At present, Ruby is one of the most widely used programming languages. But according to TIOBE Index for January 2016, the programming language is more popular than Perl, but less popular than Python and PHP. Ruby, Python and Perl are general purpose programming languages, while PHP was originally designed with features for web application development. Nowadays, each of these four languages is being used by programmers for developing both desktop and web applications. That is why; it is important for programmers to compare Ruby with PHP, Python and Perl to pick the right programming language for their projects.
Ruby vs. Python vs. PHP vs. Perl
Design Philosophy: Ruby was designed with features to make programming both fun and flexible for developers. Python was designed to make programmers more productive, and code more readable. PHP was originally designed as a server-side scripting language to simplify development of dynamic web applications. Perl was designed with advanced text processing features to help programmers manipulate text files more efficiently.
Syntax Rules: The design and syntax of each of these four programming language is influenced by several mature programming languages. The syntax rules of Ruby are influenced by Perl, Ada, Lisp, Eiffel and SmallTalk. The syntax rules of Python are influenced by C, C++, Java, Perl, Lisp, ABC and Icon. The syntax of PHP is influenced by C, C++, Perl, Java and TCL. The syntax of Perl is influenced by C, Sed, AWK and Shell Script. On the whole, Ruby, Python and PHP have borrowed several features from Perl and C++.
Programming Paradigms: Each of these four programming languages supports a number of commonly used programming paradigms. Both Ruby and Python support object-oriented, functional, and imperative programming, along with featuring automatic memory management and dynamic type system. Python supports object-oriented programming, while allowing developers to implement multiple interfaces. Perl supports object-oriented programming, while featuring first-class functions, data structure, automatic data-typing, and automatic memory management.
Usability: Python enables developers to express concepts with less and readable code. But the programming language requires programmers to follow strict indentation. PHP is mostly used as a web programming language. The developers have option to embed PHP code into HTML or execute the code with various web frameworks and template engines. Many Ruby developers consider Ruby code as both elegant and expressive. As the programming language adopts principle of least astonishment, the programmers do not get confused or distracted while writing code. Despite being flexible and powerful, Perl code is considered to be ugly. The programmers often use Perl as a glue language for the internet.
Learning Curve: Python is often rated as the best introductory programming language for beginners. Its simple design and syntax rules make it easier for beginners to learn and use Python within a shorter amount of time. The programmers familiar with C and C++ can learn and use PHP without putting any extra time and effort. As Perl is often used as a glue language for the internet, the developers need to familiar with various front-end technologies and server-side programming languages. However, the developers can learn Ruby easily only if they know more than one programming languages.
Performance: The speed and performance of the four widely used programming languages. According to a test conducted by Raid6.com.au, Ruby, Python, PHP and Perl are faster than other programming languages. But Perl 5 is faster than Python, Ruby and PHP. Likewise, Python and Perl code consumes less memory than PHP and Ruby code. However, the website recommends programmers to pick a programming language based on its features and universality, instead of focusing on its speed and memory consumption.
In this blog it’s clearly defined why every web designer should learn Ruby on rails and it is always important for beginners to learn more than one programming language to enhance their career prospects. At the same time, the experienced programmers must pick the programming language according to specific needs of each project. It is also important for a programmer to focus on the features and functionality of the programming language, instead of considering its popularity and usage statistics.