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PHP vs Ruby – Which One should I Pick for my Project in 2022?

This article will explain what the PHP and Ruby programming languages are, what they’re best used for, and which one you should pick up in 2022.

What is PHP?

PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.

PHP a recursive initialism that contains its own name, just to make things confusing for you:

H Hypertext
P Preprocessor

PHP is a processing language – it can search, calculate, and do things based on logical conditions.

PHP usually outputs the information it has processed via HTTP – as a web page, or as formatted data to be consumed by an API.

Consider PHP the computer to which the monitor is attached to. It does the thinking, then outputs the data as HTML to display to the user.

PHP can output data in any format – but the most comment is as HTML documents which web browsers can then read over the internet.

This allows PHP to be used to generate HTML pages containing data retrieved from a database or generated according to user input.

What is PHP Good For?

Building websites and online services. PHP is used to serve up nearly 80% of the web pages on the internet.

What is Ruby?

Ruby is also a general-purpose programming language. Like Python, it’s also an interpreted language.

Ruby has a focus on being concise – this means the language focuses on using as few characters as possible to express the instructions it will execute. This makes it easy to read and information-dense once you know the syntax, but can make it a bit more difficult for beginners to figure out what code is meant to do.

Again, like Python, Ruby is cross-platform and quite portable, and is available for most desktop and server operating systems and architectures.

What is Ruby Good For?

Ruby is popular with web developers due to it’s use with the Ruby on Rails web application framework which is used to build high performance web applications.

It’s also used extensively in automation in DevOps, especially when running the Vagrant virtual machine management tool, which is written in Ruby.

Who Uses Ruby?

Developers building web apps, running virtual machines, and performing DevOps are frequent users of the Ruby programming language.

Which One Should I Choose?

I usually avoid making a direct recommendation when comparing programming languages. Every developer and project has different requirements and the choice of language often depends on your specific needs.

However, unless you are planning on working on existing Ruby projects or need to use a service or library supported only by Ruby, I currently recommend learning PHP.

Why? Because Ruby and PHP are both most popular when building online services, and PHP is the most widely used programming language on the internet. You’ll find more examples, libraries, and projects using it, and due to the popularity of frameworks like Laravel and WordPress, PHP developers are in demand.

I also get the feeling that Ruby has fallen out of favour in recent years with the rise of Node.js – fingers crossed that the recent release of Ruby 3.0 will give it a boost.

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I'm Brad, and I'm nearing 20 years of experience with Linux. I've worked in just about every IT role there is before taking the leap into software development. Currently, I'm building desktop and web-based solutions with NodeJS and PHP hosted on Linux infrastructure. Visit my blog or find me on Twitter to see what I'm up to.

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