What Is Front-end vs Back-end Web Development?
User experience and performance are the main supporting pillars of any website and online platform in today’s digital environment. You expect a web app or resource to load fast, run smooth, and respond at once. If it fails to do so, the issue most probably stems from the poor work on the front end, backend development ridden with flaws, or both.Each is the essential part of a traffic-oriented solution. Each is built by different types of specialists. But it is the combination of backend and frontend that seals the deal and enables a complete, full-featured online store or any other kind of website.
Do you manage a running website? Or are you looking to launch a new business landing or eCommerce? In either case, it is important to have your definitions straight. Let’s figure out all the front end vs back end differences across the board to make your life easier.
What’s What – Defining the Terms
Before we make out the unique sides of frontend vs backend processes, we should first define the two terms. What are the underlying front end and back end development specifics? What kind of specialists does it take to handle each? And what are the relevant tools for that? Let’s take a look.
What is front-end development?
Front-end aka client-side development covers the design and implementation of the user-facing part of web software – the user interface and related elements. The frontend is, basically, everything end users get to view and interact with out of a browser (e.g., buttons, clickables, images, navigation sliders, animations, layouts, etc.). It is free from all the admin features and platform moderation tools.
Front-end developer skills
Whether you wish to become a professional or are looking for an experienced programmer to build a website or app for your business, you need to know what skills to look out for. These are the primary soft/hard skills a frontend coder must possess:
- Understanding of responsive design constraints
- Masterful attention to detail
- Grasp on relevant front-end frameworks and libraries like jQuery, Bootstrap, AngularJS
- Software testing and debugging skills
Technologies used by front-end developers
HyperText Markup Language is the backbone of frontend coding, ensuring proper formatting of images and texts on a website for their accurate display in the browser. It is used to mark up various kinds of content, such as videos, images, hyperlinks, paragraphs, tables, and the like.
The Cascading Style Sheets language adds style and formatting to the website’s HTML carcass, including fonts, colors, and layouts. Beyond this, it adapts the presentation of web pages across various devices (large and small screens). Ultimately, it enriches HTML assets with visual appeal.
What is back-end development?
Sometimes also called the “server-side” of a website, the backend is the technical “behind the scenes” of your resource where all the logic and internal functionality happens. Once connected to the frontend, it sets things in motion and bridges the UI with its underlying database.
The back end software is used by coders, site admins, and support specialists to manage internal data and processes after the web app’s launch. Which is why its development is a pretty responsible task. APIs are usually used to hook up the back end system to the UI.
Back-end developer skills
A back end vs front end developer must have slightly different skills to do their job. Let’s take a closer look at the essential skills of a back-end developer:
- Grasp on relevant front-end frameworks
- Proficiency in programming languages like Java, Python, Ruby, and/or PHP
- Grasp on various databases (MySQL, Oracle, and MongoDB)
- Understanding of popular web development frameworks (Django, Ruby on Rails, Spring, etc.)
Technologies used by back-end developers
Back end design and software development requires more advanced programming tools and technologies, such as Python, PHP, Ruby, and Java.
A feature-rich scripting language used for creating dynamic web page content. Programmers appreciate this tool for its simplicity and flexibility. It can be easily integrated with HTML and CSS if need be.
One of the most powerful object-oriented languages with dynamic semantics. It includes a ton libraries and frameworks that simplify the development process. Django, Flask, and Pyramid are some popular Python frameworks back-end developers use.
Java is a general-purpose programming language frequently used for building enterprise-level web apps, Android apps, and Big Data-driven solutions.
Front End vs Backend: What’s the Difference?
Now that you got your basics down, let’s compare backend vs frontend development in more detail to summarize the ultimate differences. More importantly, we must emphasize the importance of separating the two but never approaching them interchangeably.
Things should become much clearer once you juxtapose the two approaches from the perspective of specialists working with each.
They possess different skills
Front-end and back-end are two separate areas of software development that require different skill sets and expertise. While software front end developers focus on the creativity, design skills, and visual implementations of a website or app, back-end specialists do lots of hardcoding, integrations, and server-side functionality.
They work on different areas
Frontend specialists are responsible for building the user interface and laying out the navigation for future use by many public users. In turn, backend professionals take care of the system that enables the internal functionality and management of the website or app. The internal and external parts are traditionally built separately.
They use different tools
They get different salaries
If we compare the salaries of frontend to backend professionals, we can see that frontend coders earn more. On average, backend developers get $120,500 per year. Application front-end developers get around $105,000 per year. This may be related to the more creative nature of the frontender’s line of work.
Getting the best of both worlds
Both areas are in their own right essential for creating high-quality, responsive, functional websites and web apps. However, it is equally important how you make them run together when building a good resource. When it comes to the front end vs back end developer choice, picking both is the way to go.
The user interface built by front-end developers relies heavily on the functionality and data management back-end programmers provide. The most common example is the frontend/backend process of implementing an eCommerce store:
- a front-end developer designs the user interface that allows e-store customers to browse and view products, add them to a cart, and make a personalized purchase;
- a back-end specialist builds the functionality behind the product inventory, payment processing, and order fulfillment.
Thus, they shape a consistent user experience by joining forces. Collaboration between both types of professionals is yet another priority of any successful web development project.
Defining the back end and front end is almost like understanding the difference between the technicality and creativity – math and poetry, if you will. While the software backend is a very intricate place where only few are granted access, frontend coders design the way these insides “look and feel” on the outside when encountered by a regular user.
The info above should give you enough basics on the topic – all you need now to implement a powerful front and back end foundation for your website or web app is a reliable team of developers.
At Synapse, we have seasoned professionals delivering custom web development projects delivered at a reasonable price. Our team does everything from basic one-pagers to feature-rich eCommerce stores and marketplaces.
Contact us today to discuss your project and see how we can help you achieve your digital goals.