When comparing C# vs Ruby, the Slant community recommends Ruby for most people. In the question“What is the best programming language to learn first?” Ruby is ranked 6th while C# is ranked 14th. The most important reason people chose Ruby is:
Ruby has a very clean syntax that makes code easier to both read and write than more traditional Object Oriented languages, such as Java. For beginning programmers, this means the focus is on the meaning of the program, where it should be, rather than trying to figure out the meaning of obscure characters. presidents = ["Ford", "Carter", "Reagan", "Bush1", "Clinton", "Bush2"] for ss in 0...presidents.length print ss, ": ", presidents[presidents.length - ss - 1], "\n"; end
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Awesome IDE for Windows
On Windows, Visual Studio is the recommended C# IDE. It provides a very flexible GUI that you can rearrange the way you want and many useful features such as refactorings (rename a variable, extract some code into a method, ...) and code formatting (you can pick exactly how you want the code to be formatted).
Visual Studio also highlights your errors when you compile, making your debug sessions more efficient since you don't have to run the code to see the mistakes. There's also a powerful debugger that allows you to execute the code step-by-step and even change what part of the code will be executed next. In addition to giving you all the line-by-line information you'll need in a hassle-free manner, Visual Studio has stuff you can click on in the errors window that will take you to the documentation for that error, saving you several minutes of web searching.
In addition to all of this, Visual Studio has an intuitive, intelligent, and helpful graphical user interface designer that generates code for you (the best of WYSIWYG, in my opinion), which is helpful for new programmers. Being able to create a fantastic-looking UI with one's mouse and then optionally tweak with code helps make programming fun for beginner developers.
Visual Studio also has the best code completion --Intellisense is every bit as intelligent as the name says it is. It, as well as VS's parameter hinting, is context-, type-, user-, and position-sensitive, and displays relevant completions in a perfectly convenient yet understandable order. This feature allows a new programmer to answer the questions "What does this do?" and "How do I use it?" right then and there rather than having to switch to a browser to read through extensive documentation. This allows the programmer to satisfy their curiosity before it is snuffed out by several minutes of struggling through exhaustive documentation.
And for the more adventurous and text-ready developer, Microsoft does the best job of ensuring that everything, from interfaces and wildcard types down to Console.WriteLine("") and the + operator, is well-documented and easy to understand, with relevant and well-explained usage examples that manage to be bite-size yet complete, simple yet truly helpful. The reference site is easy to navigate, well-organized, clean and uncluttered, up-to-date, and fresh and enjoyable to look at, and every page is well-written with consideration for readers who are not C# experts yet want to read about changing the console background color.
The best part? It's free! Visual C# Express contains all of the features described above, at zero cost. If you are a student, you can probably get Visual Studio Professional from your university, which also includes tools for unit testing and supports plugins.
Pro Incredibly Well-Engineered Language
Where other languages invoke the feeling of being a product of organic growth over time, C# just feels like an incredibly well-designed language where everything has its purpose and almost nothing is non-essential.
Pro .NET is a great toolbox
C# runs on top of the .NET framework, which provides many libraries containing classes used for common tasks such as connecting to the Internet, displaying a window or editing files. Unlike many other languages, you don't have to pick between a handful of libraries for every small task you want to do.
Pro Supports some functional features
C# is primarily object-oriented, but it also supports some features typically found in functional languages such as lambdas, delegates and anonymous classes. Methods can be treated like any other object, and the Linq query system operates on monads with lazy evaluation (though it hides this with a lot of syntactic sugar).
You don't need to use these features to code in C#, though, so you can start with OOP and then learn about them.
Pro Great introduction to object-oriented programming
Object-oriented programming is the most widely-used paradigm. C# offers support for common OOP features such as classes, methods and fields, plus some features not found in competing languages like properties, events and static classes.
C# code is much more readable thanks to the syntactic sugar it offers. You can truly concentrate on your code, not on the way it's implemented.
Pro Best language for Windows programs
C# is clearly the best choice for Windows programs. The .NET framework contains everything you need to build great-looking apps, without having to learn the confusing Win32 API or download a ton of external libraries. C# can also be used to build Windows 8's "modern" apps.
Pro Supported on many platforms
C# can be used for Windows apps, Linux apps, OS X apps, Windows 8 "modern" apps, websites, games, iPhone apps, Android apps, Windows Phone apps, and more.
If you want to create a cross-platform application, you can share most of the code and write one GUI for each platform.
Pro Very high demand in the industry.
Pro Can mix high and low level programming
You can code at the high level without worrying about pointers and memory management, but if you so choose you can switch to lower level programming with direct memory management and pointer manipulation (though you need to compile to specifically allow this).
Pro Great language for Unity game engine
Unity provides a selection of programming languages depending on preference or knowledge - C#, JS, Boo and UnityScript. C# is arguably the most powerful with better syntax and stronger language structure. It allows using script files without attaching them to any game object (classes, methods inside unattached scripts that can be used at any time). There are more tutorials and information for C# than UnityScript and Visual Studio can be used to code for unity in C#. Additionally, learning C# allows using it outside of Unity as well unlike UnityScript.
