Ruby on Rails vs Node.js: What to Choose in 2023?

4 min read | By Postpublisher P | 11 April 2023 | Web development

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Choosing the right technology to build scalable applications quickly is imperative when developing web applications.

With too many options like Ruby on Rails, Node.js, Django, Laravel, ASP.NET, Flask, etc., choosing one to go ahead with is quite confusing.

Is there one best tool that fits all needs? We bet not. As per the project requirement and the preferred programming language, the choice differs from person to person. What you find the best might not work for someone else having another problem to solve.

With that in mind, let’s get into the article that compares Ruby on Rails vs Node.js (similar to our previous article on Django vs Ruby on Rails). This article will provide you with all the necessary information required to make the right choice. Let’s dive in.

Ruby on Rails vs Node.js: Explained

Ruby on Rails:

It is commonly known as just “Rails.” This web development framework is written in Ruby programming language, and so it’s called Ruby on Rails. Kudos to the creator David Heinemeier Hansson, Rails was established as an open-source software project in 2004 that made it easy to create web apps quickly and effectively.

It has since gained popularity among developers for its “convention over configuration” approach to web development, providing a set of conventions to follow. This eliminates the need to specify every detail of the application they’re building, thereby making it simple.

Advantages of Ruby on Rails:

Rails became popular mainly for its features that provided an added advantage. Some of them are:

  • Rapid development: Ruby on Rails is designed for rapid application development (RAD), which will help you build web applications quickly with better effectiveness. This rapid development is achieved through the use of conventions, pre-built libraries, and tools that simplify the development process.
  • Convention over configuration: As mentioned above, Rails follows the principle of “convention over configuration,” which means it provides a set of conventions you can follow to create web applications quickly and easily. This eliminates the need for you to specify every detail of the application they are building, which can save time and effort.
  • Developer-friendly: With features such as automatic code reloading or built-in web server that make it easy to test and debug applications, Rails is known to be developer friendly. This is a sure way to improve your productivity and satisfaction working with Rails.
  • Reusable Code: Since it is built on the Ruby programming language—an object-oriented language, it makes it easy for you to write code that is organized, modular, and reusable.
  • Large Community: Rails has a large and active community of developers worldwide. This has helped to create a large ecosystem of tools, libraries, and plugins that make it easy to extend and customize Rails to fit their specific needs.

Disadvantages of Ruby on Rails:

Rails isn’t a perfect solution for everybody. Some of the main reasons for that are listed below:

  • Steep learning curve: Ruby on Rails has a steep learning curve, particularly if you are a developer new to the Ruby programming language. This can make it challenging for you to get started with Rails.
  • Performance Issues: Compared to other development frameworks, Rails can be slower, particularly for complex applications that require a lot of processing power or to handle a large volume of data.
  • Compatibility Issues: It is known for having compatibility issues, particularly when upgrading to new framework versions. This can require you to spend extra time and effort to ensure their applications work correctly with new versions of Rails.
  • Limited Scalability: Rails can be challenging to scale for applications requiring high levels of scalability because it uses a single-threaded model—limiting its ability to handle high levels of traffic or complex applications.
  • Security issues: Like all web development frameworks, Rails is also vulnerable to security issues, particularly if you do not follow the best practices for security. This can require extra effort and attention to ensure that Rails applications are secure.


Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform, back-end JavaScript runtime environment. It was initially released in 2009. The main reason it became popular among developers is its ability to handle large volumes of data-intensive and real-time applications.

Node.js enables you to write server-side code using JavaScript, which is the same language used for front-end web development. This makes it easy to write code for both the server and the client using a single language, which can reduce the time and effort required to develop web applications. Node.js is designed to be fast, scalable, and lightweight.


Here are a few benefits of using Node.js and why it is a preferred choice for many developers.

  • Fast and scalable: Node.js is known for its speed and scalability because Node.js uses a non-blocking I/O model and an event-driven architecture. This allows it to handle high levels of traffic and data without slowing down.
  • Use of JavaScript: Since the Javascript language is used for front-end web development, you can use the same language for both the server and the client. It will reduce the time and effort required to develop web applications.
  • Large and active community: Node.js also has a large and active community of developers from around the world. This has created a large ecosystem of tools, libraries, and plugins that make it easy to extend and customize Node.js to fit your specific needs.
  • NPM: Node.js comes with the Node Package Manager (NPM), which is the default package manager with over one million open-source packages that can be easily installed and used in Node.js applications. This can save time and effort by providing pre-built modules and libraries that can be used in their applications.
  • Cross-platform: Being a cross-platform runtime environment, it can be used on various operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and Linux.


A few limitations should be looked upon while choosing Node.js, that includes:

  • Single-threaded: Node.js uses a single-threaded model, which can limit its ability to handle high levels of traffic or complex applications.
  • Callbacks: It relies heavily on callbacks, making code difficult to read and maintain if you’re unfamiliar with asynchronous programming.
  • Security issues: Node.js can also be vulnerable to security issues that require extra effort and attention to ensure that Node.js applications are secure.
  • Immature Modern Ecosystem: While Node.js has a large and active community, some areas, such as machine learning or desktop development, still have an immature ecosystem compared to other frameworks or languages.

Ruby on Rails vs Node.js: Use Cases

While deciding which is the best – Ruby on Rails vs Node.js can be a lot easier if you know the use cases of both options. Check the below table to know when to use Rails or Node.js

Ruby on Rails Node.js
For Content management systems (CMS) due to its ability to handle multiple content types. For building real-time applications that require fast I/O – such as gaming platforms.
For E-commerce platforms for its ability to handle complex databases and payment processing. For building APIs due to its ability to handle large amounts of data.
Social networking as it can handle large amounts of user-generated content and complex data relationships. To build microservices with its scalability, modularity, and support for asynchronous programming.
To build real-time chat applications with its event-driven architecture. To build single-page applications (SPAs), as it can handle both the front-end and back-end of the application.
A popular choice for building software as a service (SaaS) platforms with its ease of development and deployment. For building streaming applications since it can handle large amounts of data and support for non-blocking I/O.

Ruby on Rails vs Node.js: Conclusion

With their own unique strengths and weaknesses, the choice between Ruby on Rails and Node.js ultimately depends upon the specific needs of your project.

Looking towards the future, it’s likely that both Ruby on Rails and Node.js will continue to be popular choices for web development because each framework is doing its very best to meet the changing needs of developers and users.

With so much technological advancement and more to come in the future, it’s possible that we can witness a shift towards more real-time applications that will further increase the popularity of Node.js.

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