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In Development Last updated: February 8, 2023
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Hundreds of web frameworks and libraries exist in the web development world, and determining which to use can be challenging. Ruby on Rails and Django are some of the most popular server-side libraries for creating modern web applications.

This article will compare Ruby on Rails and Python’s Django to help you make an informed decision. You will learn about each framework’s features and applications and explore a side-by-side comparison of the two based on features and functionality. 

What is Ruby on Rails?


Ruby on Rails, or simply Rails, is an open-source web application framework built on Ruby. Just like other web frameworks, Rails simplifies the creation of web applications. This web framework provides the default structure for your code, the web pages the app will serve, and the databases you will use. 

The apps you create using Ruby on Rails will be;

  • Secure. Rails have built-in security mechanisms that protect the app from SQL injection, cross-site request forgery, and cross-site scripting. 
  • Versatile. You can use Rails to create social media apps, e-commerce platforms, content management systems, job boards, and so much more. 
  • Have RESTful API design. Ruby on Rails focuses on scalable, modular, clean designs for RESTful APIs. 

Due to its simplicity and fast development process, Rails is used by startups and large organizations. 

Some of the big names using Ruby on Rails on their tech stacks are;

  • GitHub
  • Shopify
  • Airbnb
  • Hulu
  • Dribble
  • Soundcloud

What is Django?


Django is a high-level Python framework that allows the rapid development of maintainable and secure websites. 

Django has been dubbed ‘the web framework for perfectionists with tight deadlines.’ This web framework makes it easy to build better web apps quickly with less code. 

With Django, you can create a web application that is;

  • Fully loaded. Django has hundreds of features that take care of the most common development tasks. The web framework takes care of features such as content administration, user authentication, site maps, and RSS feeds to allow you to focus on business logic.
  • Secure. You don’t have to worry about security issues such as SQL injection, cross-site request forgery, cross-site scripting, and clickjacking on your app, as Django takes care of all security threats. 
  • Versatile. Due to its versatility, you can use Django to create almost all sorts of things. 
  • Scalable. Django’s component-based “shared-nothing” architecture contributes to its scalability. Each part of the architecture is independent, meaning it can be changed or replaced when needed. 

Django’s ability to handle large amounts of traffic and its security features makes it loved by both small and big organizations. 

Some of the big names using Django are;

  • Mozilla
  • Instagram
  • NASA
  • Pinterest
  • Heroku 
  • Bitbucket
  • Quora

Ruby on Rails vs. Django 

FeatureDjangoRuby on Rails
LanguagePython Ruby
Design architecture Model-View Template. An app has three parts; Model, View, and Template. Model represents data, and business logicView deals with user inputTemplate renders data in a specific format such as HTMLModel-View-Controller. A rails app has 3 parts; Model, View, and Controller.Model represents data, and business logicView presents data to usersController deals with user input
LicenseMIT license. This license grants permission and indemnifies developers for future useBSD license. This is a low-restriction license without requirements for redistribution. 
Security Built-in features that protect against most security threats. Has built-in security features. However, developers can reinforce these features using third-party solutions
SyntaxPython is known for its easy-to-read syntax, and Django follows the same principle. Rails have elegant syntax. You may need fewer lines of code on Rails than on Django when writing the same function. However, the readability of Rails code is more complicated than that of Django.
Database support Supports various databases; both NoSQL and SQL databasesSupports various databases but mostly focus on SQL databases such as PostgreSQL and MySQL. 
DeploymentBuilt-in support for deployment using scriptTools such as Capistrano offers built-in support for deployment
Testing Has several frameworks for built-in functional and unit testing.Frameworks such as MiniTest and RSpec provide built-in testing

Where and when should one use Ruby on Rails?

  • When creating self-sufficient systems. Compared to Django, creating an API on Ruby on Rails is complicated. Ruby on Rails is suitable when you want to create a web app that does not consume a lot of data from 3rd party sources. 
  • When creating apps with standard feature requirements. Sites such as blogs and e-commerce platforms aren’t that complicated to build. Ruby on Rails works perfectly for such platforms. 
  • You need to build a web fast. Ruby on Rails has a default code structure to get you started quickly. You can set up your model, views, and controllers with a single command. 

Where and when should one use Django?

