What is a Backend for?

Websites are like an iceberg. There is a visible part which is the interface that you interact with (Frontend), but there is another part that is not visible. And this is the elusive and mystical “Backend”.

The developers of this unseen part are responsible for the inner workings of the web applications to be built on the “server side”.

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Which is nothing more than the code and language that runs behind the scenes in the backend. That’s why today we’re going to talk about how the magic happens behind the scenes of a website.

What is the backend and what is it for?

Backend development is everything that happens in the “backend” of software. In contrast to frontend development, which focuses on the visual and interactive user interface, backend development deals with the logic and integration of server-side web applications.

These professionals are responsible for writing the code that makes a database and an application communicate. They are not in charge of creating a corporate web design or designing an online shop.

Essentially, they take care of the administration and inner workings of what you don’t see, such as servers, databases (of users, comments, posts, etc.) and applications.

In terms of databases, the most commonly used are MySQL, PostgreSQL and MongoDB.

They are also responsible for optimising the application for speed and efficiency.

In general, they tend to spend much more time implementing algorithms and solving problems than frontend developers.

Skills of a programmer

Backend programmers are responsible for making websites and applications work through different languages and frameworks such as Java or Ruby on Rails.

They also monitor site performance and make changes and updates to improve functionality behind the scenes.

Some of the skills required for this job are:

  • Database management.
  • Use of frameworks.
  • Programming.
  • Accessibility control and security compliance.

Types of backend development languages

This type of programming can be directed at 2 variables: objects (OOP) or functions.

The first is the technique that focuses on the creation of objects. In this type of development, the instructions are carried out in a certain order. As mentioned above, the most popular OOPs are Java, .NET and Python.

The second technique is based on functional development, and uses declarative language, which means that statements can be executed in any order.

It is commonly used for data science. Popular languages are SQL, F# and R.

These can be statically or dynamically typed. The former is more rigid, but better at catching errors, while the latter is more flexible, but allows variables to change type (which could account for unexpected errors).

Programming languages

Backend development requires more advanced programming languages such as Java, PHP, Ruby and Python. The focus is on scripting and architecture. Frameworks and libraries are frequently used, such as Ruby on Rails and .NET.

Java

High-level programming language. It has a syntax similar to C++ and is object-oriented. Generally used for creating large apps, Android development and big data.

What else can you create with Java?

  • Database connectivity.
  • Image processing.
  • GUI-based programs.
  • Networking.

PHP

Stands for Hypertext Preprocessor and is a server-side programming language used to develop static or dynamic and interactive websites.

It is used in conjunction with HTML. While PHP is running on the server, the raw HTML output is sent back to the browser for the user to view.

Because it is written dynamically, there are multiple solutions to a problem, so the same piece of code can vary depending on the context.

It’s a great choice if you’re getting started in programming, as the setup is easier than other languages, it’s more flexible with errors, so you can compile and run if you hit a problematic part, and it has a lot of resources on the web.

With PHP you can:

  • Collect data from forms.
  • Create complex web pages.
  • Write server-side scripts.
  • Write desktop applications.
  • Send and receive cookies.
  • Generate dynamic page content.
  • Write command line scripting.
  • Work with content management systems (such as WordPress).
  • Create e-commerce websites with large amounts of traffic.

Python

Another high-level, interpreted, object-oriented language with dynamic semantics. Python can be used for virtually anything on a web application page.

Some of the most popular uses of Python are:

  • Writing cross-platform shells.
  • Fast automation.
  • Simple web development.

Other languages used

Now we will talk about other languages also used in the Backend that are important and necessary.

.NET

Created by Microsoft, this framework is used to build websites using languages such as Visual Basic (VB), C#, F#, and more.

Its MVC (Model-View-Controller) architectural pattern allows backend development tasks to be handled by a controller, which interacts with a model to process data.

The result is then presented to the view to be displayed as a Frontend web page.

Ruby on Rails

It is based on the Ruby programming language and is used for web development. It has a set of tools that allow you to create basic tasks in a simple way (for example, you can create a basic blog with one line of code).

With Ruby, applications can be created and launched quickly, as there is little background work involved. It is similar to Python in that it is ideal for prototyping.

What can you build with Ruby?

  • Build mobile apps and games.
  • Automate repetitive tasks.
  • Create prototypes.
  • Build web applications.

SQL

SQL (Structured Query Language), pronounced as “sequel”, is one of the most widely used languages.

SQL is used to interact with databases. It is ideal for beginners to learn, as it is a declarative language.

This allows coders to “declare” the results they would like to see, without specifying the steps or process for the results.

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