Ruby vs Java

If you are going to build a website or web application, you should take into account various issues such as hiring a software development company, defining the project goal, and preparing a software requirements document. Another important question is how to pick the right tech stack. In this article, we’ve compared Ruby vs Java programming languages to help you understand, which of them will fully meet your needs.


Why did we consider exactly these technologies? The fact is that they both suit creating web solutions, characterized by high speed and performance. However, comparing Ruby vs Java we find differences between these coding languages, as well as specific use cases that you should know to make the right choice.

This article is a tribute to the opposition that is quite often found on the development market. 


Do read this article if:

  • You aim to clarify what pros and cons Java and Ruby computer languages have.
  • You need to find out which of these coding languages will especially suit your project.
  • You, as a business owner or CTO, doubt what IT service provider you should hire to develop your software project.
  • You are a developer interested in participating in a commercially sought-after project but you are not sure which programming language to use.
  • You start your developer’s career and are choosing between Java vs Ruby.


Ruby programming language

We have already considered Ruby and its most famous framework Ruby-on-Rails from a technical point of view. Let’s have a look at the main features of Ruby computer language:


  • Ruby is open-source
  • Ruby is an interpreted language
  • Multi-platform
  • Dynamic typing
  • Smart garbage collector
  • Everything including methods, numbers and variables is an object
  • Possibility to embed Ruby in HTML
  • High scalability
  • Applicable for writing CGIs, building web and intranet apps

Ruby has strong community support as it allows software developers to enjoy what they do while increasing productivity thanks to simple syntax and multiple useful features.




Java coding language

The founders of the Java coding language initiated it in June 1991. Originally, Java was created for cable television but it turned out that the technology was too innovative for this purpose. At the moment, Java enables "Write Once, Run Anywhere" functionality, so it's possible to make either web and mobile (Android) applications using it. One of the primary reasons why so many enterprises prefer using Java is high configurable security that it provides.


It is noteworthy that both languages—Ruby and Java—were released in the same year. They were presented to the world in 1995.


Java was originally a multi-billion dollar company that invested a lot of money in popular frameworks and stimulated the developer community to create a feeling of engineering simplicity and support. This was mostly for those customers who purchased or built enterprise software. That's why there are so many projects ordered by large companies using Java.


If you analyze the last 10 years, you will see that Java has been taking a leading position in all ratings of the most trending programming languages. 


It should be said that Java provides a wide range of great features. It offers an excellent development environment, refactoring tools, static analysis tools... You probably won't find such a high number of cool things in any other computer language.


The key features of the Java coding language are:

  1. Open-source / Object-oriented
  2. Compile / Interpretability
  3. Neutral architecture
  4. Static typing
  5. Built-in security
  6. Dynamic compilation and classes loading
  7. Automatic garbage collection
  8. Simple memory management model
  9. Multithreading capabilities
  10. Platform independence

The main arguments for those developers who prefer this technology are its reliability, platform independence, and ease of use. We have identified criteria that you can use to dig deeper into the essence of Java and Ruby programming languages ​​and decide, which of them will better fit your project.





Ruby vs Java: Use cases

Both Java and Ruby are general-purpose technologies, which means you can use them for a number of different projects. It would be wrong to say that analyzing Ruby vs Java use cases we can find radically opposite outcomes. But there are some specifics.


Ruby is considered to be one of the best programming languages for startups. Its excellent structure and clarity at all development stages, plus a huge selection of ready-made solutions and libraries help you create truly successful products.


Although Ruby is often perceived as inseparable from its Ruby on Rails framework, this elegant language has also been used independently. Great examples are:

  • CSS language extension (Sass)
  • penetration testing environment (Metasploit)
  • tool for building and distributing development environments (Vagrant), etc.

One of the primary benefits of the Java coding language is the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). The JVM processes the bytecode and passes instructions to the hardware as an interpreter. 


The advantage of this program execution method is the complete independence of the bytecode from the operating system and equipment, which enables Java solutions to run on any device for which the corresponding virtual machine exists.


Therefore, Java simplifies app development and deployment on different platforms. That is why large companies employ Java more often. Furthermore, Java has been the only programming language for making native Android applications. 


Although Kotlin was invented several years ago and has already become an official language for building Android projects, Java continues to be one of the key technologies for this purpose. 


The main use cases of Java:

  • native Android apps (FastHub)
  • server applications for the banking and financial industry (Standard Chartered)
  • enterprise software
  • development tools (Netbeans IDE)
  • trade applications (Murex)
  • technology for working with large amounts of data (ElasticSearch) etc.

Sometimes we hear something like that: “Is Java a dying language?” Of course, not! Java continues to prevail on the market and is being actively used by companies across a range of industries. Each year, many people start learning Java to create awesome applications.




Ruby vs Java: Performance and development speed

The difference in application areas and project goals of Ruby vs Java determines the performance of these two technologies. The code written in Ruby is simpler and more flexible compared to Java’s. Often it helps cut the development speed and therefore, save costs. Some engineers claim that time on building an app can be reduced by 10 times.


But this is only partly true and mainly refers to small tasks. When considering computational capabilities and technical challenges, Java is characterized by a higher performance level. The scrupulous work of writing a multi-line Java code is more complex, so it will take more time to develop and launch a product.





Java vs Ruby: Field of talents and their salaries

The fact that Java is an advanced programming language has been proven over many years. Java continues taking the leading positions in numerous ratings. The Java specialists market is traditionally crowded with beginners, experienced, and super-professional developers.


Ruby, in turn, is not even among the top ten coding languages. The flip side of the coin is a clear lack of software engineers with skills in this technology.


According to the latest PayScale data (as of May 2019) in the USA, the annual salaries of Ruby and Java developers vary within the following limits (depending on the level of employees’ skills and knowledge:


Ruby and Ruby on Rails developers $61,2K - $126,9K

Java developers $70,8K - $137,4K

So, if Ruby’s philosophy is closer to you as a software engineer, then rest assured that you won’t lose a lot of money. There are significantly fewer competitors, which is an important advantage when comparing Ruby vs Java.


Certainly, you should also keep in mind the simple truth: beginners receive little money, professionals always get paid more (sometimes by 5-10 times). In case you are looking for experts to build a software project, the cost of hiring Ruby developers will be lower.





Ruby vs Java: What will better suit your project?

Elegance against the undoubted leader, effectiveness against multitasking. This is what the process of deciding between Ruby and Java looks like. So, when should you pick Java and when Ruby will be a perfect choice?


Use Ruby computer language when:

  • You need to build a scalable web application and improve time-to-market
  • Product value for the customer comes first
  • Product concept may change significantly
  • Need faster handling
  • Frequent changes in the app functionality are assumed
  • Fast prototyping needed
  • The project size is small or medium


Use Java programming language when:

  • The project will have a complex architecture
  • There are no time and resource limitations
  • Interaction with a number of related systems is required (for example, server parts of mainframes, databases, etc.)
  • The system is supposed to have a lot of traffic and a large user base
  • You work (or are going to work) on your own server. Otherwise, be prepared to pay for hosting
  • The size of the project is large and requires a high-security level
  • Ruby is a leader on the web application market, especially among SMEs (including startups). Java verbosity and its static typing often become a stumbling block in startups but it is a perfect choice for large enterprises.


Hence, if you are going to develop a complex project that should be easily scalable, have no errors, and provide high performance, in this Ruby vs Java 'battle of choices' employ Java coding language.

Vasil CTO
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