Ruby and Python are two of the most popular coding languages today. They’re used widely across various industries and are common recommendations for people just beginning to code. But if you’ve never written a line of code (or you’ve never worked with these particular languages), you’re bound to have questions about how Python and Ruby are different.
This article should clear things up for you.
Which Is Better: Python or Ruby?
First, let’s address a typical follow-up question once someone has asked themselves, “should I learn Ruby or Python?” The truth is, there’s no way to answer this question without knowing your background and goals. Each language is suited to different technological undertakings, occupies different ecosystems, and has different communities surrounding it.
Let’s take a closer look at how programmers use each one.
Where Do Programmers Use Them?
Arguably, the most important consideration is the fact that Python is used in far more places than Ruby. This tends to mean that Python has more third party libraries for specialized applications like machine learning or astronomy.
Ruby is a language built almost entirely for web development. Because of this, it comes out of the box equipped to tackle jobs in the typical webdev workflow.
So right away an important thing to get clear on is whether you’d like to focus on web development (perhaps by attending one of the many excellent web development coding bootcamps) or you’re looking to be a generalist that can contribute to many different projects.
The two languages also embrace different philosophical principles. Ruby tends to offer the programmer a variety of ways to solve any particular problem. Python’s view on this matter, however, is best summed up by a famous quote: ‘there should be one–and preferably only one–obvious way to it’.
Ruby tends to update more frequently than Python. This means language issues are fixed more quickly, but there may be more compatibility and maintenance issues requiring programmer attention.
What Is Each Language’s Community Like?
Because each language tries to solve different problems, their communities are correspondingly different. Python has a larger and more fragmented community, with developers tending to concentrate around the major Python libraries used in domain-specific applications. Ruby is more consistently oriented to the web development that is the language’s bread and butter.
If you don’t have much experience interacting with coding communities online, I think you’ll be surprised by how open, inviting, and willing to help they are!