Difference between Ruby and Ruby on Rails

Nov 7, 2020


When it comes to web development, two terms frequently mentioned are Ruby and Ruby on Rails. While both are associated with web development, they have distinct differences and purposes. In this article, provided by Your SEO Geek, a leading SEO agency in Buffalo, we will explore in detail the differences between Ruby and Ruby on Rails, demystifying these concepts for you.

What is Ruby?

Ruby is a dynamic, open-source programming language known for its simplicity and readability. Developed by Yukihiro Matsumoto in the 1990s, Ruby is designed to prioritize programmer happiness, emphasizing intuitive and elegant syntax. It has gained popularity among developers due to its flexible nature and strong community support.

What is Ruby on Rails?

Ruby on Rails, often referred to simply as Rails, is a web application framework built using the Ruby programming language. Created by David Heinemeier Hansson, Rails has been widely adopted due to its focus on convention over configuration, which streamlines the development process. Rails follows the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architectural pattern, providing a structured framework for developers to create robust web applications.

Key Differences

Syntax and Use

One of the primary distinctions between Ruby and Ruby on Rails lies in their purpose and usage. Ruby is a general-purpose language that enables developers to build a wide range of applications, including scripts, web applications, and mobile apps. It excels in writing concise, expressive code that is easy to read and maintain.

Ruby on Rails, on the other hand, is a web framework that utilizes the Ruby programming language as its foundation. It provides a set of rules, conventions, and tools to aid developers in building web applications rapidly. Rails incorporates features such as scaffolding, which generates a basic application structure, making it ideal for web development projects.

Development Speed

Thanks to its convention over configuration principle, Ruby on Rails allows developers to build web applications quickly and efficiently. By emphasizing sensible defaults and enforcing conventions, Rails eliminates the need for manual configuration, reducing development time and effort. The framework handles many complex tasks, such as database migrations and routing, saving developers valuable time that can be allocated to building core application features.

Ruby itself, while versatile and highly expressive, does not offer the same level of abstraction as Rails. Developers working solely with Ruby have more freedom and flexibility, but they also need to implement more low-level details, which can be time-consuming in larger-scale projects. It is worth noting that Ruby is still a powerful language for developing various types of applications.

Community and Ecosystem

Both Ruby and Ruby on Rails boast vibrant and supportive communities. The Ruby community has fostered numerous open-source libraries and gems that extend the language's functionality. These gems cover a wide range of domains, offering developers ready-to-use solutions for common tasks, saving time and effort.

Ruby on Rails has an equally robust ecosystem, with a vast collection of gems specifically tailored to web development. These gems provide extensive functionality, from user authentication to handling file uploads, making development more efficient. The Rails community is known for its commitment to best practices and continuous improvement, ensuring the framework remains up-to-date and secure.


In summary, both Ruby and Ruby on Rails serve different purposes in the web development landscape. Ruby is a versatile programming language known for its elegance and readability, suitable for various types of applications. Ruby on Rails is a web application framework built on Ruby, focusing on efficient web development through convention over configuration.

As a leading SEO agency in Buffalo, Your SEO Geek understands the importance of staying up-to-date with the latest technological advancements. Whether you require assistance with Ruby, Ruby on Rails, or any other aspects of web development, we are here to support your business. Contact our experienced team today to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your digital goals.


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