s primary sources of inspiration.According to some, Django, Python’s Laravel, and PHP served as influences for Ruby on Rails.
Desktop apps are created using the Ruby programming language.Although it is employed to create web apps.
It was created using the user interface design principle.Rails follows DRY (Do not Repeat Yourself) and COC (Convention Over Configuration) principles.
Ruby has similar syntax as Perl and Python.Rails has similar syntax as Phoenix in Elixir, Python.
Mostly C++, Java, and are utilized for developing applications.The most common languages used while creating applications are XML, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
Top Ruby-using businesses include Github, Twitter, AirBnB, SCRIBD, SlideShare, Fiverr, etc.Top businesses using Ruby on Rails include Bloomberg, Crunchbase, Zendesk, PIXLR, and others.

From above table we can say that the primary distinction between Ruby vs Ruby on Rails is lies in their roles:

Ruby, a programming language, serves various applications, ranging from scripting to software development.

Ruby on Rails (Rails) has developed a web application framework using the Ruby language.

It provides a structured way to develop web applications, emphasizing conventions and rapid development.

Ruby and Ruby on Rails have interconnections in web development, but they serve distinct purposes.

Ruby serves as the programming language, and Ruby on Rails is a framework that developers use on top of Ruby to streamline web application development.

Understanding this difference is crucial for anyone looking to embark on a web development journey.

App Example Built With Ruby Programming Language

Here’s an example of a simple to-do list application built with Ruby programming language:

class Task

  attr_accessor :title, :completed

  def initialize(title)

    @title = title

    @completed = false


  def complete

    @completed = true

    puts “Task ‘#{@title}’ has been completed!”


  def display

    status = @completed ? “[X]” : “[ ]”

    puts “#{status} #{@title}”



class ToDoList

  def initialize

    @tasks = []


  def add_task(title)

    task =

    @tasks << task

    puts “Task ‘#{title}’ has been added to the to-do list.”


  def complete_task(index)

    if index >= 0 && index < @tasks.length



      puts “Invalid task index.”



  def display_tasks

    if @tasks.empty?

      puts “No tasks in the to-do list.”


      puts “To-Do List:”

      @tasks.each_with_index { |task, index| task.display }




# Main program

todo_list =

loop do

  puts “1. Add task”

  puts “2. Complete task”

  puts “3. Display tasks”

  puts “4. Exit”

  print “Choose an option: “

  choice = gets.chomp.to_i

  case choice

  when 1

    print “Enter task title: “

    title = gets.chomp


  when 2

    print “Enter task index to complete: “

    index = gets.chomp.to_i


  when 3


  when 4

    puts “Goodbye!”



    puts “Invalid choice. Please choose a valid option.”


  puts “\n”


Copy and paste this code into a Ruby file (e.g., todo_app.rb) and run it using the command ruby todo_app.rb. 

This code creates a simple to-do list application where you can add tasks, mark tasks as completed, and display the list of tasks.

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App Example Built With Rails Framework

Application Name: TaskTracker


TaskTracker is a web application that allows users to create and manage their tasks in an organized manner.


  • User Authentication: Users can sign up, log in, and log out. Device gem can be used to handle user authentication.
  • Task Management: Once logged in, users can create, edit, and delete tasks.
  • Task Categories: Users can categorize tasks into different categories such as “Personal”, “Work”, “Errands”, etc.
  • Task Status: Each task can have a status like “To Do”, “In Progress”, or “Completed”.
  • Task Due Dates: Users can set due dates for tasks. Tasks approaching their due dates are highlighted.
  • Task Prioritization: Users can assign priorities to tasks like “High”, “Medium”, or “Low”.
  • User Dashboard: A dashboard displays the user’s tasks, sorted by categories and priorities, providing a quick overview.
  • Search and Filters: Users can search for tasks and filter them based on categories, priorities, and status.
  • Notifications: Users receive email notifications when a task is due or when changes are made to their tasks.


  • Ruby on Rails: The core framework for building the application.
  • Device Gem: For handling user authentication.
  • Bootstrap or Tailwind CSS: For responsive and stylish user interface design.
  • SQLite or PostgreSQL: As the database to store user information and tasks.
  • ActionMailer: For sending email notifications to users.

Example Routes:

  • ‘/’ : Home page displaying an overview of tasks and a login/sign-up button.
  • ‘/tasks’ : Lists all tasks.
  • ‘/tasks/new’ : Form to create a new task.
  • ‘/tasks/:id’ : Displays details of a specific task.
  • ‘/tasks/:id/edit’ : Allows editing an existing task.

Database Structure:

  • ‘Users’ table : id, email, password_digest, created_at, updated_at
  • ‘Tasks’ table : id, user_id, title, description, category, status, priority, due_date, created_at, updated_at

This example demonstrates the basic structure of a task management web application built with Ruby on Rails. 

Depending on your requirements, you can expand and customize the features, design, and functionality. 

Remember to install necessary gems, set up routes, controllers, and views to build a complete application.

If you are really looking forward to developing a Ruby on Rails application, then you should connect with a Ruby on Rails consulting agency like RORBits for proper guidance and full assistance throughout the app development. 

Benefits Offered By Ruby

The dynamic programming language Ruby, which is open-source, has a reputation for its simplicity and efficiency. It has a number of advantages that make it a well-liked option among developers.

Here are some of the benefits offered by Ruby:

Readable and Elegant Syntax

Ruby’s syntax is designed to be human-readable and elegant. 

It emphasizes code readability and aims to make programming enjoyable and intuitive.


Ruby’s concise and expressive syntax allows developers to write code more quickly and with fewer lines compared to some other programming languages. Increased productivity and shorter development cycles may result from this.

