Compare all

Rails ActionCable vs SignalR

Discover how Rails ActionCable compares to SignalR, and understand which is right for your use case, based on dimensions such as core features, pricing, reliability, and scalability.

What is Rails ActionCable?

Rails Action Cable is a framework built into Ruby on Rails that integrates WebSockets for real-time communication, allowing developers to create interactive applications.

Suitable for:

  • Small apps
  • Rails apps
  • Simple real-time use cases
  • Interactive features

Not suitable for:

  • Large-scale apps
  • Multi-protocol needs
  • High scalability requirements
  • Non-Rails apps

Pros:

  • Easy to integrate
  • Uses Rails conventions
  • Quick setup
  • Good for small apps

Cons:

  • Limited scalability
  • Lacks advanced features
  • Only supports WebSockets
  • Not for large apps
  • Limited protocols

What is SignalR?

An open-source library that simplifies adding real-time web functionality to apps. It is integrated into the ASP.NET Core web development stack and provides a mechanism for two-way remote procedure calls between client and server.

Suitable for:

  • Apps that require high frequency updates from the server, like gaming, social networks, voting, auction, maps, and GPS apps.
  • Dashboards and monitoring apps
  • Collaborative apps
  • Apps that require notifications

Not suitable for:

-Stateless applications -Apps with high scalability requirements -Apps with high throughput requirements

Pros:

  • Open source
  • Free to use

Cons:

  • Self-hosted
  • Complex to manage

Compare Rails ActionCable and SignalR

Let’s compare Rails ActionCable and SignalR, looking at key dimensions such as their core features, pricing, integrations, QoS, performance, and security and compliance.

Disclaimer:This comparison was created based on documentation and resources freely available online about Rails ActionCable and SignalR. The content was last updated on 10 Jul 2024 for Rails ActionCable and on 11 Jul 2024 for SignalR. Be sure to double-check everything before you make any decisions. If you do find anything incorrect or out of date, then please contact us.

Core features
Pub/Sub messaging

Reduces communication code complexity, simplifying the process of building highly functional and architecturally complex realtime apps.

Rails ActionCable

Partial

Supports basic pub/sub via channels.

SignalR

Partial

The SignalR SDKs do not provide a topic abstraction out of the box, but they provide a "groups" abstraction which lets you implement something similar.

Read more
Chat capabilities

Accelerates the time to implement rich chat experiences with features such as read receipts, typing indicators, and more.

Rails ActionCable

Partial

Rails ActionCable does not have an out-of-the box chat solution, but provides the building blocks for a basic chat implementation.

Read more
SignalR

Yes

SignalR (ASP.net) allows you to implement chat capabilities.

Read more
Collaboration capabilities

Enables you to quickly integrate realtime collaborative features like live cursors, member location, avatar stacks, and component locking.

Rails ActionCable

Partial

Rails ActionCable provides basic support, but lacks advanced features like live cursors or component locking.

SignalR

No

State sync capabilities

Enables realtime data synchronization across devices and users, ensuring a cohesive and up-to-date user experience.

Rails ActionCable

Partial

Rails ActionCable offers basic state sync capabilities, but it does not offer advanced tools to ensure continued synchronization between clients and devices.

SignalR

No

Presence

Maintaining a view of which users are connected, and their associated metadata, enables their online status to be updated in realtime.

Rails ActionCable

Partial

Rails ActionCable doesn't offer presence out of the box, but can support presence when custom built on a user appearance channel.

Read more
SignalR
Occupancy

High-level metrics about the clients currently connected to a channel make it simple to show things such as connected user count, or display which channels are the most popular.

Rails ActionCable

No

SignalR

No

Message interactions

Enables interaction with previously-sent messages, facilitating the implementation of features like message reactions and threads.

Rails ActionCable

Partial

Rails ActionCable supports basic message interactions like broadcasting but advanced features like reactions require custom code.

SignalR

No

Message history

Enables clients to catch up on missed messages when inactive, ensuring a user doesn’t miss any important messages.

Rails ActionCable

No

SignalR

No

Push notifications

Cross-platform push notifications make it possible to deliver important and timely messages to users even when they’re inactive.

Rails ActionCable

No

SignalR

No

Microsoft Azure Web PubSub has no native push notification functionality. Microsoft has a separate service for this - Azure Notification Hubs.

Read more
Message delta compression

Minimizes bandwidth and can reduce latency, particularly in scenarios where continuous updates are sent.

Rails ActionCable

No

SignalR

No

Programmatic management

Enables the automation of provisioning, management, and testing of service resources, simplifying integration with existing development workflows such as CI.

Rails ActionCable

Yes

Rails ActionCable can be managed through Rails.

SignalR

No

Pricing
Free plan

With a free plan, you can test the service’s functionality and compatibility with your project before committing to a paid plan.

Rails ActionCable

Yes

The Rails framework, including Rails ActionCable, is completely free and open-source.

SignalR

Yes

Self-hosted and free.

Pricing model

The pricing model should align with your project's expected load, usage patterns, and budget in order to be cost-effective and efficient.

Rails ActionCable

Completely free, no paid plans.

SignalR

N/A (self-hosted)

Integrations & interoperability
SDKs

Supporting multiple languages and platforms offers greater flexibility when building cross-platform realtime apps.

Rails ActionCable
  • Ruby
  • JavaScript
SignalR

Client SDKs:

  • ASP.NET Core
  • Java
  • JavaScript (browser, Node)
  • C++ (experimental)
  • Swift (experimental)

Server SDKs:

  • ASP.NET Core
Supported realtime protocols

Support for multiple protocols provides the flexibility to choose a protocol that best suits your project’s requirements.

