Ruby vs Elixir- Upgraded Comparison For 2020

Ruby vs Elixir- Upgraded comparison for 2020

For many years, We all have been using the Ruby language for web development. It gets better with Ruby on Rails – a framework, which is a great framework to develop web apps. But the tech industry doesn’t stop here. New languages are invented, come to the industry and gain tremendous popularity.

But now, web developers are actively discussing Elixir- a new programming language and its popular Phoenix framework. You might be new with Elixir or confused to choose best between Ruby and Elixir. Hence here we came up with comparison- Ruby vs Elixir. Before dive to the comparison, let us see Ruby and Elixir in detail.


Ruby was created in the mid- 1990s by the Japanese computer scientist and programmer, Yukihiro Matsumoto, and the first version appeared in 1994. It was developed with a programmer’s comfort and happiness in mind. The aim was to make Ruby coding enjoyable and also productive.

Ruby is an interpreted and object-oriented programming language. It’s main purpose is to create simple and understandable web apps where fast development, clarity, and syntax simplicity are more important than running speed of an app.


Elixir is a functional programming language, which makes it different from objected-oriented Ruby. Apart from the fundamental difference, many ruby programmers are preferring Elixir as their next language, like its creator and maintainer. Elixir runs on Erlang Virtual Machine, which is a solution for applications that scale fast. 

The popular framework for Elixir is Phoenix, built by Chris McCord in 2014 and with the goal of outperforming Ruby on Rails.

Ruby vs Elixir – A Comparison

Advantages Of Ruby-

1. Clean syntax-

It is easy to write clean human-friendly code because of Ruby’s clean syntax. And hence it becomes easy for beginners to start through.

2. Productivity-

Ruby is an easy choice for startups where time and resources are limited. And this is because of its flexibility and availability of a lot of ready solutions to common solutions. According to experts, Ruby on Rails requires 30-40% less time to build applications as compared to the other technologies.

Ruby is an expressive language where just some lines of code can do the same job as chunks of code in other languages. There are many gems that solve almost all problems and this makes it easy to build an MVP. 

3. Ruby on Rails-

Ruby on Rails is a great framework with a developed ecosystem, where many problems have well-established, de-facto standard solutions to specific problems. It dominates among other frameworks for Ruby, which makes the coding style unified. Rails’ popularity has made Ruby as top programming languages.  

4. Readability through flexibility-

Because of the language’s powerful metaprogramming abilities, creating declarative domain-specific languages (DSL) feels as natural as it gets and is the reason of ruby gems have become loved by developers. A good ruby code hardly needs comments. 

Disadvantages Of Ruby-

1. Tough to maintain-

Ruby developers use many libraries and tools also to keep the code accurate and clean. But if you use it to the great extent, it can cause more issues. If you change something in the original implementation of library, it may cause problems to work as you want it to.

2. Performance-

We can say that Ruby is not as fast as Elixir. Performance is not the priority for it’s creators. It is fine with its response and compilation times.

Well proficient Ruby developers can create enterprise-grade apps rapidly but if you’re thinking to design a large-volume traffic app, remember that whatever you do, Ruby might not be preferable.

3. Threading and concurrency-

Ruby is not good to write concurrent applications. Global Interpreter Lock (GIL) makes it so that only one thread and one core are busy at a time. GIL doesn’t allow developers to take complete advantage of most of the hardware. Some base classes are not thread-safe.

4. Lack of developers-

In spite of the fact that the Ruby coding language has been in market for a long while, the number of Ruby developers is not as high as expected. Sometimes companies face difficulties to find experts.

Advantages Of Elixir:

1. Performance-

Elixir is a compiled language and hence is faster than Ruby. When it comes to performance, it is similar to Node.js. But most of the code runs concurrently and writing blocking code in CPU-bound applications is more difficult. Node.js uses a Javascript event loop- when your code calculating something, it blocks the complete node.js process. And is the advantage of Elixir over both Ruby and Node.js when speed matters.

2. OTP-

Elixir comes with the Open-Telecom Platform(OTP). The OTP is a set of tools that are designed to simplify the development of concurrent applications. The greatest accentuation in OTP is set on writing fault-tolerant applications. With the included framework, developers can build their own software that is ready to handle numerous concurrent connections.

3. Erlang virtual machine-

Elixir is based on Erlang VM (BEAM) which is one of the oldest virtual machines but remains broadly used. Erlang and Erlang VM are the solution for applications or messaging systems that have to manage many connections.

4. Documentation-

There are many useful guides and resources with links are available to support highly active communities. Documentation is very informative and answers all the questions. Also, Elixir Forum is useful to stay updated. 

5. Scalability-

Elixir is mainly used to develop web applications that will get more traffic and hence have to be scalable so as to maintain the heavy load.

6. Concurrency-

Elixir is great for building apps with concurrent connections because of Supported by Erlang and OTP,   

Disadvantages Of Elixir-

1. Elixir functional programming-

As Elixir is a functional programming language, means it can be difficult for experienced developers to switch because most of the code is in object oriented languages.

2. Lack of talent-

Elixir is a new programming language and hence there is a shortage of talented expertise in the market. Mostly ruby developers can be up and running with Elixir in around a week or two. This should be enough time for most programmers to be able to build CRUD applications and implement basic functionalities.

3. Immature ecosystem-

Elixir is not counted in the list of most used programming languages and hence it does not have enough active community to actively develop further. Also, it possesses a limited number of libraries.

Use Cases Of Ruby And Elixir

Ruby- Best Use Cases

  • Prototypes
  • Marketplaces
  • Small to medium-size web apps developed to get limited audiences
  • Application concepts
  • MVP’s

Elixir- Best Use Cases

  • IoT
  • Distributed systems
  • Applications with high traffic(chats, etc)
  • Apps with 100–1000000 simultaneous connections on single computer
  • Web apps with a huge number of users
  • Software that performs asynchronous tasks

What Should You Choose?

There is no definite answer to this question. Elixir and Ruby both are good tools to build apps, software or systems. You should choose the technology that is most appropriate for your project. 

Ruby is used for more than web development with companies like Google and NASA because of its capabilities for simulation data and 3D modelling with the use of macro-scripting API. Also Ruby has wide network since its first release.

You can choose Elixir, if you need to use  a lot of concurrent connections or your app will have a high user count. 

If you are still confused to choose the best between these two, consult with solace experts. We have dedicated experts to help you through consultation and development. You can hire ruby developers of solace team to develop the best software for your business. Connect with solace and get a free quote for software development. We will be happy to help you.

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