Interaction between frontend and backend
Backend and frontend are the most recognizable terms in the development industry. These two concepts dictate what type of job a specialist must perform during the web development process.
Back-end and front-end are two different types of jobs, yet they are closely connected. Keep reading the article to learn more about the front-end and back-end and how they interact during the development process.
What Is Frontend?
Before we dive into the differences between front-end and back-end development, let’s start with figuring out what the frontend is. It’s a development type related to computer programming.
The front-end focuses on coding and creating the website’s elements and features that a user sees when interacting with a resource. Front-end aims to ensure the visual features of a website remain functional and enable user interaction with the content.
Front-end is like the “client side” of a website or application. Suppose developers create an idea. They work on the hardware, and the front-end developer must work on visual aspects that represent the idea. The hardware makes the idea work, but the front-end side of the development process ensures the client sees the idea as intended by the developers.
The front-end side focuses on how users see the product when they use it. Moreover, front-end developers work with specific technologies to ensure user interaction is as smooth and pleasant as possible.
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When it comes to front-end and back-end, the main difference is in the technologies used by these two coding professions. Typically, front-end web developers use:
Alongside these coding languages, developers also use such frameworks as:
As the world develops, industries introduce new technologies that meet current needs. Note: the front-end can’t operate alone; it needs a back-end. The client-side relies on specific services, such as APIs. APIs are available through back-end servers or the cloud.
Here are some of the most popular front-end developer jobs:
- Front-end developer. It’s a type of job where the developer creates a website without using the back-end. Such sites are called static websites. Examples of such websites are landing pages. The main peculiarity of such websites is that they don’t need a lot of data stored on databases. Hence there is no need for the use of the back-end.
- Web designer. The name of the job hints that the developer designs websites. However, the job could have different meanings. For example, one meaning is that the designer merely creates the concept of the website and designs it in Photoshop. Another meaning is coding the website according to the concept designed by someone in Photoshop. In the front-end, a web designer codes the website according to the pre-designed concept.
- User experience (UX) designer. UX designers work in the front-end and aim to learn how users interact with websites. Upon learning what users need, UX designers enforce changes through testing.
- User interface (UI) designer. It’s a visual designer, and the job requires a specialist to focus on website design. UI designers aren’t typically involved in the implementation of the design. However, specialists need to know HTML and CSS to develop ideas that they can implement in reality.
Given these examples, it should be easier to perceive front-end and back-end differences.
What Is Backend?
The back-end is the side that users don’t see. However, it doesn’t make the back-end unimportant. Without the back-end, most websites wouldn’t exist. We would only have the simplest websites with a few interaction options.
Overall, the back-end is a “server-side” of a website, clients don’t see it, but they interact with it through the front end. Suppose a customer wants a team of developers to create an internal social network for the company’s employees. This website needs an accessible place to store all employees’ data.
The storage center is referred to as a database. The most popular database examples include:
- SQL Server.
The server runs these databases, and typically, this server is a remote computer or a cloud. The task of a back-end developer is to manage this database and the website contents stored on the server.
The back-end side of the development process ensures that all elements on a social network website work properly. The back-end also ensures users can upload their content and information. The front-end side ensures users can interact with these functions.
Back-end specialists work with software stacks, including operating systems, frameworks, web servers, programming languages, APIs, etc. Developers use programming languages, frameworks, and APIs in these stacks to render server-side websites and web apps to create services that other services can consume.
The list of mentioned stacks includes:
There are more stacks to add, but the ones mentioned above are the most common. The back-end developer also needs to master several programming languages, such as:
Typically, developers choose one or several programming languages they prefer to work with. However, they need to know at least the basics of each language.
Differences between Frontend and Backend
It’s probably clear now what the differences are between the front-end and back-end. However, there are a few more aspects worthy of mentioning. Typically, the development industry recognizes four main differences between front-end and back-end:
- they focus on different sides of a website;
- they have different levels of difficulty when mastering the skill;
- different salaries;
- they use different languages.
Now let’s dive into the details.
Different Sides Of A Website
The front-end development side aims at programming that focuses mainly on the visual elements of a site or application. Developers also need to consider how users will interact with the product — the so-called client-side.
Whereas the back-end development process aims at programming the website’s side users can’t see — the so-called server-side. Typically, both front-end and back-end developers work as a team to create dynamic sites or apps, so users can play games, make purchases, use contact forms, and participate in other interactive activities. Check examples:
These are all examples of dynamic websites. A static website that requires front-end only would be any landing page that doesn’t even have links which redirect users further.
Different Levels Of Difficulty When Mastering The Skill
Typically, back-end development has a higher level of difficulty when mastering the skill. Back-end developers often have to understand how the front-end works to do their job.
However, it doesn’t mean that the front end is less important than the back end. Without the back-end, there would be no front-end, but it’s vice versa as well. Developers work hard to achieve great results and provide users with amazing applications.
As mentioned above, the back-end requires more skills and knowledge. Naturally, back-end specialists make more money compared to front-end developers. Only full-stack developers make more since they can provide users with fully-developed products.
Mid-career front-end specialists make $76,929 in the U.S. annually. At the same time, mid-career back-end specialists make $101,619 annually. These are just average salaries.
However, some specialists have different salaries than these mentioned above. The salary of a back-end or front-end developer depends on what they specialize in and what talents and skills they bring to the company.
Moreover, when deciding what type of job to focus on, it’s critical to check which option you like more. Front-end and back-end aren’t just different in the difficulty level.
These two jobs bring different fulfillment and satisfaction levels to developers. The back-end is more technical, and the front-end is more creative. Moreover, with the front-end, a developer can see the immediate result.
Development is largely based on programming languages. The languages enable developers to communicate with each software and computer. The programming language explains how a computer should present the content and, thus, how users should view it.
Different types of developers work with different programming languages. Front-end works with already mentioned:
- HTML. It translates as HyperText Markup Language. HTML is the standard markup language used to create websites.
- CSS. It stands for Cascading Style Sheets. HTML enables developers to create a structure, while CSS language is responsible for the style. CSS enables developers to add colors, fonts, and style to the website.
Front-end works with specific frameworks and libraries:
Back-end specialists focus on the following languages:
- Java. It’s one of the most popular, easy, and convenient programming languages.
- PHP. It’s a language focused on server-side scripting tasks.
- Python. It’s a general-purpose programming language. Python is unique since, unlike other languages, its use case isn’t limited solely to web development.
Just like the front-end, the back-end also uses frameworks, but different ones:
Front-End And Back-End Interactions In Development
When it comes to frontend vs backend development, one should note that these two jobs are closely related. You may have noticed many similarities between these two jobs, but they are different. The best way to think of front-end and back-end is as two different sides of one coin.
One cannot work without the other. Even though the simplest websites can work without the back-end being involved, those are primitive sites. Without the front-end side, the back-end wouldn’t be accessible to users.
Both these developer jobs are necessary parts of web development. They are required to create functional, visually pleasing sites and applications. Front-end and back-end developers often have to communicate during the development process. Moreover, each specialist must know at least the basics of the other job.
If you are thinking about choosing one of these jobs, you may even consider a full-stack developer. Typically, it’s a higher-paid job that requires having the best skills of both worlds. Or you could start with choosing front-end or back-end and work towards mastering both aspects.
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