The easiest way to differentiate front-end and back-end development is to say that web designers are more focused on the front-end (design, typography, colors, etc), and web programmers are more concerned about back-end development using specific languages (MySQL, PHP, other database languages, etc). Front-end is what you see; back-end is how it works.
In a previous blog, we talked about how web programmers are concerned with launching websites, updates, and maintenance, among other things. All of that works to support the front-end of the website. The back-end has three parts to it: server, application, and database.
To better explain how all of this works, let’s use the example of a customer trying to purchase a plane ticket using a website. Everything that the customer sees on the webpage is the front-end, as we have explained before, but once that customer enters all of his or her information, such as their name, billing address, destination, etc, the web application stores the information in a database that was created previously on the server in which the website is calling for information.
The web application creates, deletes, changes, renames, etc items in the database. For example, when a customer purchases a ticket, that creates an item in the database, but when they have a change in their order or they wish to cancel, the item in the database is changed.
A server, in the simplest form, is a computer accessed remotely that runs software to fulfill requests from clients. In our example, the server the customer’s browser is communicating with is where the database is stored and modified.
In short, when a customer wants to buy a ticket, the backend operation is the web application communicating with the server to make a change in a database stored on said server. Technologies like PHP, Ruby, Python, and others are the ones backend programmers use to make this communication work smoothly, allowing the customer to purchase his or her ticket with ease.
What’s your preference?
In the end, a lot of these technologies are related. They all work together to make something work. Some developers can program for both front-end and back-end, although it does take much more time to design while programming the back-end. It all depends on the project and what technologies and skills are needed where.
For the next blog, we will be talking about being a full stack developer and what that entails. Until then, happy programming!