Web Development Languages Wars – Erlang vs Elixir vs Ruby

When it comes to web development languages, we have a variety of tech stacks to choose from.

In this article, I will discuss three popular languages (Erlang vs Elixir vs Ruby) and their famous web development use-cases.

Web Development Languages Wars – Erlang vs Elixir vs Ruby

When it comes to web development languages, we have a variety of tech stacks to choose from. In this article, I have discussed three popular languages and their famous web development use-cases. Why am I comparing these languages with each other? There are a few similarities and history that these three languages share. This is the reason why you find many debates over Ruby vs Elixir and Erlang vs Elixir over the internet.  

Ruby, Erlang, and Elixir, all these programming languages have been used in most popular websites. Before comparing the three top web development languages with each other, let’s have a little overview. 

Erlang vs Elixir vs Ruby


Ruby is an Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) language developed with an objective to make programming easier. It is a clean, simple, and programer friendly language that has helped in making web development easy and fun for the programmers. Imagine that a couple of lines of Ruby code could replace long lines of code of its counterparts. That is something, right? The Ruby on Rails framework made Ruby programming language a web development powerhouse. Here are high-level details on Ruby: 

Year of Birth: 1993 

Inventor: Yukihiro Matsumoto

Famous Framework: Ruby on Rails

Top Use-cases 

  • Shopify
  • Hulu
  • Airbnb
  • Dribbble
  • Fiverr
  • Goodreads

Top Features

The syntax of Ruby is close to the plain English language. Rails use its internal DSL that helps to extend the language with its own semantics. Furthermore, you will see a huge number of commits for this language. Ruby on Rails has a dedicated community that makes sure that it is in top-notch condition for everyone.

It is estimated that the Ruby on Rails project requires 30 to 40 percent less time to be completed as compared to other languages. This makes it an ideal choice for startups and small-level projects. The third-party tools make the web development process quite quick. 


Ruby has performance and concurrency issues, making it unsuitable for large-scale web development projects.


Erlang is a functional programming language. You may call it the language of communication. It was designed under the telecommunication giant Erricson. However, the scope of Erlang isn’t limited. It is one of the suitable programming languages for web development. It is a fast, high-performing, fault-tolerant language. The only thing that is in Erlang’s way to being one of the top web development languages is its syntax and semantics. Let’s have a brief look at Erlang:

Year of Birth: 1986

Inventors: Joe Armstrong, Robert Virding, and Mike Williams

Famous Platform: OTP

Top Use-cases

  • WhatsApp 
  • Bleacher Report

Top Features

Erlang is a programming language designed for building scalable and reliable real-time systems. The web solutions with requirements on high availability and reliability are built on Erlang. What makes Erlang a game-changer? Its runtime system has built-in support for concurrency, distribution, and fault tolerance. It enables “hot-swapping”, which allows changing the code seamlessly without stopping the system. 


The syntax of the language is a bit difficult to handle by new learners. It is difficult to switch from Ruby to Erlang.


Elixir is emerging as a top web development language in recent years. Why is this so? It is built to achieve features of both Ruby and Erlang. It was invented with the intention to achieve high performance and reduce the complexity of Erlang. This is the reason why Elixir is built on top of Erlang VM. It is a younger language as compared to its counterparts.

Year of Birth: 2011 

Inventor: Jose Valim

Famous Framework: Phoenix

Top Use-cases

  • Moz
  • Lonely Planet
  • Financial Times
  • Toyota Connected
  • Bleacher Report
  • Pinterest


Top Features

Elixir is also a functional programming language designed for building scalable and reliable real-time systems – just like Erlang.  What’s more? The syntax of Elixir is quite close to Ruby. There is a reason behind it. Jose Valim, the inventor of Elixir was originally a Ruby on Rails programmer. Makes sense right? Furthermore, the inherent Erlang processes help Elixir developers to easily scale systems. Moreover, Elixir applications are fault-tolerant and reliable. The concurrency of the Elixir language also makes it a top contender in high-performance languages.

Phoenix is one of the most user-friendly and efficient frameworks out there. Elixir and Phoenix is a powerful tech stack for web development. It is fast and efficient to develop back-end web applications.


As Elixir is a comparatively new language, it is difficult to find experts in the domain. Furthermore, as Elixir is comparatively a new language, so you might not find suitable libraries for some functions.

Comparison of the Web Development Languages

Here is a comparison between Erlang vs Elixir vs Ruby:

Language Simplicity

When it comes to the battle between the three programming languages, Elixir and Ruby beat Erlang in this department. These both are easier and cleaner languages to code.


In the department of performance, Erlang ranks at the top. Elixir stands very close to it, while both Elixir and Erlang beat Ruby by far in terms of performance. 


Ruby on Rails is perhaps the most famous framework out there with far more libraries and integrations as compared to others. However, Phoenix for Elixir is also one of the top contenders in this game. It is a powerful framework for web development and is increasingly becoming famous among the masses.


In the department of scalability, Erlang and Elixir beat Ruby. Ruby is more suitable for smaller projects or web prototypes.

Fault Tolerance

The motto of Erlang is ‘let it crash’. Elixir has inherited this motto and both languages are reliable and fault-tolerant as compared to Ruby.


As discussed earlier, Ruby projects tend to complete early thanks to its powerful framework and cleaner code. Elixir is quite close to Ruby in terms of productivity due to the same reasons.

Wrapping up the Web Development Languages Debate

It seems that Elixir is a top contender in all of the departments if we compare the three web development languages with each other. If you need more information on the web development technology stack and want to discuss which platform is best for your application, feel free to contact us.