Pro With ASP CORE a good language to learn
With CORE you are no longer just limited to Windows, so a language worth learning.
Pro Clean syntax
Ruby has a very clean syntax that makes code easier to both read and write than more traditional Object Oriented languages, such as Java. For beginning programmers, this means the focus is on the meaning of the program, where it should be, rather than trying to figure out the meaning of obscure characters.
presidents = ["Ford", "Carter", "Reagan", "Bush1", "Clinton", "Bush2"] for ss in 0...presidents.length print ss, ": ", presidents[presidents.length - ss - 1], "\n"; end
Pro A large ecosystem of tools & libraries
Ruby has a large ecosystem of tools and libraries for just about every use. Such as ORMs (Active Record, DatabMapper), Web Application Frameworks(Rails, Sinatra, Volt), Virtualization Orchestration(docker-api, drelict), CLI tools(Thor, Commando), GUI Frameworks(Shoes, FXRuby) and the list goes on. If you can think of it, there is probably a gem for that ( and if not you can create your own and share with the community).
Pro Widely used
Ruby is one of the most popular languages for developing web sites. As a result, there's an abundant amount of documentation, sample code, and libraries available for learning the language and getting your project up and running. The most popular features are just 'gem install' away. Additionally, it is easier to find Ruby jobs because of this.
Pro Hugely object oriented
Object oriented programming is one of the most important concepts in programming.
Pro Ruby on Rails
Lays out an easy to follow and opinionated MVC pattern that teaches best practices through necessity.
Pro Test Driven Development, #1
It's the fore-runner and trend setter for TDD.
Con Lacks standard-library support for immutable data structures
Con Dependecy on IDE
Most people learn and depend on VisualStudio to write C#. The result is people learn how to use an IDE and not the concepts or fundamentals of good programming. This isn't necessarily a knock on the language itself, but it is frustratingly difficult to do things in C# when not using VS.
Con Complex syntax
Too many syntactic constructs to learn before it becomes usable.
Con Often-used products in most C# development environments get expensive
The majority of the C# development community uses Microsoft products which are not all free and open-source. As you get into the enterprise level of some of these products and subscriptions, the expense is multiple factors of 10 greater.
While you can use a fully open-source and free C# environment, the community around that is much smaller. While this can be said for other languages as well, the majority of C# falls into the for-pay Microsoft realm.
Con Too easy to write multithreading apps that are buggy
Many web frameworks or GUI libraries will push novice users to writing multithreaded code, which leads to frustrating race condition bugs.
Other languages with multithreading push users towards safe constructs, like passing messages and immutable or synchronized containers. But in C# the data structures aren't synchronized by default, and it's easier to just set a field and observe the result from another thread.
Con Its ecosystem is limited outside of web development
If you're looking to host, generate, manipulate or secure a website, Ruby is your language. There's also some great support here for infrastructure as code work via Chef. However, it just doesn't have the depth and breadth that Python does. Things like native UI development, high performance math, and embedded / small footprint environments are barely supported at all in Ruby-space.
Con Meta-programming causes confusion for new developers
The ability for libraries to open classes and augment them leads to confusion for new developers since it is not clear who injected the functionality into some standard class.
In other words, if two modules decide to modify the same function on the same class can introduce a number of issues. Mainly, the order in which the modules are included matters. Since you more or less can't tell what kind of "helper" functions a module might write into any class, or for that matter, where the helper function was included from, you may sometimes wonder why class X can do Y sometimes but not at other times.
Requiring a library can change the rules of the language. This is very confusing for beginners.
Con More than one way to do it
A problem inspired by Perl. The core API interfaces are bloated. There's at least four different ways to define methods. More is not always better. Sometimes it's just more.
Con Arcane grammar based on Perl
Ruby is too complicated for beginners:
- arcane Perlisms;
- semi-significant whitespace;
- parentheses are not necessary around method arguments, except for sometimes they are;
- control constructs could be elegantly implemented with block like Smalltalk (Instead they're baked into the grammar.);
- verbose block syntax, unless it happens to be the last argument. (proc lamda).
- There are too many exceptional cases and arcane precedence rules.
Con No docstrings
It's hard to access Ruby's documentation from the REPL (irb), unlike Python, Lisp, and Smalltalk which let you ask functions how to use them, which is a great benefit to the beginner, and which also encourages you to document your program as you code it.
Con Does not teach you about data types
Since Ruby is a dynamically typed language, you don't have to learn about data types if you start using Ruby as your first language. Data types being one of the most important concepts in programming. This also will cause trouble in the long run when you will have to (inevitably) learn and work with a statically typed language because you will be forced to learn the type system from scratch.
Con Dynamic type system
Majority of bugs could be resolved with types.
Con Focus on Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)
Focussing on OOP in a beginner stage is an easy and popular plan, but not the best one.