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Despite their similarities, Elixir and Ruby have distinctive features that can affect the development and performance of a product. So, let’s go over the comparison between Elixir and Ruby to help you decide which is the best option for your project needs.
It is much easier to make a decision when you know what is important to you. Whether it’s your vacation or the programming language for an upcoming project, you should always choose the option that best suits your needs. After all, while skiing is great, it won’t be the best option if you want to soak up the sun on warm, sandy beaches.
With that said, let’s focus on discussing two prominent programming language options: Elixir vs. Ruby. Both offer great, even similar features (just like both vacation spots provide fun spots), but they also have different strengths (you certainly can’t enjoy sandy beaches in the mountains).
What is Ruby?
Ruby is an object-oriented programming language, created in 1993 by Yukihiro Matsumoto. Matsumoto placed the greatest emphasis on productivity and simplicity of programming, making Ruby “a developer’s best friend.” Due to its user-friendly qualities, the language allows engineers to work quickly and achieve so much with so little code.
What is elixir?
Elixir is a functional programming language created by José Valim in 2011. Inspired by Ruby’s ease of use and Erlang’s fault tolerance, Elixir inherits a Ruby-like syntax and runs on Erlang’s BEAM virtual machine. In this way, José created a solution that allows rapid development of reliable and fault-tolerant programs.
Elixir vs. Ruby: Comparison
Let’s start our comparison between Elixir and Ruby by looking at Elixir’s features.
Advantages of the elixir
Built-in concurrency support
This is thanks to the Erlang VM features, which are known for managing concurrent connections. Therefore, Elixir allows engineers to create programs that efficiently handle multiple processes at the same time.
Allows scalable solutions
Elixir excels when it comes to handling large data loads. As traffic increases, Elixir-powered systems adapt to the new demand for bandwidth without adding additional servers. Since many modern programs face scaling challenges, Elixir’s scalability comes in handy.
High fault tolerance
Elixir comes with a set of tools that makes it easy to write fault-tolerant programs. These “safety mechanisms” allow the program to run as expected despite unexpected events. For example, the system will return to its original form if one of the components fails.
Cons of Elixir
Narrow talent pool
Elixir is a relatively young language, so its talent pool is still relatively narrow. However, since Elixir borrows many features from Ruby and Erlang, most engineers of these languages can start using Elixir in a few days or weeks, although they will still need training.
The Elixir ecosystem lacks the resources available in more established languages. Of course, engineers have access to a lot of basic reusable functionality, but there is still room for improvement in the available libraries.
Adaptation to functional programming
Most people code in object-oriented languages like Java or Python, so adapting to Elixir’s functional programming can be challenging. However, once developers master Elixir’s modules and features, they can enjoy super easy and efficient coding.
It’s time for the second part of the Elixir vs. Ruby: the pros and cons of Ruby.
Productive and fun coding
As we mentioned, Matsumoto designed Ruby to be a productive language that would make programming fast and fun. And he certainly did it, as developers love Ruby’s simple yet powerful syntax, which allows them to create complex solutions with minimal code.
The most popular Ruby framework, Ruby on Rails, was released in 2003, revolutionizing the world of web development. In addition to facilitating fast and effective software engineering, it also has a mature ecosystem with well-established standard solutions for various challenges.
According to the February 2023 TIOBE Index, Ruby is the 16th most popular programming language. Therefore, there are many job openings for Ruby engineers, as well as experienced and trained Ruby developers available for hire.
Lack of threading and concurrency support.
Ruby allows only one active thread at a time. Therefore, the language is not ideal for developing concurrent applications. Quite simply, without built-in concurrency support, developers cannot adequately handle high-traffic solutions.
Ruby employs numerous processes “behind the scenes” to keep code simple and engineers productive. But, when less experienced developers don’t know what’s going on on the other side of “the curtain,” it can lead to a host of maintenance challenges.
In most cases, Ruby’s performance relies on the developer’s experience writing code efficiently. However, if you are building a high-traffic application, remember that Ruby is not the best choice for the task.
Elixir vs. Ruby: which one to choose?
As with most decisions, there is no definitive answer. It all depends on your specific needs.
Use Elixir if you need scalable solutions that can handle concurrency and large data loads. On the other hand, you can trust Ruby when designing a prototype or a small application (and you are 100% sure that it will never have too many users!).
Here’s a brief overview of various services and whether they’re okay with Ruby or whether you should go for Elixir.
Ruby Use Cases:
- MVP (minimum viable products)
- Application concepts
elixir use cases:
It’s important to note that you can use Elixir for MVP and other typical Ruby use cases. But Ruby’s performance can’t match Elixir’s applications. This makes Elixir a great choice if you want the productivity of Ruby with improved scalability, fault tolerance, and concurrency.
Of course, the final decision should be yours, based on your project requirements. We hope this comparison between Elixir and Ruby will help you select the best option!
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