Front End vs. Back End: What’s the Difference?

Krunal Shah

Mar 01, 2022

11 min readLast Updated Mar 01, 2022

Have you heard people talking about front end vs back end programmers? A front-end developer is concerned with the user's experience, whereas back-end developers are concerned with what happens behind the scenes. But there is more.

Back-end programmers work on an application's functionality. They are familiar with servers, applications, and databases. Their main goals are to improve an application's performance and functionality. Their role is to look after what the end-user cannot see. The user is at the center of front-end development. The goal of front-end programmers is to make the user interface and experience as smooth as feasible.

In purely etymological terms, "front-end" refers to what you see on the surface, and "back-end" refers to what happens behind the scenes. It's that simple. In our context, "front-end" refers to the user interface in the web browser, and "back-end" refers to server-side actions. Looking for a more detailed explanation? Read on!

What is Front End?

Let's begin with some practical examples. A static HTML site,  links, photos, a single-page app, functions, and drag-and-drop could all be used as the front-end for dealing with digital material. What was previously limited to the operating system in terms of functionality can now be accessed directly through the web browser.
Today, front-end technology has advanced significantly, providing end users with a virtually infinite amount of options. However, the majority of what you see and feel on the front-end relies on a back-end engine to receive and send data from the front-end.

The front-end information is downloaded and powered by your computer, whereas the back-end must handle thousands, if not millions, of front-ends. For example, the front-end code for Facebook runs on your computer, but the back-end handles all of the requests, searches, and data streaming—basically all of the heavy lifting. Wondering what exactly is back end/ back end development? Here you go!

What is Back End?

APIs, constructing front-end code, scaling, data storage, business logic, and user authentication are all examples of back-end. To put it another way, back-end entails a great deal of intricacy. Consider how many servers, infrastructure, and security are required to run a service such as Facebook.

In comparison, the front-end is more isolated and clean, but due to the near proximity of end users and their comments, it still takes time to create. The front-end is comparable to a steering wheel, whereas the back-end is comparable to a car engine. With the exception of a few simple apps, you won't be able to get anywhere without the back-end.


What is Front End Development?

The practice of making technology (items or websites) visually appealing and intuitive is known as front end development. Simply said, a front end developer takes a technological product (or website's) useful code and makes it pleasant and accessible to humans. Like any other profession, becoming a successful front end developer has its hurdles. Many aspects of the process, however, have become easier as a result of increasing access to materials and online courses. Furthermore, front end developers have access to major mentorship possibilities through boot camps or their employers, which makes learning that much easier.

The following are the most common front end languages used by software developers to produce smooth, user-friendly websites:

HTML

The acronym HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language, and it's all about the content. It specifies the structure of the online pages we see in our browser when we visit Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, or any other website. Most significantly, it enables us to link to other websites.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is the style language. It enables website developers to create visual impact without having to write sophisticated HTML.

CSS

CSS gives you insight into working with different sorts of fonts and other style characteristics and allows you to edit the elements you've built in HTML. It gives web pages and applications a design element.

JavaScript

Another important coding language for front-end development is JavaScript. It allows you to add animation, interaction, and dynamic visual effects to your HTML. It incorporates the ability to provide visitors with rapid feedback, making websites more informative. An interactive JavaScript feature is, for example, a shopping cart or basket on a website that adds up the entire cost. Front end also works in its own set of frameworks and libraries. Here are just a few of the frameworks and libraries a front end developer would work with:

  • AngularJS
  • React.js
  • jQuery

What is Back End Development?

Creating libraries, developing database code, writing APIs, and working on data architecture comes under back-end development. When it comes to backend development languages, backend developers have a lot of options to pick from. It is highly dependent on the type of website/application you are developing.

Some programming languages are now superior to others in terms of simplicity of use and compatibility. There are three types of programming languages: object-oriented, compiled, and interpreted. So there's a lot to choose from.

Many websites are based using PHP, which is one of the most widely used server-side scripting languages. Then there's Python, which has a tremendous amount of computing power. You might also consider using a lightweight backend language like Ruby. Other programming languages include

  • .NET
  • Perl
  • Node.js
  • Java
  • C# and C++
  • Scala

You can undertake efficient work in the field of backend development if you combine these server-side programming languages with their corresponding frameworks.

