Differences Between Perl vs Ruby
Perl is a general-purpose, interpreted, dynamic programming language originally created by a Larry Wall in 1987. Initially, it was created to be a general-purpose Unix scripting language to make report processing easier and faster. Perl stands for Practical Extraction and Report Language. It runs on a variety of platforms like Windows, Mac and various versions of Unix.
Ruby is object-oriented, reflective, dynamic, general-purpose programming language designed and developed during the 1990s by Yukihiro Matsumoto in Japan.
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 use of lambdas.
Perl is a very stable and cross-platform programming language. It works efficiently with markup languages like HTML, XML etc. It is open source software, licensed under GNU General Public License (GPL).
Ruby being Object Oriented is highly influenced by languages like C++, Java, and Perl. It is highly preferred for web development and functional programming, which was the focussed area by the Ruby community from the get-go. Ruby has become much more diverse since its inception but it has not yet reached the level of diversity that Perl has.
Although Perl is an older language it is a very solid language which works well in web development. Perl is savvy by design. During its initial phase, when it was being introduced in the 1980s, it was highly popular and there were multiple reasons behind it. During those times, C being a low-level language took multiple lines of code for even the simplest of processes. Also, Perl was portable unlike C. Thus, Perl became a huge hit in the 1990s and became the first choice for web-based business during the e-commerce rise.
Ruby can be used for non-web based scripting and programming but a vast amount of learning resources focuses on Rails and web development. Ruby’s features and elegance has become one of its top selling points and at the same time, it can become hard for the programmer to track down bugs. The syntax of Ruby is similar that of Perl, but it takes Object Oriented features to its limits.
E-commerce giants like Amazon were written in Perl. And when it comes to system administration, it is equally efficient as with building complex enterprise software. Perl is still an asset for back-end architecture. One of the biggest advantages of Perl is CPAN (Comprehensive Perl Archive Network), which is a collection of thousands of Perl software modules and libraries of packaged code written and maintained by their own 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 is the Differences Between Perl and Ruby:
- Perl being an Object-Oriented language has to be interpreted whereas Ruby is highly Object-Oriented programming language which is dynamic and reflective is frequently compiled and then output from the compilation is interpreted.
- Perl library of code, CPAN is incomparable, has a huge set of libraries available whereas Ruby is although comes along with a decent number of libraries still need to catch up with Perl.
- Perl is an ideal choice for system administration work as well as the web development task whereas Ruby is highly suitable for the traffic-heavy application.
- Perl has a very good number of libraries when it comes to supporting regular expression whereas Ruby’s support for regular expression is decent as compared to Perl.
- Perl is most often used in CGI (Common Gateway Interface) scripting along with C for web servers and hence used widely in the world of server technology whereas Ruby is strong in meta-programming, which allows creating a fabulous product like Vagrant.
- Perl has a community called “Perlmonks” which is the best among language support whereas Ruby has a Google group as a support community.
- Perl being an older giant has a vast number of users whereas Ruby is gaining popularity among new developers and is catching up with Perl.
- Perl slightly resembles CeeLanguage whereas Ruby borrows a little from Small talk too.
- Perl 5 is less Object-Oriented although Perl 6 has a very good Object-Oriented support whereas Ruby is highly Object-Oriented language.
- Perl support for Unicode is much stronger, it supports Unicode properties whereas Ruby support for Unicode is not as strong as Perl, its encoding of strings is more explicit.
Perl and Ruby Comparison Table
Below is the detailed Comparison of Perl and Ruby.
|Paradigm||Perl 5 is less Object-Oriented||Pure Object-Oriented language|
|Arrival||Initially released in 1987||Released in 1994|
|Libraries||Sizable number of libraries available||Overtaken Perl in terms of libraries|
|Community||Perlmonks is one of the best programming language community||Google group or forum support Ruby|
|Syntax||Support multiple variable types||Has only one variable type|
|Characteristics||Run incredibly fast and perform well||Ruby scripts run decent enough|
|Applications||Ideal for web application development and system administration||Rapidly prototype application that is traffic-heavy|
Perl is a pretty old language, started its journey way back in 1987 whereas Ruby arrived in 1994. Thus, both Perl vs Ruby languages are carrying their own set of merits and demerits. Perl has excellent community backing it up, which is one of the biggest advantages of Perl. There is a vast number of libraries available with Perl suitable for all kinds of requirement. Being an old horse in the market, Perl’s documentation is also rich and better. Its huge lead over a long time ensured that most of the libraries are well documented and there are tons of example available online.
Ruby is catching up with a decent pace and constantly evolving. One can write any Perl code in Ruby, with improvements. From ground-up, it provides an Object-Orientation feature which helps in keeping large code bodies maintainable. Writing Object-Oriented code in Perl can be painful, in Ruby a breather. Meta-programming, better support for code generation is 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 on Perl in areas of libraries, documentation, and community. Both Perl or Ruby have their own set of areas which is better suitable for a specific requirement. It finally boils down to requirement and programmer’s capability.
This has been a guide to Differences Perl vs Ruby. Here we have discussed Perl vs Ruby head to head comparison, key difference along with infographics and comparison table. You may also look at the following articles to learn more