If you are not a developer, words like “back-end” or “front-end” may sound surprisingly weird to you.
The question is:
If these words already sound foreign, how should you choose the best programming language or framework for your project?
Hold on to your hat, there is no time to lose writing long intros.
Let’s get down to business and scrutinize the top 8 programming languages to help you choose the best backend technology for your app.
After reading this article, you will have learned about:
→ the difference between front-end and back-end
→ the top 8 programming languages and frameworks
→ types of projects for every language or framework
→ which back-end technology should work best for your app
First, let’s get the facts straight with regard to these terms. You should understand what web “back-end” is and why it’s needed.
Front-end is the visual part, graphic interface, or the face of any application.
This is what the user sees or interacts with while using a mobile or web app. Front-end development is the process of converting the application data into a graphical format that is easy for the user to view. The front-end part of the app is often called “client” or client side.
Back-end is the server side or everything that happens behind the scenes.
This is a kind of the car hood invisible until you open it. Technically, the back-end is a bundle for the client application that helps them communicate with each other.
Think of leaving a comment on a post. You do this from your device via the front-end of the application. How is your comment transferred to another user? This is the task at hand for the web back-end technology; it serves the function of a bridge in that it stores common information and transmits your message from user A to user B.
There is one more thing for you to learn:
API (Application Programming Interface) is a set of tools for interaction and communication between different independent components.
Just like a socket.
Consider back-end as a socket, API as the wires, and front-end as a device. Should you need to power your smartphone, you would plug the charging device into a socket and get some energy via wires.
Last but not least:
Most likely, you will hear the term “back office” from developers.
Don’t be disoriented.
The back office and back-end are completely different technical terms.
A back office (admin panel, admin dashboard) is a tool through which an administrator or any other privileged user can manage their project data. This data may include statistics, content, user list, payments, etc.
Elixir is the programming language that runs on top of the Erlang virtual machine. José Valim, who is the creator of Elixir, wanted to build a four-o programming language. José was trying to unite all the benefits and best qualities of the preceding solutions. This made Elixir into a nearly perfect language.
Elixir is a sort of syntax sugar laid over an older and more difficult programming language. It works like this: the developers write the code with one language, while Elixir translates it into another one – Erlang.
Why is this needed?
This is needed because Erlang is a very complicated, low-level programming language which has a lot of code and is quite difficult to read. This is why a type of translator was invented.
Elixir possesses a lot of great qualities, with high performance being at the top. Applications written with Elixir operate extremely quickly and smoothly, and need less memory storage. Since the system resources are spent more efficiently, a higher load on servers becomes possible.
Elixir became more popular and accessible once Phoenix appeared. This framework provoked the growth of the language and opened up the doors that had been closed before. Even though Phoenix is a new tool, its idea is so good that its community is growing incredibly quickly. As a result, a lot of developer tools have appeared. This language is supposed to have a bright future. Elixir could be applied to almost any type of project.
Of course,nothing is perfect and Elixir is no exception. Its disadvantage is that some of the tasks need more coding.
Python is nearly in line with RoR and comprises about the same market share. In some cases, Python can be even more efficient. It is commonly used in spheres where productivity and performance are key factors. Very often, it’s chosen for complicated scientific applications such as deep learning or neural networks.
Python has its unique aspects which may require more effort from the developers; among them are code readability and formatting. At first glance, everything seems to be organized in a cohesive way, but the code can be a little bit messy. This may lead to possible lowering of the code quality unless you work with talented developers.
There are several Python frameworks such as Django, Flask, and TurboGears. Compared to Ruby on Rails, they are a bit behind. On the other hand, compared to Laravel, Python frameworks hold higher positions.
In comparison to Ruby, Python’s community contains fewer members. Thusly, it has fewer ready-made solutions and tools that can help speed up the development process. This is why it may take somewhat longer to integrate the same feature on Python. Generally, one can’t state that the development of the back-end on Python would be much worse. The difference could barely be tangible.
