Node.js vs. Ruby on Rails
Is Node.js faster than Ruby?
Many companies are integrating Node.js into their mobile application backend stacks. The tech giant Paypal, for example, has doubled its requests per second compared to its Java application. Paypal also observed a 35% decrease in the average response time.
Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails, or more specifically Ruby (the language that Rails is based on), is generally known as a slower technology than Node.js. There are many reasons behind Ruby’s shortcomings in performance.
- Ruby’s Garbage collector (GC) uses a slow algorithm, stopping the application during garbage collection
- High memory consumption for objects and other primitive variables
LinkedIn has seen significant performance degradation with Rails on string manipulation and JSON translation. Upon migration to Node.js, the company has cut down servers from 30 to 3 and gained 20x faster performance for some scenarios.
However, this doesn’t mean Ruby on Rails isn’t worthy of being a backend technology. Ruby’s developers actively engage in addressing any performance issues. For example, the much-awaited Ruby 3 included many performance improvements like concurrency and MJIT. Besides, not every digital project needs the blazing fast speeds of Node.js. The key lies in the number of users to be served.
Scalability is a mobile app’s ability to effectively handle fluctuating user requests per minute. There are a lot of features in Node.js that support scalability. Its latest version has cluster module capability and supports microservices, which means breaking down the app into smaller components. This microservices architecture is then able to scale up and down based on the requirements. Furthermore, Node.js lets you load balance on multiple CPU cores, making the application on single servers scalable.
According to reports, Walmart has successfully transitioned its legacy system to microservices with Node.js as the backend technology. The company has seen a 98% growth in mobile conversion.
RoR supports scalability by optimizing application infrastructure and performance — in other words, you need to increase more resources to get the effect of scalability. Still, several leading tech companies with large user bases like Airbnb, GitHub, and Shopify have RoR in their tech stacks.
With Node.js, developers can build the frontend and the backend of a mobile application using the same language (e.g., with React Native on the front and Node.js on the back). The large number of frameworks, third-party libraries (thanks to the huge repository of npm), and learning resources help developers build mobile applications fast.
For example, there’s TypeScript — a programming language developed by Microsoft to facilitate the development of large applications in Node.js, React, or React Native.
RoR has been designed explicitly for fast prototyping and application development. It has an Object Relational Mapping (ORM) system that you can use to map business logic and the data layer together to develop and deploy a complete and working prototype quickly.
Ruby language itself is very concise and easy to write. Furthermore, you can create a complex application using only a few commands with comprehensive modules, scripts, and a package management system. In addition, there are several third-party libraries or Ruby gems that enable faster development.
Several community forums are available for Node.js mobile app development, such as Github, Stack Overflow, and Reddit. In the 2021 developer survey by Stack Overflow, Node.js scored among the top technologies. Also, many leading tech companies like Facebook and Google have contributed to the Node.js development, making it a reliable and trusted open-source technology.
Ruby on Rails
RoR also has a vibrant community of innovative developers. Several community forums are available for Rails mobile app development, such as Github, Slack, and Gitter. Rails developers are actively engaged in the improvement of the existing functionalities and new feature development. They frequently update the source code, fix bugs, and address security vulnerabilities. With Rails, it’s relatively easy to find the exact piece of code (or gem) you want to incorporate into your application.
Node.js provides full test automation and debugging facilities with its comprehensive set of third-party libraries. Several automated testing frameworks like Mocha, Jasmine, and Jest, Chai, and mobile testing frameworks like webdriverIO are available.
Ruby on Rails
The Ruby community is heavily involved in testing and test automation. Testing is inherent in Ruby on Rails, making it easier for developers to test the code as they develop the backend. Since Ruby is based on the MVC architecture, it can automatically produce skeleton test code while developing the coon. There are many testing frameworks for RoR, e.g., Rspec, Minitest, or Cucumber.