While almost all businesses nowadays understand the importance of having their own websites, there’s still some confusion about how websites (or web applications) work. We at DDI development sometimes have to answer basic questions like what is the difference between frontend and backend? In this article we will describe both sides of web development in order to clarify the issue.
What is Front End Development?
If we are to compare backend vs frontend, than the latter is like the tip of the iceberg, the part of the website or application that is visible to your visitors. The main parts of the frontend include such main parts:
- Frontend web design is your website appearance, created with Photoshop, Fireworks or ready Content Management Systems like WordPress. All pictures, blocks of text, buttons and menus are created using web design tools.
- Frontend web development accounts for creating a website or app features visitors interact with. Whenever users browse a website, open new pages, click buttons, open menus and invoke certain actions, they utilize possibilities provided by frontend web development.
There are three major components of said development, which use the following tools:
- HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language, which allows your browser to read and display the website contents
- CSS: Cascading Style Sheets is a language, which is responsible for operating with fonts, colors, backgrounds, etc,
These three main parts of front end programming enable front-end developers to create user interfaces. Some webpages are static, meaning they have all the needed info (your product photos and company contacts, for example) on them and don’t require any interaction with the server. However, more often you would like the customers to submit some data, register an account, which assumes this data has to be stored in a database on your server. This requires using dynamic web pages and certain data processing logic, and this is where backend comes into the play.
What is Back End Development?
Back-end development is responsible for the rest of the iceberg, the submerged part the visitors don’t think (and often don’t even know) about. Here are just some of the actions which take place in the backend:
- Data storage in some database (MySQL, PostgreSQL, etc.) - this means that if your visitors submit any data it has to be stored somewhere on a server in order to be efficiently used afterwards.
- Client-server interactions - queries for data issued on the client side and responses from the server side. Whenever your customers request certain data stored on the server, update their personal data, or request any computations like sorting the data using certain criteria, etc. this involves client-server interactions.
- Websiteapplication code written in coding languages like Java, C#/C++, PHP, .NET, Ruby or Python, etc. This code ensures correct user authentication, data validation, enforcing security measures, providing safe data processing, etc.
One of focal points in the backend vs frontend comparison lies in the plain of security. In the early days of the Internet, when browsers were not secure enough and client computers deployed limited resources, leaving as much as possible computations and logic on server side was the only way to ensure stability of application usage and security of information provided by the users. However, things changed greatly during several last years, as the AngularJS framework is capable of enduring huge volumes of computations in the browser, removing much of the workload from server side. Security issues are still in place though, despite the great road the browsers have gone towards greater security.
Actually, both frontend and backend parts of the app are responsible for data validation nowadays, yet implementing security features and final data validation mechanisms on the server side is highly recommended in order to keep vital app components out of exposure. Event logging and code debugging is also implemented on the server side for obvious reasons. As server is a process that is constantly listening for requests from the client, validating the legal requests and blocking illegal access attempts is an important part of backend web development.
When developers can create both back-end and front-end parts of the website or app, they are called full stack developers. These are what we have here at DDI Development. Even if they concentrate only on frontend or backend part for you project, their experience in both fields allows them creating reliable and efficient solutions.
Let’s sum it up. Front end is the part of your website or app your customers see and interact with. Back end is the engine behind that interface, allowing data validation, processing and storage. You cannot build website without frontend or without backend, as these are two parts of one whole.
What else would you like to know on frontend and backend development? Have any further questions? Share your thoughts in the comments below!