If you’re new to coding and software engineering, you might encounter the terms “frontend” and “backend” a lot but feel confused as to what they mean. Although they focus on different things, both are necessary components for a high-functioning website or application that rarely work without each other.
To be able to better understand these web development styles, in this post we’ll give you the scoop and try to demystify the differences between them.
The frontend aspect of a web page is what a user sees and interacts with in a web browser. It includes everything that a user directly experiences: texts, colors, images, and navigation for example. To build the frontend part of the website, also called “client-side”, three programming languages are used:
1. HTML – the fundamental programming language that organizes the web page and describes what should be on it, such as images and texts.
2. CSS – describes what the content of the web page should look like, such as colors, layout, and fonts.
When you visit a web page, your browser is exposed to these programming languages. It’s then up to the browser to interpret the code and build the website based on it. This means that a web page may look completely different on two different devices.
For static web pages, there is all the information you need for what the web page should look like in the frontend code. But for the website to be dynamic, backend development is also needed. The back-end is the part of the web page that you don’t see, but the code is executed on the server (hence “server-side”). Backend development is used to store and organize data. On the backend side, the choice of programming language is not as monotonous, but there are lots to choose from, such as PHP, C #, Python, and Ruby.
For instance, when you register or fill out a form on a web page, a request is sent to the server, which is handled by the backend code. The information can then be stored in a database and an email can be sent to the user.
Front and backend thus collaborate in dynamic web pages. You don’t have to be an expert to figure out that a front-end developer is working on writing front-end code, and that a backend developer writes code on the backend. A full-stack developer is someone who writes both front- and backend code.
The front is the part of the website that users can see and interact with such as the graphical user interface (GUI) and command line including design, navigation menus, texts, images, videos, etc. The backend is about how everything works and it’s the part of the website users cannot see and interact with.
Both play a crucial role in web development and although they’re different, they’re like two sides of the same coin. The front is about the visual aspects of the website that a user can see and experience while everything that happens in the background can be attributed to backend web development. In a way, it’s more like an enabler for frontend web experience.
A web designer is the most common job title for frontend web development and a web designer’s main responsibility is to design and build websites that keep the visual aspects in mind. Backend developers, on the other hand, are those who ensure that the data and systems requested by the front-end application or software are delivered efficiently. Essentially, backend developers handle everything that happens in the background.
Talking about exact software design and architecture options, there are different patterns and solutions. It may be difficult to filter the most suitable ones. Our experts can help by analyzing your business, software, goals, and ways to achieve them. Usually, we suggest one of the five best practices during our software architecture consulting.
These two development styles are the most fundamental in the design and development world. The frontend is referred to as client-side while the backend is server-side, the first is visibly available to users, while the latter is everything that happens behind the scenes. They use different tools and technologies but both are equally important for providing the best experience and functionality to the web users.