The following are some of the most prominent and widely used backend frameworks:

  • Symfony (for PHP)
  • Django (for Python)
  • Node.js including MeteorJS and ExpressJS (for JavaScript with Node.js)
  • Spring Framework (for Java)
  • Ruby on Rails
  • JSF (Java Server Faces)

A developer may be required to work with a specific language or perhaps numerous languages to reach the desired outcome, depending on the firm for which the engineer works or the needs of the client. There are numerous sophisticated back end languages to choose from, two of the most important ones are -

Python

Python is a dynamic, all-purpose programming language. Because of its easy coding, it is an ideal back-end language for learning. Python can be used by developers to create web or app prototypes for testing and data analysis. Due to its open-source nature, it is a language that is always changing. Python is a prominent programming language used by companies such as Google, Instagram, and Reddit.

Ruby

Ruby is a dynamic, open-source programming language that emphasizes efficiency and simplicity. It is widely used since it is simple to read and write. Developers can customize every information and code in Ruby to add specific features and behaviors. It's a versatile language, so users can tweak and change features to suit their needs. Ruby is a developer-oriented language, not a machine-specific language, and thus does not impose any limitations on the programmer.

Node.js

Backend development with Node.js has become very popular among software developers. Back-end development with Node.js is not new, and it can be found in a variety of applications such as Netflix and PayPal. It offers a number of characteristics that make it suited for both enterprise and B2C applications, and it is well-liked among software engineers.

JS has long been popular for web development, but with the help of the Node.js backend framework, its possibilities have expanded much further. Now, with JS, you can create both server-side and client-side applications using the same code. Furthermore, using frameworks like Electron, for example, it is simple to construct desktop apps.

Node.js is ideal for working with massive amounts of data in real time. Furthermore, because HTTP requests and responses are essentially a stream of huge files, Node.js allows data to be collected and visualized as dashboards. GraphQL, for example, can be used for this. It may be used with a variety of computer languages, but it was Node.js that established GraphQL as a new standard.

Java

Java is well-known for its "Write Once, Run Anywhere" philosophy, which means that Java code may be run on any platform, regardless of where it was written. The Java Virtual Machine – the environment in which Java code is run – is responsible for this platform independence.

Before JVM, all software was developed for a certain operating system, and JVM was a game-changer since it allowed software to run on any hardware or operating system that had the JVM installed. The JVM allows Java source code to be read on any platform without the need for specific compilers. Java is distinct from other languages that require compilers in this regard. Furthermore, its other advantages like IDE (Integrated Development Environment), Multi-thread processing, libraries, and others make it a good fit for back end development.

Also Read: Should You Use Full-stack JavaScript Development?

Front End Vs. Back End: What are the Differences? Explained

As you can see, while the two work together, one is significantly different from the other, and each offers a diverse spectrum of specialization opportunities. There is no area that is more difficult or less challenging. Software used to be much easier, and you could get by as a front-end developer simply by understanding HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. But a lot has changed since then, and you now need a lot more to be considered a front-end developer.

In reality, you'll need to know more than the fundamentals on both sides. To avoid the system being easily hacked or leaking personal information, you'll need a thorough understanding of infrastructure and security on the backend.

On the backend, you architect and build an application that operates on a single server (at first) and is accessible by every client. The app runs on the server, which you control, and then you either send the app to the browser using server-side rendering, or you create an API that simply distributes JSON data to the clients (which is becoming increasingly popular, especially when combined with frontend frameworks/libraries like React, Vue, and others). As you can see, there's a lot of overlap here. The backend can be utilized to provide the browser-based frontend application.

Every day, new things emerge, and the ideal tool evolves from month to month. This is not a deceptive statement. In comparison, the backend appears to be a slower-paced ecosystem, especially in well-known and established environments and technologies, and a well-written backend can feel modern for years, whereas the frontend cannot.

There are separate sets of problems in the backend as well. For instance, how to save information in a database. How to pick the best database. How to deal with increased traffic. How to handle data and requests in a secure manner. How to test and deal with errors. What is the best way to choose the proper architecture? Etc.

However, with the proper skills you can make both front end and back end development hugely successful.

