Backend Web Development
While you might not know exactly what backend web development means you certainly benefit from it every day when you browse any site online.
There’s a couple ways to put it in perspective for those of you non-techy’s out there. Think of it like this. Did you ever create a Piczo or Xanga site when you were young? Remember how you could drag and drop a photo or text (fairly) easily but if you wanted that dang glitter background.. You were going to have to do some coding. And by coding I mean find the HTML online somewhere and go into the backend to add it. Sometimes you had to edit the text but that was rare.
It’s like that… except for a 1000x’s more complex. There are a lot of
Front End Web Development
Front end web development is something that a lot of people are looking for in a website. Like, if you’ve finally decided to start that cooking blog you’ve been thinking about for years or maybe you just started a new business and don’t have the money to invest in a professional website yet - that’s the target audience for front end web development.
Simply put, front end web development is user-side development. The best example of front end development we can think of is Wix. If you start a Wix site you can immediately begin editing your site from the front end. With a click of their plus sign (+) you can add a header, box, photo, or much more and drag it onto your site. You can click any text box and begin typing.. These are all aspects of front-end web design. While yes, Wix is using back end web development on their end, the client never sees that. They’ve optimized their site so that the users can make a great, well-designed website without having to learn to code.
Backend Web Development
The backend of any website includes an application, a server, and a database. This technology is built and maintained so that your typical web user can operate your site or application with ease.
Backend Web Development Languages and What they’re Used for
To say that backend web development is complicated is an understatement. There are many different methodologies that can be applied together or separately that will add different features to your desk browser, web browser, mobile site, gaming console.. Etc.
To understand the complexity of backend web development we must first look at the different languages and what differentiates them:
We gotta talk about Java first because it is the most popular programming language. This language was used to produce sites like Groupon, Linkedin, and AirBnB and is so versatile that it’s commonly known to WORA (write once, run anywhere). Specifically, Java code can run on every platform that supports Java without any need for recompilation.
We’re going to Python next because it is currently the fastest-growing programming language (source). Python, like Java and a lot of other programming languages, is an open source language meaning it can always be modified and built upon. Python is also similar to other languages such as Ruby and PHP in that it’s a dynamically typed language.
Python can be used to develop both desktop and web applications. Most notably, it’s used by Uber, Netflix, and Zillow.
PHP, while not as popular as Java, is still used on about 78.9% of all websites (source). Possibly because it’s one of the oldest languages out there. Moreover, you can design a simple or complex website or web application using PHP and send it to the client who can see the frontend via web browser.
Although PHP can be tricky sometimes given that it’s most notably typed and there can be multiple solutions to one problem, which sometimes, leads to slow running applications and a better effort to help scale the project. It can’t be too much of a problem though considering the top dollar sites that use PHP like Facebook, Wikipedia, and Wordpress.
.NET uses a variety of languages to build websites like C#, F#, and VB (visual basic). As much as I want to go into all the riveting details about what all those languages are and do.. I’m going to leave you with some hyperlinks and move on to more info about .NET. After all, I know that’s what you’re here for.
Now, .NET is an open sourced so there are a lot of libraries and tutorials online to help those using it. And just because it’s a Microsoft product it can still integrate with MacOS and of course Android via their product .NET Core. .NET is a popular tool used by BIG companies like Starbucks, Wayfair, and GoDaddy. Fair enough to because .NET is known to be reliable, speedy, and has many functions designed to collect data.
Ruby (Ruby on Rails)
Ruby actually doesn’t require a lot of work in the backend which allows products to be built and launched more swiftly. It’s meant to help users perform simple tasks. To give you more of an idea, some companies that use Ruby include Instacart, Hulu, and TimeHop - all of which perform simple tasks in the most productive manner.
That’s not to say Ruby can’t be used to create a complex product. In fact, there’s a popular web library called RubyGems that allows anyone to upload a “gem” or software package and then it’s immediately available for anyone that uses the library to use. These gems can be used to build complex websites, but again, it’s not common.
Last but not least, we have SQL. SQL (i.e. sequel) stands for structured query language. This language is a common one that beginners can pick up with ease. It’s notably used for querying and editing information in database management systems.
For instance, companies like SurveyMonkey, Huddle, and even Microsoft all use SQL to help them query people.
That was a lot of knowledge to hit you with, we know. But you have to know that although backend web development seems like a lot of work - and will cost you some cha-ching to employ someone to do so - it’s necessary to create a highly versatile website on a larger scale.
There’s a reason these huge brands are operating with backend web development. It’s because they have a specific vision for their website they want to see played out. They have specific goals for their site and need effective solutions to see them out.