Top 6 Ruby On Rails Alternatives For Your Next Web App

Web development would not be the same without the existence of Ruby on Rails. Ruby on Rails has stayed at the top for a long time in the ever-changing realm of web frameworks.

But everything comes with its own set of limitations. So, we present to you some of the best Ruby on Rails alternatives.

Now, there is nothing wrong with Rails. But with new technology comes exciting new frameworks that surpass all expectations.

Frameworks like Hanami, Django, and Ruby on Rails have changed the way developers work. Elegant coding, reduced development time, and over-the-top plugins are some innovative features introduced in them.

We present to you some of our best recommendations of alternate Ruby on Rails frameworks you can explore.

What is Ruby On Rails?

Ruby on Rails (RoR) is an open-source web development framework based on the Ruby programming language.

Many people generally get confused between Ruby and Ruby on Rails. Ruby on Rails is a server-side framework for developing websites and web applications using Ruby, a high-level programming language. 

Developed in 2004, Rails functions on the MVC (model-view-controller) architecture. It is an interpreted scripting language that provides built-in functions and libraries to make working with Ruby easier.

It is used extensively for server side development of web applications, web pages, and databases. Rails is often combined with major frontend frameworks such as React or Angular for full-stack development.

Ruby on Rails employs these software development practices making it an ideal choice for an adaptable coding environment.

  • Don’t repeat yourself (DRY)
  • Convention over Configuration (CoC)
  • Active Record Pattern

Advantages of Rails

advantages of ruby on rails

Let’s discuss some aspects of Ruby on Rails that make it a widely sought-after web framework even after all this time. 

  1. Open-Source Mature Framework

    With so many years and a committed team of contributors to its name, Ruby on Rails is a mature framework. It has smoothened out almost all the issues after numerous updates and has an extensive range of solutions.

    A mature framework equals stable and refined code, and being open source ensures a steady stream of contributors for Rails developers.

  2. Convention Over Configuration

    Ruby on Rails employs the Convention over Configuration software engineering paradigm.

    There are existing conventions that remove the need for configuration of files at startup, thus saving time. The developers can build robust applications in a short time. 

  3. Time Efficiency

    Rails is the perfect framework when you are working under a strict deadline. It takes the most straightforward path. Always. You can focus on writing clear, concise Ruby code without worrying about background details.

    Plus, there is a massive array of gems for all kinds of common tasks that can save you some valuable time. 

  4. Gems

    The list of products you can build with Ruby is very long due to the ever-growing number of Gems.

    Ruby on Rails Gems are pre-written solutions for several problems that streamline the development process. These Ruby Gems could be an add-on, plugin, library, or software snippet that can be installed with just a few lines of code. 

  5. CRUD

    CRUD stands for Create, Read, Update and Delete in databases. Most web applications would require CRUD operations. Ruby on Rails is, without any doubt, the perfect framework to use when working with large databases, especially if it is CRUD-based.

Want to Create a Web App in Limited Time?

Deadlines are tough. But using RoR, you can develop a feature-rich web app within your time frame.

Disadvantages of Rails

disadvantages of ruby on rails

Although Ruby on Rails is one of the most famous Ruby-based web application frameworks for server side development, it also comes with its fair share of problems and limitations.

Let’s look at some of the disadvantages of using Ruby on Rails as a framework. 

  1. Scalability

    The scalability of Rails has been in question since the infamous switch of Twitter. There are a lot of improvements with recent versions and many practices that can improve the scalability of the code, like code optimization or vertical and horizontal scaling.

    But RoR web apps are just not comparable to other popular frameworks in terms of scalability. 

  2. Flexibility

    To provide a time-efficient developing environment, Rails uses a lot of default structures and set objects. This makes it challenging for developers to execute creative solutions or build out-of-the-box applications.

    Ruby on Rails can be very opinionated, and you would have to either sacrifice creativity or development time.  

  3. Performance

    Ruby on Rails application is high-performing in most cases. But if you are expecting millions of users and require high operating speeds and low load on servers, you should choose one of the other alternatives.

    Such high traffic is not a worry for MVPs or startups, but social sites should avoid using Rails. 

  4. Machine Learning

    Ruby on Rails does not support many of the advanced Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning technologies. Many applications have started integrating ML/AI to provide a better user experience.

    Automated tasks, advanced security (biometrics, Iris scanner), virtual assistants are all thanks to Machine learning. Due to the lack of gems for these techniques, working with Rails on modern apps is tricky.

Although Ruby on Rails has many exceptional functionalities, it is not an ideal choice in all cases.

If you are working on a smaller scale and not battling with strict deadlines, you should use one of the below-mentioned alternative to Ruby on Rails.

Ruby on Rails Alternatives

With such extraordinary technological growth in recent years, it is easy to find a lot of frameworks that act as an alternative to Ruby on Rails. Here, we have created a list of some alternative frameworks that you can use for developing backend applications. 

Many of the mentioned frameworks are based on other high-level programming languages like PHP, JavaScript, and Python that are popular for server side development.

So, you can also explore some of these alternatives to Ruby programming language as well as the Ruby on Rails framework.