Rails ActionCable
  • WebSockets
SignalR
  • WebSockets
  • Server-sent events (SSEs)
  • Long polling
Serverless functions

Enables integration with third-party cloud providers by facilitating the execution of custom code against messages to perform business logic like on-the-fly translation.

Rails ActionCable

None.

SignalR

None.

Streaming & queueing

Provides a dependable method to reroute messages from the service to third-party streams and queues for further processing.

Rails ActionCable

No

SignalR

No

Observability services

Enables realtime monitoring and troubleshooting by offering insights into service behavior directly in your observability platform of choice.

Rails ActionCable

No

SignalR

Partial

SignalR is integrated with ASP.net Core metrics, and these can be reported to a monitoring system at regular intervals.

Read more
CI/CD tools

Makes it possible to provision and configure service infrastructure as part of a CI or CD pipeline, enabling repeatable and reliable deployments.

Rails ActionCable

No

SignalR

No

Self-hosted, so you will have to implement your own.

Quality of Service
Scalability

Scalability is vital as it ensures the service can handle increased data load or users without compromising performance.

Rails ActionCable

No metrics available.

SignalR

N/A (self-hosted)

Guaranteed message delivery

Ensures messages are never lost during transmission, even in the presence of network disruptions.

Rails ActionCable

No

SignalR

No

Guaranteed message ordering

Maintains the sequence of messages as they were sent. This is particularly important in apps where the chronological order of messages is essential for meaningful communication.

Rails ActionCable

No

SignalR

No

Exactly-once message delivery

Guarantees that each message is processed exactly once, preventing data inconsistencies that can arise from duplicate processing or missing messages.

Rails ActionCable

No

SignalR

No

Performance & availability
Uptime Guarantee

An uptime guarantee instills confidence in the reliability of the service and protects your business from the negative impacts of downtime.

Rails ActionCable

No uptime SLA.

SignalR

N/A

Global edge network

By bringing servers (Points of Presence, or PoP) geographically closer to the devices of end users, and routing requests to the nearest PoP, global latency is reduced to a minimum.

Rails ActionCable

No

SignalR

No

Multi-region data replication (message durability)

By replicating data across multiple regions, the risk of data loss or downtime is greatly mitigated since if data is lost or a server fails in one region, the information can be retrieved from another.

Rails ActionCable

No

SignalR

No

No single point of failure or congestion

Having no single point of failure means a system is resilient and can continue to operate even if one part fails. Avoiding a single point of congestion ensures messages flow efficiently across the system and avoids bottlenecks that could lead to performance issues under load.

Rails ActionCable

No

SignalR

No

Latency

Low latency is crucial for realtime apps as it ensures swift and efficient data transmissions, providing a smoother and more responsive user experience.

Rails ActionCable

Unknown.

SignalR

N/A (self-hosted)

Security & compliance
API key authentication

Simplifies the authentication code on trusted servers compared to requesting, managing, and refreshing tokens.

Rails ActionCable

No

SignalR

No

Token-based authentication

Provides a means to securely authenticate user devices against your user management system.

Rails ActionCable

No

SignalR

Yes

It is possible to use token based authentication with ASP.net Core.

Read more
Single Sign-On (SSO) authentication

SSO streamlines login processes, boosts security by minimizing password use, and meets compliance needs for secure data access management.

Rails ActionCable

No

SignalR

Yes

This is possible in conjunction with an identity platform like Microsoft Entra.

Read more
Rules for permissions and operations

Provides control over which users can subscribe and publish to certain channels.

Rails ActionCable

Yes

SignalR

Yes

You can restrict access to hubs and hub methods to users matching specific authorization policies.

Read more
End-to-end encryption

Ensures that the data transmitted between the client and the API server remains confidential and secure while in transit.

Rails ActionCable

No

SignalR

No

You would need to implement this yourself.

Encryption at rest

Ensures data stored by the service is secure and compliant, while also mitigating the risks of a data breach.

Rails ActionCable

No

SignalR

No

Compliance

Compliance with regulations can impact your ability to meet legal obligations in your industry.

Rails ActionCable

None.

SignalR

N/A

Alternatives to Rails ActionCable and SignalR

Whilst both Rails ActionCable and SignalR are worth considering as options for realtime experiences, they aren’t without their limitations. We suggest evaluating them against the following alternatives to make sure you find the right solution for your needs.

Alternatives to Rails ActionCable

Pusher is a first-generation pub/sub messaging service that provides bi-directional hosted APIs for adding realtime features to applications.

Socket.IO is a library that provides realtime, bi-directional communication between clients and servers. It allows the management of connections, sending and receiving messages, and more.

Ably is the definitive realtime experience platform of the internet. Serving more WebSocket connections than any other pub/sub platform on earth. Businesses trust us to power their critical applications - reliably, securely and at serious scale.

Alternatives to SignalR

Socket.IO is a library that provides realtime, bi-directional communication between clients and servers. It allows the management of connections, sending and receiving messages, and more.

Microsoft Azure Web PubSub is a fully managed PubSub offering. It is available as part of Microsoft's Azure Cloud Computing platform.

Pusher is a first-generation pub/sub messaging service that provides bi-directional hosted APIs for adding realtime features to applications.

Discover how Rails ActionCable and SignalR stack up against Ably

Ably is the definitive realtime experience platform of the internet. See how we compare to Rails ActionCable and SignalR on key dimensions such as core features, pricing, integrations, QoS, performance, and security and compliance.

Try Ably for free to discover the benefits for yourself

Ably has built reliable realtime infrastructure so you don’t have to. On our free plan you benefit from:

  • 6M Monthly messages
  • 200 concurrent channels
  • 200 concurrent connections