Updated July 5, 2023
Differences Between Perl vs Ruby
Perl is a general-purpose, interpreted, dynamic programming language created by Larry Wall in 1987. Initially, it was designed as a general-purpose Unix scripting language to make report processing easier and faster. Perl stands for Practical Extraction and Report Language. It runs on various platforms like Windows, Mac, and multiple versions of Unix.
Ruby is an object-oriented, reflective, dynamic, general-purpose programming language designed and developed in Japan in the 1990s by Yukihiro Matsumoto.
Perl language borrows its features from programming languages like C, Shell script, AWK, and sed. It is multi-paradigm, functional, imperative, object-oriented, procedural, and event-driven.
Ruby takes the concept of Object-Oriented Programming to its limits. In Ruby, everything is an object, including global variables. Classes and modules are objects, and functions and operators are the methods of objects. Thus, Ruby becomes more powerful when combined with Functional programming and lambdas.
Perl is a very stable and cross-platform programming language. It works efficiently with markup languages like HTML, XML, etc. The software is open-source and licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL).
Languages like C++, Java, and Perl highly influence Ruby being Object Oriented. It is highly preferred for web development and functional programming, which was the focussed area of the Ruby community from the get-go. Ruby has become much more diverse since its inception but has not yet reached the level of diversity that Perl has.
Although Perl is an older language, it is an excellent language that works well in web development. Perl is savvy by design. During its initial phase in the 1980s, it became trendy for multiple reasons. C is a low-level language that took various lines of code for even the most straightforward processes during those times. Also, Perl was portable, unlike C. Thus, Perl became a massive hit in the 1990s and became the first choice for web-based business during the e-commerce rise.
Developers can use Ruby for non-web-based scripting and programming, but many learning resources focus on Rails and web development. Ruby’s features and elegance have become one of its top-selling points, and at the same time, it can become problematic for the programmer to track down bugs. The syntax of Ruby is similar to that of Perl, but it takes Object Oriented features to their limits.
E-commerce giants like Amazon were written in Perl. And when it comes to system administration, it is equally efficient as building complex enterprise software. Perl is still an asset for back-end architecture. One of Perl’s most significant advantages is CPAN (Comprehensive Perl Archive Network), a collection of thousands of Perl software modules and libraries of packaged code written and maintained by their authors.
Head to Head Comparison between Perl and Ruby
Below is the top 8 comparison between Perl and Ruby:
Key Differences Between Perl and Ruby
Following are the Differences Between Perl and Ruby:
- Perl, being an Object-Oriented language, must be interpreted, whereas Ruby is a highly Object-Oriented programming language that is dynamic, reflective, and frequently compiled. Then the output from the compilation is interpreted.
- The Perl library of code, CPAN, is incomparable and has many libraries available. In contrast, although it comes with a decent number of libraries, Ruby still needs to catch up with Perl.
- Perl is ideal for system administration and web development tasks, whereas Ruby is highly suitable for traffic-heavy applications.
- Perl has a perfect number of libraries for supporting regular expression, whereas Ruby’s support for regular expression is decent compared to Perl.
- Developers often use Perl, along with C, for web servers in CGI (Common Gateway Interface) scripting, and server technology widely utilizes it. In contrast, Ruby is strong in meta-programming, which allows the creation of a great product like Vagrant.
- Perl has a community called “Perlmonks,” which is the best language support, whereas Ruby has a Google group as a support community.
- Perl, an older giant, has many users, whereas Ruby is gaining popularity among new developers and is catching up with Perl.
- Ruby derives a little from Small Talk, although Perl has a tiny Cee Language resemblance.
- Perl 5 is less Object-Oriented, although Perl 6 has excellent Object-Oriented support, whereas Ruby is a highly Object-Oriented language.
- Perl’s support for Unicode is much more robust; it supports Unicode properties, whereas Ruby’s support for Unicode is not as strong as Perl’s; its encoding is more explicit.
Perl and Ruby Comparison Table
Below is the detailed Comparison of Perl and Ruby.
|Perl 5 is less Object-Oriented
|Pure Object-Oriented language
|Initially released in 1987
|Released in 1994
|A sizable number of libraries are available
|Overtaken Perl in terms of libraries
|Perlmonks is one of the best programming language community
|Google Group or forum support Ruby
|Support multiple variable types
|It has only one variable type
|Run incredibly fast and perform well
|Ruby scripts run decent enough
|Ideal for web application development and system administration
|Rapidly prototype application that is traffic-heavy
Perl is a pretty old language; it started in 1987, whereas Ruby arrived in 1994. Thus, both Perl vs Ruby languages carry their own set of merits and demerits. Perl has an excellent community backing it up, which is one of the most significant advantages of Perl. Many libraries are available with Perl suitable for all kinds of requirements. Being an old horse in the market, Perl’s documentation is also rich and better. Its massive lead over a long time ensured that most of the libraries have well-documented APIs, and developers can find tons of examples online.
Ruby is catching up at a decent pace and constantly evolving. One can write any Perl code in Ruby with improvements. From the ground up, it provides an Object-Orientation feature that helps in keeping large code bodies maintainable. Writing Object-Oriented code in Perl can be painful; in Ruby, a breather. Meta-programming and better support for code generation are available with Ruby.
One can enjoy writing Ruby code more than writing Perl code and vice-versa. In the last few years, Ruby has closed many gaps in Perl in libraries, documentation, and community. Both Perl and Ruby have their own set of areas better suited to a specific requirement. It finally boils down to requirements and the programmer’s capability.
This has been a guide to the Differences between Perl vs Ruby. We have discussed Perl vs Ruby head-to-head comparison, key differences, infographics, and comparison tables. You may also look at the following articles to learn more.