Frameworks

Pros

Cons

Use it For

Sintara
  • Sinatra is an open-source Ruby framework
  • minimalistic and clean codes
  • Flexibility
  • Easy to setup
  • Tough for database manipulation
  • It cannot scale well because of its minimalistic nature
  • Does not provide pre-written Gems to do complex things
  • Small projects with less traffic
  • API pullers
  • Companies that use Sinatra- Apple, LinkedIn, Engine Yard, Singbird, GitHub
Hanami
  • Hanami is a Ruby-based framework
  • Small single-purpose library
  • Simple and lightweight in design
  • Designed for high productivity
  • Provides flexibility to the developers to be creative
  • Quick response time
  • Tough for database manipulation
  • Not suitable for rapid prototyping
  • Unfortunately, Hanami is not very popular yet.
  • Hanami doesn’t include much documentation
  • Library support – Not many in-built libraries and resources as Ruby on Rails
  • Hanami is perfect for Minimum value products(MVPs) for startups.
  • You can use Hanami for small or large web applications that require clean, manageable code.
Django
  • Django is an open-source MVC framework for Python
  • Easy and flexible to use
  • Easy data management practices
  • Batteries included philosophy – includes only relevant widgets and standard utilities
  • ORM support – Object Relational Mapping provided is amazing
  • Powerful API development using REST framework
  • Monolithic framework – includes too many built-in elements and lack of dependencies
  • Too bulky for small-scale projects
  • Vast documentation but not very useful and understandable
  • Steep learning curve
  • Lack of conventions
  • Large-scale enterprises
  • Huge apps and websites that have high traffic
  • Great for Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence algorithm implementations
  • Long time applications that require efficient time and data management, and security
  • A good choice for developing CRMs, portals, and APIs
Yii
  • Yii is an open-source, object-oriented framework for PHP
  • Extensible MVC architecture
  • Excellent security for web apps
  • Rapid development through code scaffolding
  • A set of highly intuitive and extensible tools
  • Build optimized apps with the help of elegant caching support, an excellent error handling and logging system
  • Steep learning curve
  • Building many relations between data sets
  • Uses static methods
  • Build large-scale PHP applications
  • Ecommerce apps that require data management and security
Laravel
  • Laravel is a lightweight PHP development platform
  • Open-source, MVC software design
  • Detail-oriented documentation
  • Elegant ORM – Smooth ActiveRecord implementation
  • Artisan – an integrated command-line interface, can be used for building skeletal codes
  • Artisan also makes database system management easy
  • Automated testing, error handling and authentication services
  • lack of technical experts
  • A staggered learning curve – It is not easy to learn for novice developers
  • It has limited built-in elements and utilities
  • Difficulty with some updates – there are issues when new versions are released
  • It can be used for e-commerce, blogging websites, and other database-driven web application
  • Laravel should be preferred when developing for small to medium businesses
  • Companies such as Laracasts, Neighbourhood, Deltanet Travel use Laravel
ASP.NET MVC
  • ASP.NET MVC is an open-source framework by Microsoft written in C#
  • Brings MVC architecture to ASP.NET
  • Highly performative Windows-based full-stack development tool
  • Separation of Concerns(SoC) – clean and manageable organization of code
  • Easy to update and maintain
  • Clean model classes
  • Supports many external databases engines
  • Challenging to convert older applications into ASP.NET
  • Latest updates – Some conflicts between old and new versions
  • Third-party integration is complex
  • Steep learning curve
  • Developing lightweight and easy to test web application
  • HTML control- When you prefer doing your own markups
  • StackOverflow, Microsoft, GoDaddy, and Dell are some of the few enterprises that use ASP.NET for their development needs

Have a Web App Idea in Mind?

We’re Interested. Let’s talk. We can get your idea validated by professionals and start planning the development timeline.

Hanami is the closest to Rails in terms of working and is considered to be an improved version of Rails. If you want something like Rails in terms of functionalities and performance but more lightweight and scalable, you should use Hanami. 

Sinatra, on the other hand, is a minor version of Rails. If you want to create simple and small applications without the need for fancy features and designs, we would recommend Sinatra. 

We advocate using Asp.net MVC if you’re going to build lightweight Windows-based applications and require comfortable testing conditions and HTML customization.    

Django is to Python what Rails is to Ruby. If you are looking for an alternative of Ruby, maybe something that works cross-platform, and enables full-stack development, Python is a good option. If you decide on Python, Django is your go-to framework as it won’t require frontend frameworks.

Finally, if you decide to use PHP language, you should opt for either Laravel or Yii. If you are developing large-scale heavy applications, you should use Yii because of its intuitive tools and MVC design architecture. For smaller-scale applications or websites that require the handling of vast datasets, we would suggest Laravel as a Rails alternative.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Ruby on Rails worth using in 2021?

Yes. Although there has been a decline in Rails users over the past few years, it is still one of the top web development frameworks. If you are using Ruby, Rails is a framework you will have to use regardless of the alternative frameworks available. Check out our blog, Why Ruby On Rails is the Best Choice, for a more detailed analysis.

Is Ruby better than PHP and Python?

All three are equally good high-level programming languages. If you want to build robust business and E-commerce apps, we would suggest using Ruby. Python will support you every step of the way when you are developing complex web apps. PHP is recommended when designing server-side applications and content management systems (CMS).


Conclusion

We have discussed some alternative choices to Ruby on Rails in this blog. All types of frameworks have their own pros and cons, including Ruby on Rails.

While Rails can be great at developing backend applications that are robust and performative, Hanami would be better for a more lightweight app, and Sinatra would be ideal for small-scale websites. 

Your web framework choice depends mainly on the-

  • language your developers prefer to work in
  • your business logic model
  • kind of application you require
  • time and budget constraints for your project.

It is a lengthy but essential process as it defines your product in the long term.

We, at Monocubed, can assist you in finding your ideal framework for your project. Our team of Rails developers are here to serve you with the most suitable solution. You can contact us for any web development-related queries.

To get more information, check out our blogs, Ruby on Rails VS PHP and Ruby on Rails VS JavaScript, for a more in-depth comparison of these development frameworks.

  • 0
Author Bio
Jigar Mistry
Jigar Mistry
Designation: CTO - Monocubed

Jigar Mistry is the CTO of Monocubed and is the main curator and writer of the content found on this site. He has 14+ years of experience in the information technology industry. He always believes in quality, in terms of code and application.