Rails vs Scala: What are the differences?
What is Rails? Web development that doesn't hurt. Rails is a web-application framework that includes everything needed to create database-backed web applications according to the Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern.
What is Scala? A pure-bred object-oriented language that runs on the JVM. Scala is an acronym for “Scalable Language”. This means that Scala grows with you. You can play with it by typing one-line expressions and observing the results. But you can also rely on it for large mission critical systems, as many companies, including Twitter, LinkedIn, or Intel do. To some, Scala feels like a scripting language. Its syntax is concise and low ceremony; its types get out of the way because the compiler can infer them.
Rails can be classified as a tool in the "Frameworks (Full Stack)" category, while Scala is grouped under "Languages".
"Rapid development", "Great gems" and "Great community" are the key factors why developers consider Rails; whereas "Static typing", "Jvm" and "Pattern-matching" are the primary reasons why Scala is favored.
Rails and Scala are both open source tools. It seems that Rails with 43.4K GitHub stars and 17.5K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Scala with 11.8K GitHub stars and 2.73K GitHub forks.
According to the StackShare community, Rails has a broader approval, being mentioned in 2320 company stacks & 779 developers stacks; compared to Scala, which is listed in 436 company stacks and 315 developer stacks.
What is Rails?
What is Scala?
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The first live version of Leanstack was actually a WordPress site. There wasn’t a whole lot going on at first. We had static pages with static content that needed to be updated manually. Then came the concept of user-generated content and we made the switch to a full on Rails app in November of last year. Nick had a lot of experience with Rails so that made the decision pretty easy. But I had also played around with Rails previously and was comfortable working with it. I also knew I’d need to hire engineers with a lot more experience building web apps than I do, so I wanted to go with a language and framework other people would have experience with. Also, the sheer number of gems and tools available for Rails is pretty amazing (shout to RubyToolbox ).
I don’t see us ever having to move away from Rails really, but I could be wrong. Leanstack was built in Rails 3. For StackShare we decided to upgrade to Rails 4. Biggest issue with that has been caching. DHH decided to remove the standard page and action caching in favor of key-based caching (source)[http://edgeguides.rubyonrails.org/caching_with_rails.html#page-caching]. Probably a good thing from a framework-perspective. But pretty shitty to have to learn about that after testing out your new app and realizing nothing is cached anymore :( We’ll need to spend some more time implementing "Russian Doll Caching", but for now we’ve got a random mixture of fragment and action caching (usually one or the other) based on which pages are most popular.
We use Rails for webpages and projects, not for backend services. Actually if you click through our website, you won't notice it but you're clicking though, I think, seven or eight different Rails projects. We tie those all together with a front-end library that we wrote, which basically makes sure that you have a consistent experience over all these different Rails apps.
It's a gem, we call it Karmeleon. It's not a gem that we released. It's an internal gem. Basically what it does is it makes sure that we have a consistent layout across multiple Rails apps. Then we can share stuff like a menu bar or footer or that kind of stuff.
So if we start a new front end project it's always a Rails application. We pull in the Karmeleon gem with all our styling stuff and then basically the application is almost ready to be deployed. That would be an empty page, but you would still have top bar, footer, you have some custom components that you can immediately use. So it kind of bootstraps our entire project to be a front end project.
Scala is the God of languages. A legend. The Mount Rushmore of hybrid OO/functional languages is Scala's face four times over.
Ok, honestly, we love Scala. We love(d) Java (and it's parents C and C++), and we love(d) all the languages that borrowed cough stole cough from Java over the years such as Groovy, Clojure, and C#.
It may not be perfect (it totally is, but since programming languages don't have egos of their own, we don't want to paint it too bright), but it is awesome. It runs on the JVM, you can utilize Spring, it works great for data processing (which is sorta kinda the thing we do here, folks), and it just makes sense at all levels.
Nearly our entire server codebase is written in Scala (if you haven't heard of it, it's a programming language that is basically what you would get if Java + ML had a baby). This has worked out super well. It enables us to write concise easy to deal with code that is typechecked at compile time. It's also been a big help with recruiting.
Web has always been in Rails from the beginning, so we used Redis for caching our items, which we had, from the beginning. Rails is kind of what we were comfortable with, and we knew we wanted the front end to be really, really snappy, so we de-normalized all the item attributes into Redis, and that's how it got served out.
Rails 5 (beta 3) provided a nice structure for rendering responses, linking to front-end assets (compiled previously via Webpack), handling sessions w/ tailor made login links via an email button/token, background jobs, and creating an admin behind basic auth to allow managing of users and purchases.
worked with scala for around 2 years. really enjoyed the language and getting back into the world of functional. unfortunately the community is heavily fragmented and the language itself broken and inconsistent. that with the various factions involved made it a put of for long term investment.
For this project rails was ideal due to new features introduced in Rails 5 that allowed us to build a lightweight "API only" project. Developer familiarity and the ability to rapidly iterate, as well as providing an accessible testing framework were additional factors.
Scala, Akka and Spray (which became Akka-Http) provided the building blocks for the menu service.
Akka's actors and finite-state machine were a natural way to model a USSD menu (a series of stateful interactions between a subscriber and the USSD gateway).