Frontend, backend and fullstack – what are the differences?
Web design is inseparably connected with such terms as frontend and backend, to these two terms we should also add fullstack. These names refer to the specialization of programmers who are responsible for creating websites, web applications or mobile applications (Android, iOS). So they will be the respective backend developer, frontend developer and fullstack developer. Each of these specializations refers to different skills that are necessary for web development. Let’s find out what exactly is behind the mysterious-sounding names and do they differ in anything?
What does the term frontend mean?
Everything that you see when you enter a website should be called the frontend. A pretty apt analogy to better illustrate what the frontend is driving a car. As drivers, we basically have the most contact with what we can see and with the interior, the obvious functions of the car. What is “hidden” in a car for most of us is something we don’t deal with. Just as the driver deals with what’s on the outside of the car, the user sees the frontend, which is simply the website, e-commerce, portal or social media.
The frontend developers are responsible for what we see on the website. It is the frontend specialist who develops a website in terms of what a user of such a website should see. They are in contact with the client and create the website design, its graphic form, its functionality, UX (user experience), as well as appropriate choice of colors. When it comes to skills, a frontend developer should be well versed in various programming environments, and should know all kinds of web coding languages such as HTML, PHP, CSS, JavaScipt or AJAX web application development technique.
What is the backend?
If the frontend is everything a user sees when he enters a website, then the backend is the part of the website the users don’t have access to. It is important to mention that beautifully designed layout is not enough for any website to work properly. Backend is something that can be described as an interior, an engine of a website or an application that is located on a server. The backend consists of at least one server, different kinds of scripts, web programs or programming interfaces. To make the website work perfectly, each element of the backend must cooperate and maintain efficient and smooth communication.
A backend developer works on this layer of the website. A backend developer should have a comprehensive knowledge of programming, and it doesn’t hurt if you have practical skills in several programming languages, such as PHP, SQL, Ruby, Python or jQuery. A characteristic feature of working as a backend developer is qucik and skillful solution of quite complicated issues, and of course, an analytical mind and quite a large dose of resistance to stressful situations that arise under time pressure is useful here. Deadlines, unforeseen corrections, surprising errors must be removed in optimal time. This is extremely important e.g. in the e-commerce industry, where even a small mistake can result in loss of image and financial losses.
However, this is not the end of the list of requirements that are sometimes set before the backend developer. Sometimes a specialist of this kind is also required to know version control systems, such as Git. Knowledge of frameworks may also be required, a kind of framework that helps in creating an application or some part of it.
Fullstack – what does it mean?
The name of this phenomenon can already give us a bit of a clue to what is hidden under this term. Fullstack is a term that covers both frontend and backend. This means that the specialist, which we call a fullstack developer skillfully moves in both issues related strictly to the frontend and backend.
So a full-stack developer has knowledge and experience in all layers of creating a website. Which means nothing else than very broad set of abilities, strong organizational and managements skills and proficiency in various frontend languages. Which leads us to the fact that such a specialist should have relevant experience, knowledge and skills.
Backend, frontend and fullstack are terms that sound mysterious but are quite easy to understand. The differences that arise from these terms relate directly to websites and their development. The names themselves tell us a lot. To sum up, frontend is what a user sees after entering a website, backend is the “hidden” part of it, referring to databases or programming interface, while fullstack is a combination of these two phenomena. Specialists may be different, some will narrow their skills to a particular layer of the website, others aim for full knowledge of issues arising from the frontend and backend.