React vs Rails Comparison Guide – Which Platform to Use and When?

Today, websites and web applications are crucial for business growth and success. Companies are always in pursuit of the perfect web development framework that can help them build powerful web and mobile apps. Amongst several frameworks out there, finding the right framework for application development is quite tricky and challenging. Here’s a detailed comparison of React vs Rails – two of the most popular web development frameworks in the market today.

The primary objective of this React vs Rails comparison guide is to help you understand better whether you should invest in a ReactJS development company or RoR development company. But before we begin, here’s a brief overview of both technologies.

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ReactJS

Created and maintained by Facebook, ReactJS is an open-source and massive JavaScript library of UI components. React allows you to build highly interactive user interfaces. Many companies prefer to hire React JS developers for building fast-loading single-page application development or mobile app development.

It offers an extensive set of libraries that can be tailored or reused to fulfill your company’s requirements. Some of the main reasons why ReactJS is so popular amongst developers and businesses are its high performance, scalability, flexibility, and speed.

ReactJS also offers other additional features such as –

  • Components – Components refer to JS functions that accept arbitrary inputs known as props and return UI components that describe the elements on the webpage.
  • JSX – It is a template language that extends JS code to implement HTML syntax. JSX also helps React to display critical error and warning messages.
  • Virtual DOM – It is a virtual replica of the Data Object Model (DOM) that changes and updates only essential nodes and modules.
  • React Hooks – The Hooks in the React 16.0.8 version, lets you reuse stateful logic without disturbing the component’s hierarchy or inheritance rules.
  • Unit Testing – The components can be easily rendered in a simple testing environment and you can evaluate the outcomes of each component.
  • End-to-end Application Testing – ReactJS allows you to run the web application in a real-like browser environment for testing the presentation layer and validating the user experience.
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Ruby On Rails

Created by David Heinemeier Hansson, Ruby on Rails (RoR) is an open-source, server-side framework built in Ruby programming language. The framework is extremely productive and facilitates faster website development. With its object-oriented approach, Rails helps in writing the server-side code of web applications. RoR was designed to make working with Ruby simpler. Working on the MVC architecture provides clean and decent segmentation of apps and presentation code.

Rails provide reusable components Ruby Gems, a built-in ORM system, as well as CoffeeScript for executing Ajax operations. If you are looking for rapid prototyping and MVP development, then Rails is an ideal option.

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Key features of RoR include:

  • MVC Design Pattern – The MVC design pattern breaks the web application code into multiple layers that can be easily tested and maintained.
  • DRF Approach – Rails follows the ‘Don’t Repeat Yourself’ methodology, so all the data values are kept in one place for consistency, unambiguity, and maintainability.
  • Convention Over Configuration – In RoR, conventions are implemented by default unless stated explicitly. This saves you from writing lengthy configuration codes.
  • App Testing – It allows for automated testing and employs numerous debugging practices. You can scale the automated tests created by RoR for your code without implementing a third-party application testing framework.
  • Gems – These are software package modules that include libraries, command-line utilities, and Ruby-based code for repetitive activities. RubyGems gives you access to a wide range of packages and modules.
  • Active Record – Active Record is a powerful ORM system that lets you automatically create database tables by using objects and classes in your code.
  • Metaprogramming in Ruby – The dynamic-typing capability of Rails allows you to create classes and methods even during runtime.
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React vs Rails – A Head-to-Head Comparison

Now, let’s compare React vs Rails side by side to see whether you should hire ReactJS developers or RoR developers.

Comparison ParametersReactJSRuby on Rails
Programming LanguageBased on the interpreted and versatile scripting language JavaScript.

