Ruby vs JavaScript: A Complete Comparison

Ruby vs JavaScript – comparison guide. Learn about the pros and cons of Ruby vs JavaScript for scraping web data.
10 min read
Ruby vs Javascript

In this Ruby vs JavaScript in-depth comparison article, you will learn:

  • What the two languages are 
  • How popular they are in the IT community
  • Their advantages and disadvantages
  • How they differ in terms of performance, scalability, and learning curve
  • Which is best for web scraping

Let’s dive in!

Ruby vs JavaScript: Introduction to the Two Languages

As of this writing, according to Statista, JavaScript is the most used programming language in the world. The same cannot be said for Ruby, which is not even in the top 10. This does not mean that JavaScript is inherently better than Ruby. They simply have different use cases.

JavaScript is the king of web development. In particular, it features some of the most powerful frontend frameworks, such as React, Angular, and Vue. It also supports backend development through Node.js. In contrast, Ruby is focused primarily on providing a developer-friendly experience for backend developers. That is particularly true in the context of web applications, where frameworks such as Ruby on Rails thrive.

If you are eager to see a high-level comparison of the two languages, take a look at the JavaScript vs Ruby table below:

Category Ruby JavaScript
⌨ Syntax Intuitive and easy-to-read Simple
⌚ Performance Slow Fast
🌐 Ecosystem Great, with more than 170K libraries available One of the largest in the IT industry, with millions of libraries available
🧰 Frameworks Ruby on Rails Angular, React, Next.js, Vue, Express, Nuxt, and many others 
👥 Community Good, but declining in numbers Probably the largest and the most active in the world
📈 Scalability Limited with Ruby on Rails Great with Node.js
🕸 Web Scraping Possible, but supported by only a handful of libraries Possible and supported by many useful libraries

Ruby: Features, Main Aspects, Frameworks

Ruby is a general-purpose, dynamically typed, open-source programming language that relies on just-in-time (JIT) compilation. It was released officially in 1995 by Yukihiro Matsumoto, a Japanese developer. Ruby is mostly used with the Ruby on Rails framework to develop backend web applications. An in-depth comparison of Ruby on Rails vs JavaScript frameworks would take too long, but you can find excellent resources online. 

In Ruby, packages developed by the community are called “gems” and are available via the RubyGems package manager. At the time of writing, there are more than 170k gems for download.

These are the main aspects and features offered by the programming language:

  • Object-oriented programming: Ruby is a pure object-oriented language where everything appears to the language as an object. Yet, it does support many other paradigms, including functional, imperative, and reflective.
  • Concise and expressive syntax: Ruby is celebrated for its elegant and expressive syntax. It focuses on the developer’s experience by enabling concise and readable code, reducing the need for boilerplate.
  • Dynamic typing: Variables do not have predefined types, supporting flexible and fluid development. This is a common aspect in the Ruby vs JavaScript arena.
  • Duck typing: It focuses on the object’s behavior rather than its type. This enhances flexibility and encourages a more natural and intuitive coding style. The motto of duck typing is “If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck.”
  • Rich standard library: Ruby has a long history as a scripting language, which means that the standard library provides a lot of functionality, from file I/O to networking.
  • Garbage collection: It integrates automatic memory management with built-in garbage collection, simplifying memory handling and reducing the risk of memory leaks.
  • Meta-programming capabilities: You can employ the language to write code that dynamically writes other code at runtime.

JavaScript: Features, Main Aspects, Frameworks

JavaScript, also known as “JS,” is a high-level programming language that represents one of the core technologies of the World Wide Web. As of 2023, more than 60% of worldwide developers use JavaScript. For example, the npm package manager alone counts more than 1 million packages. Thus, it should come as no surprise that the top 5 most used web frameworks are all based on JavaScript. The reason is that browsers can run JavaScript natively, making it an ideal language for creating responsive and interactive user interfaces. 

With Node.js, you can also use it for backend development. That implies having the same language for both the frontend and the backend, with all the advantages this brings.

When you think of JavaScript, this is what should come to your mind:

  • Extreme versatility: JavaScript is known for its diverse use cases, from frontend development, to backend development, to scripting.
  • Dynamic typing: Similar to Ruby, JavaScript is dynamically typed. Variable types can change during runtime, providing developers with a high degree of freedom.
  • Browser support: It is an interpreted language that is executed by web browsers regardless of the platform, improving agility and portability.
  • Asynchronous programming: JavaScript excels in handling asynchronous operations through the async/await syntax. This makes it ideal for building responsive and interactive web applications.
  • Extensive standard library for the Web: It features a robust standard library designed for web development, offering features such as DOM manipulation, event handling, and AJAX support. Its purpose is to provide interactivity and dynamic behavior to websites.
  • Popular frameworks: It represents the backbone of modern web development, serving as the main language for both frontend and backend development. React, Angular, Node.js, Express, Vue, and Next.js are just a few of the frameworks and libraries that rely on JavaScript.
  • Large community: JavaScript boasts one of the largest and most active communities. This global network of developers contributes to the evolution of the language and supports a plethora of pacakges.

Ruby and JavaScript: Pros

Explore the major strengths of the two programming languages. What better way to delve into the JavaScript vs Ruby comparison?

