Ruby on Rails vs Yii2

Ruby on Rails or Yii2: for what each solution is suitable?
24 July 2017   2809
Ruby on Rails

Framework written in the Ruby programming language

When it comes to web development, usually PHP immediately comes to mind - a language designed specifically for Internet applications. It has existed for more than 20 years, so it is not surprising that for such a period, many frameworks have been released.

However, the web environment is not only the prerogative of PHP. A worthy competition to this language is Ruby. He comes to the rescue, if it is necessary to create not a blog or a corporate site, but an atypical solution. However, sometimes you can find standard Web resources developed in Ruby.

In this article we will compare the two most popular frameworks for Ruby and PHP - Rails and Yii2.

Accessibility for beginners

PHP has a low entry threshold - you can start writing code quickly enough without even having any basic programming knowledge. Many web developers start with this language. Because finding a web developer familiar with PHP is not a problem. On the other hand, Yii is not the simplest framework, because it Requires certain rules when writing code.

Yii2 interface
Yii2 interface

Ruby on Rails is more complicated at the beginning of the path, but then it can greatly facilitate the life of the developer due to the abundance of magic and gems. And the language itself has many built-in useful methods, for example, for working with dates or arrays.

Ruby on Rails syntax
Ruby on Rails syntax


Rails is inferior in speed to work, because Ruby is basically a slow language, and the framework inherits this problem. Yii is not just faster than RoR, it's the fastest PHP framework. Therefore, to create a project that is critical to high performance, Yii is the only alternative among all other solutions in PHP.

Libraries and extensions

The total number of plug-ins is about the same for both solutions. However, thanks to the fact that RoR has been actively developed and supplemented since 2003, most of its gems are reliable, time-tested solutions with a lot of background information, both from developers and the community.

Debugging tools

The most popular debugging tool for php is XDebug. This powerful solution was one of the first with the system of control points and offers developers on Yii a really great set of useful features:

  • Complete information about the current state of the program;
  • Changing the values ​​of variables during the execution of the script;
  • Remote start with two session modes;
  • Built-in support for xdebug-client in most popular IDE for PHP.

True, using this debugger may require additional settings for the environment where the application is deployed.

In Rails Debugger gem is used, which provides only the basic functionality, has not the most convenient mode of operation and the need to manually mark the place for control points with the word debugger.

CRUD-applications development

In Yii, there are excellent built-in tools for creating CRUD applications. GridView, ListView and DetailView are fully supported, there is a feature of checking and searching for jQuery. Additional comfort is provided by automatic generation of code using Gii, which creates a sufficiently high-quality script that requires minimal revisions.

Ruby on Rails also can offer support for tools for working with CRUD-applications, however for full use of all features you will need to use additional modules, for example, JS-library Ext and plugin Netzke.

Documentation and support

Both frameworks exist for a long time and therefore have detailed documentation that makes it much easier to find answers for any questions. PHP, as a more common language, has a large community that actively communicates with the forums and supports Yii. However, Ruby on Rails also has an abundance of supporting information, and in thematic communities one can always rely on help.

The situation with technology is different. PHP supports any inexpensive hosting, so you can use Yii capabilities almost everywhere, which makes the framework suitable even for small projects. Ruby is a more niche language designed for complex web applications and startups, and not all hostings support it, and where RoR is available there are sometimes limitations - for example, installing gems through a ticket for Techsupport.

Final comparison of Ruby on Rails and Yii2

Yii2 Ruby on Rails
A popular language and a framework with a low entry threshold. A niche language that requires time to learn from scratch.
High performance Lower performance
Not the most convenient syntax and readability of the code. Excellent code readability, many useful built-in methods
Powerful and convenient XDebugger Debugger gem is used for a debugging, Inferior to the capabilities of XDebugger
Built-in CRUD application suppport Additional gems and plugins are required for CRUD support
Detailed documentartion Less detailed documentation
Possibility to install framework on any hosting Not all hostings support Rails and some have limitations
Suitable for small projects Suitable for bigger projects


What technology do you choose, Rails or Yii2?

What technology do you prefer? Ruby on Rails or Yii2? Or maybe you are already using some of it? Please, share your thoughts with the community. Also, after the voting, you will be able to see what people like the most. Your opinion is very valuable for the Hype.Codes team.

66% (31 votes)
Ruby on Rails
34% (16 votes)
Total votes: 47

Charles Nutter. How to move your Ruby project to JRuby and why

Charles Nutter works on JRuby and JVM language support at Red Hat.
03 October 2018   934

— How did you get into programming and into Ruby world?

— In 2004, I was working at a government contracting firm as a Java Enterprise Architect. I was in charge of a large mainframe conversion for the United States Department of Agriculture, which meant I spent a couple weeks a month in the Washington D.C. area. One of those trips coincided with RubyConf 2004, and since a close friend had been recommending I look at Ruby, I decided to attend. So there I was sitting in a Ruby conference without ever having learned Ruby...and I understood every piece of code, every example. I was amazed and vowed to find a way to bring Ruby into my Java world.

— Which projects are you working on now?

