Ruby on Rails vs NodeJS

Ruby on Rails vs NodeJS: Which One to Choose?

Posted by Rashi Jaitly

23 Aug 22 8 Min read

With the advancement of web applications, it has become important for developers to choose the right technologies for building the front and back ends of their web-based applications.

When looking at the different technologies available for the front end of your website, it's not too hard to decide. When it comes to front-end development technologies, CSS, HTML5, and JavaScript are the most popular choices. However, for back-end technology, many options are available. Different options make it difficult to understand which technology may provide favorable results.

NodeJS and Ruby on Rails have been gaining popularity lately as leading back end languages. In this blog, you will understand the strengths and weaknesses of Ruby on Rails vs NodeJS and how they will impact your next project.

What is Ruby on Rails?

Ruby on Rails (often abbreviated as Rails) is a web application framework written in Ruby. It is a full-stack model view controller (MVC) framework, providing default structures for a database, a web server, and a web application. It encourages and facilitates using web standards such as JSON or XML for data transfer, HTML (for rendering user interfaces), and CSS (for styling).

Rails is an excellent framework for developing database-backed web applications. It is efficient and uses well-known software engineering patterns, including Convention over Configuration (CoC), Don't Repeat Yourself (DRY), and the Active Record pattern.

Ruby on Rails has had a big impact on web app development since it first came out in 2005. It was one of the first frameworks to offer features like seamless database table creation, migrations, and scaffolding of views, which made rapid application development possible.

Other frameworks have borrowed ideas from Ruby on Rails, and you can see its influence today in frameworks like Django (Python), Catalyst (Perl), Laravel, CakePHP and Yii (PHP), Grails (Groovy), Phoenix (Elixir), Play (Scala), and Sails.js (NodeJS).

Also read: Ruby on Rails for Web Development

What is NodeJS?

NodeJS is a platform built on Chrome's JavaScript runtime for easily building fast, scalable network applications. NodeJS uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model.

NodeJS makes it lightweight and efficient, perfect for data-intensive real-time applications that run across distributed devices.

The server-side runtime environment is a real-time JavaScript application that can run across distributed systems like Linux, Microsoft Windows, and OSx. Its applications are written in JavaScript, making web development much easier. Additionally, there are many helpful JavaScript libraries available through npm websites.

Also, read: Node.js Tutorial for Beginners

8 Differences between Ruby on Rails and NodeJS

CriteriaRuby on RailsNodeJS


Rails provides web developers with the ability to quickly develop robust web applications and websites using the Ruby language.

NodeJS is a platform built on Chrome's JavaScript runtime for easily building fast, scalable network applications.

Best suited for

Rails is a web application framework perfect for database-backed web applications that follow the MVC pattern. Additionally, Rails is great for metaprogramming

Node JS is best suited for developing small-size projects or applications with a lot of input/output and is event-based.


Rails uses a multi-threaded architecture. In multi-threaded architectures such as Ruby on Rails, multiple requests can be processed at once without waiting for each other. This makes the application more responsive and, therefore, more user-friendly.

NodeJS is faster than Ruby on Rails because it uses a single-threaded architecture. In single-threaded architectures, only one request can be processed at a time by a server. Therefore, if multiple requests come in simultaneously, they must wait their turn before being processed.


Rails is a bit more difficult to install than NodeJS, which can be as easy as extracting some archive files onto your system. With Rails, you must install many dependencies and generators along with the main framework.

NodeJS is easier to install. While the learning curve of NodeJS is less than that of Rails, it's flexible and understandable for developers with no prior background.


Ruby on Rails is often lauded for its speed and lightness compared to NodeJS since you can perform tasks such as database migration in a few commands.

NodeJS takes more time to deploy an application as you need to search for modules and follow specific instructions to integrate them with your app.

Market demand

Although Ruby on Rails was once one of the most popular web development frameworks, it has since been eclipsed by NodeJS in recent years.

NodeJS has a much larger user base that is only growing exponentially.

It is highly in demand.


Ruby on Rails is a server-side framework that enables developers to create web applications more easily and with less code than most other programming languages.

NodeJS is a popular JavaScript runtime used for both client-side and server-side development.

Project pricing

Rails is known for being able to help developers create their projects faster, and because of that, it generally costs less.

NodeJS takes longer to develop applications and thus tends to cost more.

Top Features of Ruby on Rails

1. MVC architecture

An MVC is a design pattern used in software engineering that separates an application into three interconnected parts: model (data), view (presentation), and controller (logic). With the MVC architecture, you can easily change each part without affecting the others. This MVC architecture makes developing and maintaining applications easier.

2. Active record

The Active Record pattern is one of the most important features of RoR. It allows developers to build objects that interact with databases via the Ruby programming language. The objects can be created using classes, representing tables in a database or rows in a table. Using these classes, developers can access information stored in databases without writing SQL queries or any other low-level code.

3. Convention over configuration

Ruby on Rails is appropriate for avoiding configuration files - something that can often bog down other software systems, including Java web application frameworks. With Ruby on Rails, you don't have to spend time setting up config files and can instead focus on more pressing matters. This is all thanks to the "Convention over Configuration" feature, which automatically assigns values without user intervention.

4. Automated deployment

With Ruby on Rails, you can quickly deploy your application to any server without manually doing everything yourself. The framework makes it easy to set up automated deployment processes that allow you to run your code in production with just one command. This saves you time and effort when deploying new versions of your application.

Top features of NodeJS

1. Cross-platform compatibility

NodeJS runs on Windows, Linux, and OS X. Most developers use it for building web applications because of its cross-platform compatibility. You can also use it for non-web applications such as command line tools or desktop apps.

2. One coding language for front end and back end

The main advantage of using NodeJS is that it allows developers to use only one set of code for both front end and back end development. This reduces development time as well as costs significantly. With other frameworks, developers have to write different code for each area of application development, but with NodeJS, you can write all your code once and use it for both ends.

3. V8 Engine

The V8 Engine was designed to work with Chrome but has since been adapted for web app development. The V8 Engine can translate JavaScript into machine code with the help of C++. This makes the V8 Engine very helpful for servers and products based on machine code.

4. Quick deployment and microservice development

NodeJS is a powerful asset for any business looking to release their products faster. By lightening the load of unnecessary data, NodeJS allows developers to focus on building innovative applications quickly and efficiently. Consequently, this has become the preferred choice for many businesses as they strive to get a leg up in today's competitive market.

NodeJS helps with the development of microservices by being able to quickly process data and provide non-locking algorithms. This is beneficial because microservices often need to be able to handle a lot of data at once without running into any errors.

Also, read: Hire Dedicated Nodejs Developers for Your Project​ ​


Ruby on Rails and NodeJS frameworks are great for web development, and their load time is lightning fast compared to other languages. But they have their differences in programming languages and their features, performance, and hosting. Ruby on Rails has maximum flexibility, while NodeJS has more easy tech capability.

If your team is adept at JavaScript, then NodeJS development may be a better fit for you, even if you were planning on using Ruby. If your team is not as proficient with JavaScript, then you will likely be better off using Rails, as it offers more structure and stability.