Published On: October 28th, 20145 min read

There are numerous programming languages and frameworks available for developing applications. They are so diverse and different from each other that a developer cannot dedicate her time to learn those all. Getting expert in a framework needs thoughtful consideration of their implications.

Our Nascenia team puts a strong emphasis on the implications of frameworks. It houses one of the biggest dedicated RoR team in South East Asia and it has another development team with a strong grasp at PHP. This article puts both types of frameworks on the table and compares those from four different angles:

  • Market Demand and Supply Condition
  • Speed of Development
  • Community Support
  • Variety of Frameworks
  • Setup and Installation

Market Demand and Supply Condition

PHP has a bigger market. Ruby on Rails has a smaller but fast-growing niche market

Market size for PHP is much bigger than Ruby on Rails. If you visit craigslist or any other job websites, you will see far more recruiters looking for PHP developers than Ruby on Rails developers. A developer specializing in PHP is sure to get jobs in the market. However, whether that will come with a solid paycheck or not, that is not certain. Bigger market naturally draws a lot of developers. The greater supply of developer coupled with asymmetric market information creates a larger variation in developers’ compensation.

On the contrary, Ruby on Rails has a smaller market where most startups are flooding with the venture-backed fund. An increasing number of startups are using Ruby on Rails. All a developer needs is enough expertise to help them create new quality services so that they can grow even faster. The main reasons why startups choose Ruby on Rails are a speed of development, community support, and mindset. That brings us to the second point of our discussion.

Speed of Development

Ruby on Rails has faster development speed, once correctly set up and handled by the specialized coders

Ruby on Rails has a steep learning curve. However, once someone is an expert on rails, she can use her skill in a lot of places. Because when a company is explicitly looking for a ruby developer, there is a greater possibility that it is expecting a developer well acquainted with rails. A startup can quickly hire a RoR expert and delegate her whatever work needs to be done. The new recruit can quickly pick up the pace and continue development of whatever application the startup was working on.

That is not true for PHP frameworks. A PHP developer can be specialized in any of Laravel, Codeigniter, Symfony2, Phalcon or other frameworks. These frameworks differ in a big way. Lack of uniformity in expertise may create hindrance in application development speed.

Community Support

PHP and Ruby on Rails both have huge community support

Community Support for Ruby on Rails is relatively small but growing. There are plenty of handy RoR plugins or “Gems” available. However, PHP has bigger community support. The community is more diverse in nature. Its up to the company’s development team which community it deems suitable for its service. We are not going to elaborate on this point because both frameworks have rich community support. This aspect will not make a big difference in framework choice.

Variety of Frameworks

PHP has more variety than Ruby, which may or may not be an advantage for a developer

PHP has more variety in frameworks than Ruby. Let’s look at the following chart.

Market share of different PHP frameworks

Market share of different PHP frameworks

Laravel, Phalcon, Codeigniter, Symfony2 dominates PHP frameworks. There is also a sheer number of developers who focus and specialize on other PHP frameworks. We didn’t find such chart for Ruby frameworks. However, plenty of references suggest that despite multiple Ruby frameworks exist in the market, those are dominated by Ruby on Rails.

Setup and Installation

PHP is easier to set up, install and start working

The learning curve for Ruby on Rails is quite steep. It is not the case for PHP. PHP is a great language to start with. It needs a lot less setup compared to RoR. With PHP, a programmer can just FTP the files to a web server for getting started. Most web hosts support PHP out of the box. The programmer can download MAMP for MAC or WAMP for Windows which takes care of a database (MySQL), a web server (Apache), and PHP installation in five minutes. Ruby on Rails might need lengthy setup and installation. The programmer may require going through many directories, install specific software or she may need to bury herself in complex documents to get things started. It’s easy to run PHP on the computer. After setup, the programmer also needs to be comfortable with the RoR command line which is much easier to work with for PHP.

Clearly, the article does not take a side and justify which framework is better. It compares major point but does not make a definite conclusion. A reader might wonder what the whole point of this article is.

There is no straightforward right or wrong answer to the ‘Which framework is better?’ question. All the frameworks have been created for a purpose. It’s up to the application development team to figure out if a particular framework suits better with its service/product. Nascenia has one of the biggest and experienced Ruby on Rails team in South East Asia. That is because a lot of companies are looking for specialized RoR teams to support their growth and deliver world-class application at the same time. It has PHP team that serves clients who are looking for specialized PHP developers.

Therefore, the whole point of this article is – know the market very well and whatever framework you choose to learn, be really good at it. Like us, if you believe in staying ahead of the curve, clients will always believe in you.

Contributor: Mushtahir Aziz Rahman, Business Executive, Nascenia

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