At Alkami we specialize in Ruby On Rails and believe that for most of our target clients this is a great, cost effective solution for getting their MVP up and running within a reasonable timeframe. We are sometimes asked what the difference is between building Rails vs WordPress apps. Without fully understand what type of app they want, clients often assume WordPress would be a simple solution.
Many people aren’t aware of the differences between the two. Rails is a Module View Controller(MVC) framework for building things – it gives you a toolset that helps make rich web applications. Rails is built using the Ruby programming language, hence the combination Ruby On Rails. WordPress is an application in itself, built without a framework in the PHP programming language. So if the requirements of your application fall within the boundaries of what’s possible in WordPress then WordPress might be a good choice. But once you step outside those boundaries you will quickly hit a wall of what’s possible.
Ruby On Rails(ROR) is a web application framework written in Ruby. It is a MVC framework, providing default structures for a database, a web service, and web pages. If you’re trying to build a web based transaction processing system that heavily focuses on generating reports, Rails is the way to go. Point Of Sale(POS) systems are also great for Rails. We’ve also built quite a few e-commerce apps that our clients are very happy with. Rails has an amazing community of developers that post solutions to pretty much any problem one can encounter. Many programmers, no matter what language(s) they specialize in, reach for Rails when it’s time to build a RESTful API. Rails makes it super easy to build an API with minimum amount of code. Many of the coolest most badass applications on the web have been built using Rails: Airbnb, Bloomberg, Couchsurfing, Goodreads, Groupon, Hulu, and KickStarter just to name a few!
WordPress is a web software written in PHP that you can use to create websites that come packaged with a powerful admin panel. It’s no surprise, if you’re just looking to build a blog you should go with WordPress. Not to say that you can’t build a blog using Rails, cuz you most certainly can but it would take much more time/money to do so. WordPress has a very robust admin panel right out of the box! It would take a good chunk of time to rebuild all these nifty features in Rails. So if you’re just interested in a pure publishing platform that allows you to manage all of your content from an admin panel, certainly consider WordPress. 26% of all websites globally use WordPress.
If you’re just looking for a cheap basic website with publishing capability, you’re better off going with WordPress. WordPress has a very large selection of free to low cost themes you could choose from. WordPress also has a bunch of plugins like WooCommerce that will allow you to process transactions. Scaling and customizing your WordPress site is going to be more challenging and potentially more expenses unless you know PHP. Learning PHP, especially as your first programming language, can be very complicated. The community of Ruby On Rails developers is growing like wildfire. Ruby is arguably one of the simplest programming languages to learn. Building, customizing, maintaining, and scaling a Rails application is becoming very affordable. Many startup founders learn Ruby and Rails so they can better communicate with the developers they hire. There’s no right or wrong choice, it just depends on what type of application you want to build. At Alkami we have experts in both technologies and will advise you based on your requirements.