Rich Standard Library

Ruby comes with a robust standard library that includes a wide range of built-in classes and modules. 

This reduces the need to rely on external libraries for common tasks, which can simplify development.

Gems and Libraries

RubyGems is a package manager for Ruby that allows developers to easily install, manage, and share libraries (called gems) for various purposes. 

This extensive ecosystem of gems accelerates development by providing pre-built solutions to common problems.

Rails Framework

Ruby on Rails is a well-known web application framework created with Ruby.

Rails follows the “convention over configuration” philosophy and provides tools and patterns to streamline web development, making it one of the driving forces behind Ruby’s popularity.

Community and Documentation

Ruby has a vibrant and active community of developers who contribute to its growth. 

This community support translates into extensive documentation, tutorials, and resources that can help developers of all skill levels.

Cross-Platform Compatibility

Ruby is available on multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, and various Unix-like systems. 

This makes it versatile for developing applications across different environments.


Ruby’s flexibility allows developers to dynamically modify and extend its core classes and behaviour. 

This can be powerful for creating domain-specific languages (DSLs) or customizing the language to suit specific needs.

Testing and TDD

Ruby has a strong culture of testing, and tools like RSpec and minitest make it easy to practice Test-Driven Development (TDD), which can lead to more reliable and maintainable code.

Let’s explore the Rails benefits to magnify the difference of Ruby vs Ruby on Rails.

Benefits Offered By Rails Framework

People often refer to Ruby on Rails as Rails, and it remains a popular open-source web framework known for its simplicity, flexibility, and developer-friendly features. It offers a range of benefits to developers and businesses alike. 

Here are some of the key benefits offered by Rails:

Developer Productivity

Rails follows the principle of “Convention over Configuration” (CoC) and “Don’t Repeat Yourself” (DRY), which reduces the need for developers to write repetitive code and make numerous configuration decisions. As a result, work is sped up and boilerplate code is reduced.

Rapid Development

Rails provides a wide range of built-in tools, libraries, and generators that simplify the development process. 

Developers can quickly create features, set up databases, and handle common tasks without reinventing the wheel.


While developers often associate Rails with rapid development, it can also handle complex and large-scale applications effectively.

With the right architecture and optimizations, Rails applications can scale effectively.

Active Record

Rails includes an Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) layer called Active Record, which simplifies database interactions. 

It allows developers to work with databases using Ruby objects, reducing the need to write SQL queries manually.

Modular Architecture

Developers create Rails applications with a modular architecture, simplifying the separation of concerns and the maintenance of various application components. This promotes code organization and reusability.

Community and Documentation

Rails has a large and active community of developers who contribute to its ongoing development and offer support through forums, blogs, and documentation. 

This community-driven approach ensures that developers have access to resources and solutions.

Security Features

Ruby on Rails security incorporates best practices by default, helping developers avoid common security pitfalls. 

It provides measures to protect against common vulnerabilities like SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and cross-site request forgery (CSRF).

Testing Framework

Rails comes with a built-in testing framework that encourages Test-Driven Development (TDD) and Behavior-Driven Development (BDD). 

This makes it easier to write and maintain tests to ensure the stability and reliability of your application.

Agile Development

Rails suits Agile development practices well due to its iterative development approach, rapid feedback cycles, and its ability to easily accommodate changes as project requirements evolve.


Rails’ open-source nature eliminates the need for expensive licensing fees. 

It can help startups and small businesses build robust web applications without high initial costs.

RESTful Architecture

Rails incorporates REST (Representational State Transfer) principles into its design, promoting a clear and consistent approach to designing APIs and web services. This contributes to maintainable and easily consumable APIs.


In conclusion, understanding Ruby vs Ruby on Rails is essential for anyone venturing into web development or seeking to enhance their programming skills. 

Ruby serves as a versatile and expressive programming language known for its readability and ease of use. It empowers developers to create robust applications efficiently. 

On the flip side, Ruby on Rails, often simply referred to as Rails, constitutes a potent web development framework constructed atop Ruby. 

Rails streamlines the process of building web applications by providing a structured environment, automating common tasks, and promoting the use of best practices.

Choosing between Ruby vs Ruby on Rails depends on the scope and requirements of the project. 

If you’re looking for a flexible programming language with a gentle learning curve, Ruby might be the ideal choice. 

However, if your focus is on rapidly developing feature-rich web applications with conventions that encourage productivity and maintainability, then Ruby on Rails could be the way to go. 

Both technologies possess their strengths and find extensive use in the tech industry, so choosing the right one requires you to consider your project’s specific needs.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

No, they are not the same. Ruby is a programming language, while Ruby on Rails is a web development framework built using the Ruby language. Ruby provides the foundation, and Ruby on Rails builds on that foundation to simplify web application development.

No, there are other web development frameworks for Ruby as well, although Ruby on Rails is the most well-known and widely used. Some examples of other Ruby web frameworks include Sinatra and Hanami.

Yes, you can definitely use Ruby without Ruby on Rails. Ruby is a standalone programming language that can be used for a variety of purposes beyond web development. You can create scripts, build desktop applications, and more using Ruby.

Ruby on Rails remained popular for web application development, especially for startups and companies seeking rapid development. However, popularity can vary over time due to evolving technology trends.

Yes, having a good understanding of Ruby will provide a strong foundation for learning Ruby on Rails. Since Rails is built using Ruby, familiarity with the language's syntax and concepts will make it easier to grasp the framework's principles and conventions.

Mitul Patel
Mitul Patel

Mitul Patel, Founded RORBits, one of the Top Software Development Company in 2011 offer mobile app development services across the globe. His visionary leadership and flamboyant management style have yield fruitful results for the company.

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