Also Read: Firebase Vs MongoDB: Battle of the Best Databases

Front End Developer Skills

A deep understanding of the modern front-end ecosystem, experience applying frameworks/tools as well as production web applications, using event-driven architectures and mechanisms for client-side state management, and defining and building robust APIs with a strong understanding of different protocols are all technical skills required for front-end work. Here we have listed out some of the must-have skills for a front end developer -

Knowledge of Version Control/Git

A front-end developer may have gone through numerous versions of the code throughout development after marking up with HTML, styling with CSS, and programming with JavaScript. The worst thing that may happen when they have to rewrite a code is to have to start again only to change a single line of code. Version control allows developers to track and control changes to source code, preventing the entire codebase from being impacted. Git, a free and open source version control system that claims to be flexible, quick, and robust, is a popular version control tool. Employers will want to recruit someone who understands version control because it can save a lot of time and work when it comes to changes.

Expertise in Responsive Designing

Try switching from your desktop to your phone and seeing how the text and images change to fit your mobile screen, and vice versa. The adaptable design of this page allows it to instantly change to your screen size. When recruiting front-end engineers, seek for someone who has a firm grasp of the fundamentals of effective responsive design and knows how to put them into practice. Rest assured that front-end developers who understand how to build strong responsive designs can make a website work on any device or screen size, which is critical if you want to cater to all users who want to access your site.

Good Grip on Web Performance

The time it takes for a website to load is referred to as web performance. The aesthetic design and features of a front-end developer will be irrelevant if the web page loads slowly. This is a key element to consider for businesses because a slow-loading page can drive users away from your site and boost your bounce rate significantly. All of the work that went into designing and coding the site will be for naught if no one visits it or interacts with it. As a result, a smart front-end developer must be able to optimize a page's loading time in order to improve its web performance.

Well-versed with Browser Developer Tools

Developer tools are available in all modern web browsers, allowing developers to test and change pages directly in the browser. This also allows developers to view how the browser interprets the code and make changes accordingly. Developer tools vary each browser, but they typically include an inspector and a JavaScript console. Examine whether your prospect knows how to utilize and adjust code via this browser tool. The success or failure of a developer's code is determined by how a browser renders it.

Some of the other important skills of a front end developer includes attention to details, critical thinking, and ability to learn, to name a few.

Back End Developer Skills

Unlike front-end development, which is mostly focused on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, back-end web development encompasses a wide range of topics, which we will go through one by one.

Familiarity with Servers

One of the most critical aspects of backend web development is the server. Servers are powerful computers that share resources, which are necessary for any network to function. File storage, security, encryption, databases, and email are examples of these resources. As a result, you won't be able to access any data saved in the databases if you don't have a server.

Database

The database is the brain of an application. It is the location where all of a app's data or content is stored. As a result, the database is what allows an application to be dynamic. Interacting with a database allows the client-side or end-user of an application to add/change information. This frequently occurs when people are permitted to upload data to an application.

Knowledge of APIs

APIs are an integral part of today's backend web development. APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) allow software, websites/applications, databases, and services to communicate with one another. They are crucial in the development of server-side software. APIs are frequently used to replace complex programming, allowing software to communicate and facilitating data transfer.

Blending Front End & Back End Development: Full Stack Development

Front-End development techniques are used to create portions of the application that run in the browser (on the client side), while Back-End development techniques are used to create sections of the application that run on the server side. You qualify as a full-stack developer if you can accomplish both.

When it comes to dealing with various development stages, full-stack developers can help people or businesses save a lot of money. A full-stack developer is a professional in front-end and back-end development, as well as design, server administration, and mobile development. At the end of the day, they have complete control over the project.

Companies hire full-stack engineers for their software development projects for a variety of reasons. Some of the main reasons why firms choose full-stack developers are listed below.

  • When only one person is needed to complete a task, it might be difficult for start-ups and small firms to hire distinct teams. It's when the full stacker is capable of handling even the simplest requests and jobs.
  • Web development and administration are two of the most-required skills that full-stack developers possess.
  • Full-stack developers can code and programme apps, and they can troubleshoot even the most complicated problems.
  • The full stack developer collaborates closely with the user interface/user experience designer and other experts.
  • Full-stack developers stay on top of the newest trends and advances.

Wrapping Up

While both front end and back end development are integral, you can see that a full stack developer can do a lot, and hiring one for any software development needs is surely a good idea. A full-stack developer frequently has an advantage over an app developer because of his or her broad and thorough knowledge of numerous parts of development. They can build software on both the client and server sides, and it's simple to assign project responsibilities or version control to them.

So, are you ready to start working on your app with full-stack web developers? The years of professional expertise of Third Rock Techkno can make your project plan into a real-time success in no time. Get in touch with us to start today!

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