The Difference Between Front-end and Back-end Development

If you are just starting to learn web development, you will hear a lot about both front-end and back-end programming. But what exactly are front-end and back-end? If you are just getting into the field and are new to it, it can be slightly difficult for you to know which is which.

While frontend and backend development are very different from one another. They are still like two sides of the same coin. A website’s functionality depends a lot on each side of the framework being able to communicate and operate effectively with the other as one single unit. Can one of those sides be more important than the other? Not at all. Both sides play equally important roles in web development.

Frontend Development: An Introduction

The frontend of a website is the part that you can see and interact with using your browser. It is also referred to as the client-side. It includes everything the user experiences directly. This includes the text and colors to the images and navigation menus. If mobile app developers are planning to add text and images to your website that the users can see, you will have to do front-end development for that. For that, you will require frontend technologies to build those things on your website.

The language of frontend development

HTML: HTML is the basic coding language which is able to create and organize web content so that it can be displayed by a browser.
CSS: CSS is a language that gives company to HTML. It defines the style of a website’s content like the colors, fonts, layout, etc.
JavaScript: JavaScript is a programming language that is used for adding more interactive elements like drop-down menus and contact forms.

In addition to these front-end languages, you will find frameworks like Bootstrap and Angular. There is also JavaScript libraries like jQuery and CSS extensions that you can use. There’s a long list of resources that you can make use of and which also support HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The purpose is to make it more manageable and organized. This is done by providing various tools and templates that are easily compatible with common coding languages.

Backend Development: An Introduction

What we saw so far is a classic example of a static website. The content doesn’t really change much. In the case of static sites, all the important information that will decide what’s on the web page is in the frontend code. Static websites are good for showing things like businesses portfolios and professional profiles. But if you are planning to develop a website that users can interact with, you will have to go into more depth considering what’s going on behind the scenes of the website.

The backend is the portion of the website that you don’t see. It’s used for storing and organizing data. It ensures that everything on the client-side works properly. The backend communicates with the front-end. It sends and receives information that is supposed to be displayed as a web page. Whenever you fill out a contact form or make a purchase, the browser will send a request to the server-side. The server-side will then return the information in the form of frontend code. The browser will then interpret and display the frontend code.

A new site needs to have additional backend components in order to develop it into a dynamic web application. A dynamic web application is the one whose content can change depending on what is present in the database. It can be further modified by user input. This is very different from a static website. It doesn’t require a database because the content on it usually remains the same.

The difference

Frontend vs. Backend

Frontend vs. Backend

A perfect example to show the difference between a website’s frontend and backend is Google Maps. When you enter a starting point and a destination into the website’s front end, it will send your search query to the back end. It will then run on Google’s servers. The website’s backend will calculate the best route and mode of transport. The front end takes This routing information is then taken by frontend and displayed to you on a map of your current location.

The backend development team is responsible for building smart and efficient algorithms. While the frontend development team is responsible for showing the information in a way which is more attractive and easy for you to understand.

Conclusion

If you want to learn website development, but are not sure which one to work on- frontend or backend, then you need to consider a few things. If you are keen on working on designs and bringing them to life by offering a great user experience, then you will definitely enjoy frontend. If you like to work with data and algorithms, you will enjoy backend. It is also possible and even more beneficial for you as a developer if you mix both these and become a full-stack developer.

Keval Padia
Keval Padia is the founder & CEO of Nimblechapps, a fast-growing mobile game development company. The current innovation and updates of the field lures him to express his views and thoughts on certain topics.