👍 Ruby

  • Open source.
  • Developer-oriented syntax.
  • Prioritizes developer happiness thanks to its focus on simplicity.
  • Fast development, for significant productivity gains.
  • Adheres to standards.
  • Great for scripting.
  • Highly secure, especially when used with Ruby on Rails.
  • A friendly community.

👍 JavaScript

  • Fast.
  • Extremely popular.
  • Can run natively in the browser.
  • Easy syntax.
  • For both frontend and backend development.
  • Many more libraries available when compared to Ruby.
  • A welcoming, vast, vibrant community.

JavaScript and Ruby: Cons

Continue this Ruby vs JavaScript guide by discovering the drawbacks associated with the two languages.

👎 Ruby

  • Slow.
  • Not backed by the largest community.
  • Mainly for backend web development (with Ruby on Rails) and scripting.
  • Its popularity has been declining for years.

👎 JavaScript

  • Not the most secure language available.
  • Different browsers might interpret it differently.
  • Hard to debug, particularly on the frontend.
  • May be hard to configure on large projects.

JavaScript vs Ruby: Which Is Better?

When it comes to comparing programming languages, determining an outright winner in broad terms is almost impossible. The result depends on the specific use case. To delve deeper into the Ruby vs JavaScript debate, it is essential to examine some of their general aspects. Let’s embark on that exploration!

Learning Curve

Ruby and JavaScript have a comparable learning curve. Both have fairly simple syntax and provide an easy-to-learn API. However, JavaScript may seem a little easier to learn than Ruby, especially if you already know how to code. The syntax of JS is more traditional and there are many more resources, guides, and online courses to get you started with it. After all, there is a reason why most new companies opt for a JavaScript-based technology stack.

At the same time, becoming a master in any of those languages takes a long time. This is because their standard library is rich and there are many mechanisms to learn. That is especially true for JavaScript, which supports both backend and frontend design patterns.

When exploring the relationship between Ruby on Rails vs JavaScript frameworks, the former tends to be a bit tougher to learn. Clearly, this depends on the JS framework chosen.


The performance of Ruby depends very much on the interpreter chosen. The speed of its interpreter can be a limiting factor, particularly in computationally intensive tasks. To the point that Ruby tends to be generally slower than JavaScript. 

JavaScript, especially with modern engines like V8, boasts impressive speed. Plus, its asynchronous nature enhances responsiveness. However, Node.js may be a bit more memory greedy than Ruby on Rails on the server.

In specific scenarios, JavaScript proves to be up to 20 times faster than Ruby. Sure, you could tweak Ruby and choose the right interpreter to reduce the gap. Yet, the effort might be less than switching directly to JavaScript.


Scalability is usually more of an issue in backend development. Here is why the Ruby vs JavaScript scalability comparison should focus on their most widely used backend frameworks. We are talking about Ruby on Rails and Node.js, respectively.

Thanks to its event-driven, non-blocking I/O nature, Node.js is widely considered to be more scalable than Ruby on Rails. That design enables Node.js to manage a high volume of concurrent requests efficiently and with no effort. The scalability of the backend JavaScript framework is further enhanced by the cluster module. This ensures optimal resource utilization by allowing tasks to be distributed among different processes of the same application to better manage workloads. In contrast, Ruby on Rails tends to run into difficulties in scenarios that require high concurrency.

The scalability advantage in Node.js is so big that large companies like LinkedIn have decided to migrate their infrastructure from Ruby to JavaScript for that reason.

For Scraping Data From Web Pages

One of the most effective ways to compare two languages is to analyze their behavior in the same use scenario. In this case, we will look at what Ruby and JavaScript have to offer when it comes to retrieving data from web pages. If you are unfamiliar with this process, it is called “web scraping” and involves creating an automated script that connects to a site and extracts data from it.

As explained in our Ruby web scraping guide, you can collect online data with:

  • Nokogiri: A robust Ruby gem for HTML and XML parsing.
  • Mechanize: A library for automated interaction with websites, providing a convenient interface for navigating and extracting data.
  • HTTParty: A gem to perform HTTP requests, facilitating seamless data exchange during web scraping.

Ruby is an excellent choice for writing and maintaining scraping scripts due to its simplicity. However, its slowness and difficulty to scale do not make it the best tool for creating scrapers for large sites.

JavaScript is not only more efficient, but it also has better web scraping libraries. Some of these are:

  • Cheerio: A fast, flexible, and jQuery-like library for HTML parsing.
  • Puppeteer: A powerful library for browser automation developed by Google. It allows you to control headless browsers and is excellent for scraping dynamic websites that require JavaScript execution.
  • Axios: A popular HTTP client for making web requests and downloading the HTML content of web pages. Learn how to use proxies in Axios.
  • Node-fetch: A lightweight module that implements the Fetch APIjs, enabling you to make HTTP requests intuitively in Node.js. See how to integrate proxies into Node-fetch.

The above packages are well-suited for scraping tasks. Learn more in our guide on web scraping with JavaScript.

Therefore, JavaScript tends to be a better option in this category as well. Considering that most companies already have it in the technology stack, adopting it for building a web scraper is a no-brainer. 


In this article on JavaScript vs Ruby, you saw what the two languages are and have to offer. In detail, you found how Ruby and JavaScript differ in several aspects and how perform when it comes to performing web scraping.

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