  • Apps with complex API architecture. Creating API and consuming data from external APIs is easy when using Django. This web framework is thus suitable if your app relies heavily on external data.
  • Complex systems with fine-tuned customizations. Django makes it easy to create complex systems such as those used for travel and booking websites. Such websites consider the users’ inputs and return customized products. 
  • Web apps with complex algorithms change dynamically. Django has various features to handle complex algorithms, explaining why it is one of the frameworks in Google’s tech stack. 

Learning Resources: Ruby on Rails

#1. The Complete Ruby on Rails Developer Course

This course teaches how to rapidly prototype ideas and turn them into innovative web apps. The content is delivered in both videos and articles. There are also 8 coding exercises to test your learning progress. 


Some key areas are;

  • How to set up a Ruby on Rails app.
  • Learning Vanilla Ruby will make it easy to master concepts on Ruby on Rails.
  • Deep-dive into Ruby on Rails with a special interest in Associations, Authentication, and CRUD operations. 

The course is suitable for beginners and those with prior knowledge of Ruby. 

#2. Ruby on Rails: Up and Running

This book introduces users to the world of Ruby and Ruby on Rails. The book is suitable for those with Ruby/ Ruby on Rails experience and beginners. 

Preview Product Rating Price
Ruby on Rails: Up and Running Ruby on Rails: Up and Running $1.35

The main areas of focus are;

  • How to install and get started with Ruby and Ruby on Rails.
  • How to work with REST APIs and Ajax
  • How to create user-centric web pages and send emails from a Rails app. 

This resource is available in Paperback and Kindle versions. 

#3. Learn Ruby on Rails

This Codeacademy course takes a project-based approach where learners build 8 full-fledged web applications using Ruby on Rails. The course is split into four lessons and has quizzes after every lesson. 


This course touches on;

  • The process of setting up a Ruby on Rails app.
  • Introduction to databases and how to add them to a Rails app.
  • Associations such as one-to-many and many-to-many.

At the end of the course, learners will have mastered how to communicate with databases and the MVC architecture. 

Learning Resources for Django

#1. Python Django – The Practical Guide

This course teaches how to build websites and web applications with Python and Django framework. It is split into 17 sections, and the content is delivered in video and text formats.


The course covers the following;

  • Installing Django and setting up a Django app.
  • URLs and Views
  • Data & Models 
  • Forms
  • Relationships 
  • Admin

This practical guide is ideal for developers with prior Python, HTML, and CSS knowledge. It is also suitable for JavaScript developers who want to explore Python. By the end of the course, learners will have built a fully-functional blog website. 

#2. Django for Everybody Specialization

This course teaches how to build and deploy rich websites and web applications using Python’s Django. The course uses a project-based learning approach where students build a web application displaying ads. 


This course’s major focus is on;

  • How to use Django as your server-side framework when creating web applications using HTML and CSS.
  • How to use the built-in login functionality and define cookies and sessions. 
  • How to work with databases while dealing with Django. 

The course is suitable for developers with HTML, CSS, and Python knowledge.

#3. Lightweight Django

This book teaches how to integrate complex client-side interactions and real-time features on robust web applications. This hands-on resource teaches how to incorporate WebSockets and REST APIs into Django projects. 

This book’s major focus is on;

  • How to set up lightweight Django projects.
  • How to break Django code into smaller sections that communicate with each other. 
  • How to use Django with an MVC framework such as Backbone.js.

The book is ideal if you are already familiar with JavaScript or Python. Lightweight Django has code-driven examples to help you master different concepts. 

Authors note

Both Django and Ruby on Rails have their strong points and drawbacks. When you want rapid development and a focus on convention over configuration, then Ruby on Rails will be an awesome choice.

On the other hand, if you want a secure and robust app, Django is the go-to web development framework. Even though Ruby on Rails has amazing features, Django carries the day as it is ideal for large apps that can handle multiple databases. 


Most people will support the web framework they are conversant with. However, suppose you have interacted with both. In that case, you will note that Ruby on Rails and Django are amazing web frameworks with distinct features and some similarities, like large communities and support.

Whether to use Ruby on Rails or Django depends on the nature of the app you want to create, your skills, taste, and preferences.

  • Titus Kamunya
    Titus is a Software Engineer and Technical Writer. He develops web apps and writes on SaaS, React, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Ruby and Ruby on Rails read more
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