Most decisions between programming languages come down to preference. Both Ruby on Rails and PHP can be used to construct complex, robust sites, but each language does have its own benefits and drawbacks. Ruby on Rails offers rapid development with fairly extensive automation and libraries, while PHP’s simplicity and ease of use makes it attractive to newcomers and experienced professionals alike.
The Advantages of Ruby On Rails
Ruby On Rails is an elegant framework with a mature development platform. The framework of Ruby On Rails is where it truly shines: having a single, well-developed structure makes rapid development and larger projects possible. Comparatively, PHP has a variety of frameworks which many developers move between depending on the scope of their project.
Ruby On Rails was developed to be a fun, easy way to program. It comes with a variety of easy-to-use bonuses: integrated testing tools, plugins, generators, scaffolding and more. Thus, for projects that need to be developed quickly, Ruby On Rails may be ideal. While on average Ruby on Rails programs have about the same amount of lines of code as PHP programs, the code tends to execute much faster and more efficiently. For applications that need to run quickly and utilize the fewest resources, Ruby On Rails is usually the best choice. Ruby On Rails is additionally the best choice for larger systems and applications, both because it uses fewer resources and because of its existing framework.
The Advantages of PHP
PHP is one of the easiest to use languages available. Developed primarily for web-based applications, the language is extremely forgiving. This freedom can be a double-edged sword: PHP doesn’t come with a built-in framework, scaffolding or any of the structural advantages of Ruby On Rails. In fact, without a third-party development environment, PHP can come down to simply saving a text file of code and debugging it through the server environment. This simplicity can make it easier to develop very small sites but more difficult to rapidly develop larger projects.
Like Ruby on Rails, PHP has a thriving and large community with numerous examples, code samples and pre-existing frameworks. But a third-party development environment is required for those who want to utilize a dedicated development platform. PHP is far more popular than Ruby On Rails, which means that there is a more extensive selection of libraries and plugins available. For developers, PHP is the most marketable language to employers.
On a per project basis, the decision between Ruby On Rails and PHP will usually come down to which language the developer is most experienced in. When deciding on which language to learn, however, the decision of Ruby On Rails vs. PHP may be a bit more complex. Developers who have a C, Perl or Java background and are interested primarily in web programming may want to focus on PHP first. Meanwhile, developers who are more experienced in C++ or Python and who want to work on a broader spectrum of projects may be more interested in Ruby On Rails. Either is a solid development language.