 

RoR is built using Ruby which is a high-level, interpreted, object-oriented coding language.
ArchitectureReactJS does not enforce any architecture explicitly. It is just used to build the View layer in MVC.It is based on the MVC architecture.
SizeIt is a lightweight and minimalistic framework exclusively for designing the view layer.RoR is a huge, general-purpose web framework used for developing a whole web application.
UsageReactJS is a frontend library used for developing highly interactive user interfaces of webpages.Being a full-stack web framework, RoR is used for developing the frontend and backend of websites and web applications.
PerformanceThe framework is ideal for developing scalable, large-scale web applications with high speed and faster loading time.The framework ensures high performance for small-scale applications, even though it consumes more memory.
FlexibilityBeing highly flexible, the framework helps you to implement your architecture.RoR is highly opinionated. It follows only the “Rails way” of carrying out things, and it’s difficult to make exceptions.
Mobile app developmentYou can build mobile apps with a native-like feeling using React Native technology.RoR is not ideal for building robust mobile apps.
Community SupportReactJS is used by over 1.6 million people worldwide. It is supported by a vast community of numerous developers and 1500 contributors. It has received 167K stars on GitHub.RoR is supported by a community of over 5800 contributors and more than 900K users. Also, it has earned 48.2K GitHub stars.

 

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React vs Rails – How to Choose the Best Development Platform?

Now that you know the major differences between the two technologies, you can better decide whether you should invest in a Ruby on Rails or ReactJS development company.

RoR is Suitable for Developing

  • MVPs – RoR is ideal for rapid prototyping because of its high productivity and fast development approach. Therefore, if you want to build an MVP, then RoR is the best option.
  • Database-driven web applications – The framework can be seamlessly integrated with numerous popular database management languages such as SQL. It forms database tables automatically from the class definitions with the help of Active Record. Hence, websites and applications that require managing large databases should choose RoR over other frameworks.
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ReactJS is Suitable for Developing

  • High-traffic Applications – Websites and applications that need to handle numerous users at a time require fast data updates and DOM rendering. So, such companies can hire ReactJS developers for their applications.
  • Dynamic and Interactive Websites – ReactJS is a perfect solution for building dynamic websites that offer a seamless user experience. Also, with the help of JSX, developers can build dynamic HTML elements.
  • SEO-friendly websites – React offers many SEO tools to increase the leads of your website or application and attract new customers.

Using the Combination of ReactJS + Ruby On Rails

ReactJS and Ruby on Rails are two powerful technologies that developers use for web application development worldwide. React allows developing highly interactive user interfaces and Rails is full-stack web technology. Using Ruby on Rails for business logic and backend and ReactJS for frontend development, you can develop high-functioning applications.

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There are several ways to combine the two technologies. For example, using Gems like react-rails + webpacker, or react_on_rails, you can easily integrate the ReactJS framework into your RoR-based application. RoR and React API can also be used independently to build a connection with each other.

By combining Rails and ReactJS, you can develop:

  • Fast-loading Single Page Applications

By using RoR and ReactJS, you can build powerful, scalable single-page applications. These applications are extremely high-performing and have a single, fast-loading HTML webpage that constantly updates its user interface depending on user interaction.

  • Reliable and Fast-loading Websites

The combination of React and RoR can bring the advantage of speed and performance. React’s DOM rendering style and the RoR server-side web development approach can help you build fast-loading, high-performance web applications.

  • Mobile Applications

By integrating React into your Rails application, you can enter the mobile app industry. The same API can be used to develop native-like apps leveraging React Native technology. You can also develop cross-platform applications for your business.

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Many big brands like Airbnb, Klar, Opendoor, Casper, TaskRabbit, and Gusto are using this powerful combination of React and Ruby on Rails.

Final Thought

Both ReactJS and Rails are the best development tools for building a highly interactive user interface. However, to select the perfect web framework, you need to evaluate your business requirements, goals, use cases, developer experiences, and so on.

Hope the above comparison of React vs Rails will help you decide whether you need to hire ReactJS developers or RoR developers for your project.

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Author’s Bio

Chandan Kumar is a professional ReactJS developer at a leading digital transformation company, Orange Mantra. He is also a passionate blogger who loves writing informative blogs and articles on a variety of topics. He enjoys experimenting with new techniques in web app development to build rob

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