Django to Ruby on Rails

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How to convert from Django to Ruby on Rails

Transitioning from Django to Ruby on Rails (RoR) can seem daunting at first, but with a structured approach, it becomes manageable. In this guide, we’ll cover the essential steps to help you convert your Django project to Ruby on Rails seamlessly.

Understanding the Framework Differences: Django vs. Ruby on Rails

To begin with, it’s vital to grasp the fundamental differences between Django and Ruby on Rails. Django is a Python-based framework, while Ruby on Rails is built on Ruby. Both frameworks follow the MVC (Model-View-Controller) architectural pattern, but their implementation styles differ.

  • Django:
    • Python-based
    • ORM (Object-Relational Mapping) for database interactions
    • Uses MVT (Model-View-Template) pattern
  • Ruby on Rails:
    • Ruby-based
    • ActiveRecord for database management
    • Uses MVC (Model-View-Controller) pattern

Initial Setup in Ruby on Rails

Before you start converting your Django project to Ruby on Rails, ensure you have a development environment set up for Ruby on Rails.

Install Ruby and Rails

Install Ruby and Rails on your system. For most systems, you can use rbenv or rvm for managing Ruby versions and gems.

# Install rbenv
brew install rbenv

# Install Ruby
rbenv install 3.0.2

# Set Ruby version
rbenv global 3.0.2

# Install Rails
gem install rails

Create a New Rails Application

Initialize a new Rails application where you will migrate your Django project's code.

rails new my_rails_app
cd my_rails_app

Migrating Models

Django models define the data structure and business logic. In Ruby on Rails, ActiveRecord is responsible for the same functionality.

Django Model Example

from django.db import models

class Post(models.Model):
    title = models.CharField(max_length=255)
    content = models.TextField()
    published_date = models.DateTimeField(auto_now_add=True)

Converting to Rails Model

class CreatePosts < ActiveRecord::Migration[6.1]
  def change
    create_table :posts do |t|
      t.string :title
      t.text :content
      t.datetime :published_date, default: -> { 'CURRENT_TIMESTAMP' }


class Post < ApplicationRecord

Migrating Views

Django uses HTML templates with Django Template Language (DTL). Rails uses Embedded Ruby (ERB) or other templating engines such as HAML or Slim.

Django Template Example

<!-- templates/post_detail.html -->
<h1>{{ post.title }}</h1>
<p>{{ post.content }}</p>
<p>Published on {{ post.published_date }}</p>

Converting to Rails View

<!-- app/views/posts/show.html.erb -->
<h1><%= @post.title %></h1>
<p><%= @post.content %></p>
<p>Published on <%= @post.published_date %></p>

Migrating Forms

Forms in Django are handled via Django Forms or ModelForms. In Rails, you generally use form helpers provided by ActiveRecord.

Django Form Example

from django import forms
from .models import Post

class PostForm(forms.ModelForm):
    class Meta:
        model = Post
        fields = ['title', 'content']

Converting to Rails Form

<%= form_with(model: @post, local: true) do |form| %>
  <%= form.label :title %>
  <%= form.text_field :title %>
  <%= form.label :content %>
  <%= form.text_area :content %>
  <%= form.submit %>
<% end %>

Migrating URL Mappings

Django uses the file to define URL patterns for views. Rails uses the config/routes.rb file.

Django URLs Example

from django.urls import path
from .views import PostDetailView

urlpatterns = [
    path('post/<int:pk>/', PostDetailView.as_view(), name='post_detail'),

Converting to Rails Routes

Rails.application.routes.draw do
  resources :posts, only: [:show]

Migrating Authentication

Django comes with a built-in authentication system. Rails has Devise, a comprehensive and highly flexible authentication solution.

Setting Up Devise

Add devise to your Gemfile and run the bundle install command.

gem 'devise'

Run the following Devise generator command:

rails generate devise:install

Follow the instructions provided after running the generator to complete the setup.


Django uses a built-in testing module. Rails commonly uses RSpec and Minitest for testing.

Converting Django Tests to Rails

Example of a basic Django test:

from django.test import TestCase
from .models import Post

class PostTest(TestCase):
    def test_post_creation(self):
        post = Post.objects.create(title="Sample Title", content="Sample Content")
        self.assertTrue(isinstance(post, Post))

Equivalent RSpec test in Rails:

require 'rails_helper'

RSpec.describe Post, type: :model do
  it 'creates a Post successfully' do
    post = Post.create(title: "Sample Title", content: "Sample Content")
    expect(post).to be_an_instance_of(Post)


Converting from Django to Ruby on Rails involves understanding the different conventions and syntax between the two frameworks. By focusing on models, views, forms, URLs, and authentication, you can methodically transition your project. Remember, practice and patience are key. Happy converting!

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