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Ruby on Rails vs. Catalyst: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 26, 2023
Ruby on Rails is a web application framework for the Ruby programming language; Catalyst is a web framework for Perl.

Key Differences

Ruby on Rails, commonly just referred to as Rails, is a web application framework written in the Ruby language. It is known for its convention over configuration (CoC) and don't repeat yourself (DRY) principles. Catalyst, on the other hand, is a web framework specifically designed for Perl, another popular programming language.
In the domain of web development, Ruby on Rails offers a streamlined approach, enabling developers to build websites and applications with ease and speed. Catalyst provides a similar avenue for Perl enthusiasts, offering flexibility and ensuring developers can exploit the robust features of Perl in web development.
Ruby on Rails emphasizes the use of default conventions to reduce the number of decisions a developer needs to make. This principle speeds up the development process. In contrast, Catalyst doesn't adhere strictly to conventions, offering developers more flexibility at the expense of increased decision-making.
Another notable difference is the community support and ecosystem surrounding both frameworks. Ruby on Rails boasts a large and active community, with numerous plugins and gems available for developers. Catalyst, while having its dedicated followers, has a smaller ecosystem compared to Rails.
Both frameworks serve the purpose of simplifying web application development for their respective programming languages. While they have different philosophies and communities, both Ruby on Rails and Catalyst remain powerful tools for developers.

Comparison Chart




Convention over Configuration (CoC) and Don't Repeat Yourself (DRY)
More flexible without strict conventions

Community and Ecosystem

Large community with extensive plugins and gems
Smaller ecosystem with dedicated followers

Approach to Development

Streamlined and convention-based
Flexible with more decision-making required

Use Case

Web application development
Web application development for Perl

Ruby on Rails and Catalyst Definitions

Ruby on Rails

A web development framework for Ruby.
She built her startup's website using Ruby on Rails.


Compatible with numerous Perl modules.
He integrated several Perl modules with his Catalyst-based app.

Ruby on Rails

Has a rich ecosystem of gems and plugins.
The app's functionality was extended with several Ruby on Rails gems.


Known for its flexibility in web development.
For Perl developers, Catalyst offers a lot of creative freedom.

Ruby on Rails

Known for its Convention over Configuration philosophy.
Developers appreciate Ruby on Rails for its streamlined approach.


Provides robust features for web applications.
The website's complex features were implemented using Catalyst.

Ruby on Rails

Supports rapid application development.
They quickly prototyped their idea using Ruby on Rails.


A web framework for the Perl language.
He developed the web application using Catalyst.

Ruby on Rails

Emphasizes the DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself) principle.
With Ruby on Rails, he avoided redundant code in his project.


Suitable for a range of web projects.
From small websites to large applications, Catalyst was her go-to framework.


(Chemistry) A substance, usually used in small amounts relative to the reactants, that modifies and increases the rate of a reaction without being consumed in the process.


Is Ruby on Rails only for Ruby language?

Yes, Ruby on Rails is specifically designed for the Ruby language.

How fast can I develop a website using Ruby on Rails?

With its convention-based approach, Ruby on Rails supports rapid application development.

Can I integrate other Perl modules with Catalyst?

Yes, Catalyst is compatible with many Perl modules.

Is Ruby on Rails free to use?

Yes, Ruby on Rails is open-source and free to use.

Are there any popular websites built with Ruby on Rails?

Yes, websites like Airbnb, GitHub, and Basecamp are built using Ruby on Rails.

Are there any limitations to using Catalyst?

While powerful, Catalyst's smaller ecosystem may pose some limitations compared to larger frameworks.

How does Ruby on Rails handle databases?

Ruby on Rails uses Active Record, an ORM, for database interactions.

What kind of applications can I build with Ruby on Rails?

With Ruby on Rails, you can build a wide range of web applications, from simple websites to complex platforms.

Can I extend the functionality of Ruby on Rails?

Absolutely! Ruby on Rails has a rich ecosystem of gems and plugins to extend functionality.

Can I use Catalyst for non-web projects?

While Catalyst is primarily a web framework, Perl's versatility allows for various applications.

How active is the community support for Ruby on Rails?

Ruby on Rails has a large, active community and a plethora of resources available.

Is Catalyst suitable for microservices architecture?

Yes, Catalyst can be used to develop microservices in a Perl environment.

How frequently is Catalyst updated?

Catalyst sees regular updates, but it's essential to check its official resources for the latest information.

Are there any alternatives to Catalyst for Perl web development?

Yes, there are other Perl frameworks like Dancer and Mojolicious.

Is Ruby on Rails beginner-friendly?

Yes, Ruby on Rails is known for its approachability, especially with its convention-based design.

Are there many plugins available for Catalyst?

Catalyst has a selection of plugins, but its ecosystem is smaller compared to Ruby on Rails.

What's a major advantage of Catalyst?

Catalyst offers flexibility and robust features for Perl-based web development.

How does Catalyst compare to other Perl frameworks?

Catalyst is one of the prominent Perl web frameworks known for its flexibility and features.

Why is Ruby on Rails' DRY principle important?

The DRY principle reduces redundancy, making code more maintainable and efficient.

Can I use Catalyst for large-scale applications?

Yes, Catalyst is suitable for both small and large-scale web projects.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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