Go is an open-source programming language created by Google engineers, The Go Authors, to serve the corporation’s specific needs, in particular, improvement of programming productivity. Basically, this was Google’s reply to the variety of emerging programming languages at that time.
Go is considered to be one of fastest programming languages. Some state that it is the second fastest after Elixir.
Currently, it is widely used by Google, some other corporations, and open-source projects. However, the point is that it’s not yet fully settled and is still in the development process. The idea is great, but so far there is a lack of frameworks and ready-made tools to help make the development process faster and more efficient. It seems like the language is being developed, but mostly internally by Google.
Java is a general-purpose programming language intended to have the applications “write once, run everywhere.”
To develop a program on Java or enable computer to run a Java app, one would need to install a Java virtual machine (JVM). This is a tool that processes commands. JVM is a ready-made solution that you have to “plug in” to in order for it to work. Think of an e-commerce website and product list. To bring a sale process to fruition, one would need to send the product list to JVM for further processing.
Java has been on the market for almost 25 years. This is a stable and optimized solution for projects where smooth performance is of the highest importance. But, the development of new features takes longer compared to the more modern solutions available on the market.
PHP is a programming language for server-side web development. It was not intended to become a new programming language and serve globally. Created by Rasmus Lerdorf, it was supposed to be a language designed to serve his personal needs and maintain his personal homepage. This is why the name of the language originally meant “Personal Home Page Tools”. Then, other people supported the initiative and a community formed around PHP which led to its organic growth.
PHP happened to be one of the first programming languages in the world. It is pretty simple, and has a lot of tools for developers, and a variety of available frameworks. Tons of projects have been built using PHP.
Some unique aspects of the language:
Because of Microsoft’s popularity, a lot of projects were built with .NET. Their idea was to release a generalized framework that would serve any needs. This worked pretty well at that time.
.NET is considered a stable solution because of the fact that it is proprietary. Whenever you pay, it should work. However, the point is that with .NET you pay a lot. This includes various extra services such as visual studio for every developer, Azure, Microsoft server, and others. If you are about to develop an MVP, think twice about whether or not you need to spend money on all those extra services.
Altogether, get prepared to pay more with .NET. Compared to more modern solutions, the efficiency of development on .NET may be lower. Think of the date of its creation and consider that there has not been much new added since that moment.
Here are some more unique aspects of the framework for you to think about:
C# is an old programming language that was released at the end of 1990. The productivity of its work is low. Since .NET is a framework of the C# language, with .NET one would need to write more lines of code to create a feature. The more time it takes a developer to integrate a feature, the more you will have to pay.
Both the language and framework are pretty difficult to master and have high entry barriers. For you, this means that you would need to find a super talent with lots of experience. These people are pretty expensive on the market. Typically, .NET developers work for never-ending enterprise projects where it’s difficult to change a tech stack.
Node.js is a kind of interpreter that translates and executes commands on the server side. This is an open-source platform made for cross-platform development.
However, the point is that Node.js had some issues, as the platform was created in just a couple of weeks. Surely, these were fixed at later stages, but this doesn’t change the fact that Node.js looks pretty messy and has poor code readability. There could be thousands of unstructured lines in the code, which makes it difficult and time-consuming to maintain a project.
The entry threshold is pretty low. Since almost everyone can contribute, there are a lot of low-level tools and solutions available to choose from. So, be ready for “surprises” unless you find a really good talent. The talent pool is large, which makes it difficult to choose the right people to work with. The competition among companies that specialize in Node.js is high. This is why the price for the development service on Node.js is pretty low.
Since back-end is what brings your application to life, the solution used for its development plays a crucial role in the project’s feasibility. There are a variety of options to choose from. The point is that you can use any of them. It’s like driving a car. You can drive any car, right? The real question is “how”.
Be careful while choosing the right back-end technology for your application.
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