— My primary role is as co-lead of JRuby. This also means supporting several side projects like our native-library backend (Ruby's FFI library is maintained by us using this backend on JRuby) and our String encoding subsystem (an elaborate port of the logic from CRuby). I also do much of the outreach to the community and try to make sure our users are getting their issues addressed. There's always plenty to work on!

— Which one would have the biggest general impact from you opinion?

— I like to think that JRuby, while not the most popular JVM language, has at least helped to change the JVM platform. Because of our collaborations with Sun Microsystems, Oracle, and others, we have solid dynamic language support at the JVM level along with many other projects to support alternative languages. The JVM today is a much more hospitable home for non-Java languages than it used to be, and I hope we've played some small part in that change.

— Which languages are you writing on in your everyday life? Which one do you like most? Why?

— Most days I write in a mix of Ruby and Java, since JRuby is implemented using both. I like both languages for different tasks. Ruby is a better language for building applications that need to evolve and adapt quickly. Java is a great language for writing high-speed, reliable libraries and services. JRuby gives you the best of both worlds!

— Do you like to program in Java?

— I do, especially with all the language improvements that have been added recently, like lambdas (closures or blocks in Ruby) and the new "var" syntax for declaring local variables when the static type is unambiguous.

— What do you think about Rust?

— Rust is a great language! I did a lot of C++ development in my college years, and I can tell you right now if I'd had Rust available then I would have used it. I'm especially jealous of the static-typed ownership model, which helps avoid thread-safety issues like races and data corruption. I hope to see other languages adopt this pattern in the future.

— What do you think about the Ruby language perspective? Is it or its community dying?

— After all these years working on JRuby, I do still love Ruby syntax and the Ruby way of doing things. However I worry that the language is held back too much by limitations of its primary runtime. JRuby has been fighting to make true parallel threading a reality for Ruby developers, but still today the vast majority of Ruby services are run using multiple isolated processes, wasting tremendous amounts of CPU and memory resources. I believe this is due to the C API for writing Ruby extensions being so large and so prevents many improvements -- including parallel threading -- from being developed. Hopefully we'll see this change some day.

— Which upcoming or not well-known features of Ruby language would rush in future?

— I look forward to strings becoming immutable-by-default, as they are in most other languages. Parallel programming would be much simpler if more of Ruby's objects supported pure-immutable or "deep freeze" semantics. It's a bit like the Rust ownership model...if you're going to be sharing an object across threads, choose the version of that object that you know can't be modified anymore. This extends to arrays, hashes, and just about every other mutable object in Ruby: we need to make it easier to lock down mutable data.

— Could you give me an advice on how to move my ancient monolithic project to JRuby? And should I?

— The first question really is whether such a move would benefit you. There's many good reasons to consider a move to JRuby:

  • Reducing CPU  and memory costs in a shared hosting environment by utilizing JRuby's true parallel threading
  • Deploying a Ruby application into a JVM-heavy environment, such as used by larger financial or government organizations
  • Needing access to libraries that only exist on the JVM, or that are more portable or scalable on the JVM than their Ruby or C equivalents
  • Getting a little performance boost out of CPU-heavy or concurrency-heavy applications.

— I would say if your application is scaling well and not costing you too much today, perhaps you don't need to make a move. But if you decide you need more out of Ruby, here's the process for migrating:

  • Do a clean bundle of your application, paying special attention to C extensions you may be using. You can also do this bundling *on* JRuby, and then deal with missing or unsupported libraries one by one.
  • For each extension, search for a JRuby equivalent. We have some pages on the JRuby wiki to help with this. Most popular libraries have JRuby versions. If no JRuby version exists, you may look for a pure-Ruby version (it might be fast enough on JRuby) or a JVM library (in Java or Scala or Clojure or whatever) that could be used as a replacement.
  • Once your bundle completes, you should have a working JRuby application! We've worked very hard on compatibility, and try to be responsive if users find new issues, but a successfully-bundled application is expected to work.

The steps beyond this involve deciding how to take advantage of your newfound power: how many threads to throw at a given server, what you're going to do with all the money you're saving, etc.

— What should nowadays students learn to become good programmers?

— When I was at university, my earliest computer science courses used the Scheme language, a Lisp-like functional language that's great for teaching the fundamentals of programming. I still recommend that serious new programmers work through at least some of the Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs book from MIT. Beyond that, I'd say learn as many different and unusual languages as you can; they'll all give you new ideas and new ways to look at programming problems.

— How do you keep yourself motivated for programming? Have you ever been "burned-out"?

— Burn-out is a real problem in our industry, and working in open source brings with it huge amount of stress. We've all felt that way sometimes...too much work to do and not enough time to do it, missing out on time with family and friends, ignoring our own health so we can fix one more bug. These days I try to center myself by keeping up with hobbies: playing video and board games, learning to play guitar, studying foreign languages, and traveling around the world to meet new friends. There's always this nagging workaholic telling me to get back on the job, but I'm learning how to maintain the right balance.

— What do you think about Russia and what do you expect of the upcoming RubyRussia event?

— I love Russia, and my speaking trips the past few years have been some of the most rewarding of my life. This will be my fourth visit, having been to Saint-Petersburg, Moscow, and Novosibirsk (!!!) previously. I'm looking forward to returning to Moscow and meeting the RubyRussia community I've heard so much about!

Questions by Dmitry Matveyev PM at Evrone