Back-end technology is an amalgamation of programming languages, servers, databases, and other tools. It’s often called the backbone of an application or website. But it’s the programming language that’s at the “heart” of a software product.
Just as the human heart continuously pumps the blood that fuels the body and regulates vital functions, back-end programming languages manage an application’s data flow. Both also need proper care and maintenance, require monitoring and diagnosis, and, if broken, can be treated and fixed with the proper approach.
As backend technology experts, Zibtek knows how critical it is to choose the right back-end programming language for a project. But choosing the right language isn’t the same as choosing the best language.
Each programming language has unique strengths and weaknesses, so the one you select should best suit what you hope to accomplish. For instance, some languages are best for developing web applications; others are more suited to cross-platform mobile apps.
While back-end software development isn’t the flashiest process, it is critical for your project's success. In fact, we like to think of our back-end developers as the behind-the-scenes superheroes who keep things running smoothly and protecting apps from the bad guys.
What is Back-End Development?
Back-end development includes 3 major components that ensure an app works correctly and has all the features end-users rely on.
- The server-side code works to process requests from the client-side server and executes the operations needed to generate a required response, such as performing computations, retrieving data, or interacting with other back-end systems.
- The database holds all the data the app relies on to operate. It contains user data, application settings, and other info an app needs to function correctly.
- The server-side infrastructure includes hardware and software components like operating systems and web servers that host the app and maintain its efficient operation and management.
Though the term “back-end” seems to imply the technology is the caboose of software development, in reality, it’s the engine that powers an app, processes requests, and carries out necessary operations so the front-end or client-side can perform.
Choosing the right back-end programming language for your software project ensures it’s developed to its highest potential and supports your desired features and functionalities. On the flip side, choosing the “wrong” back-end programming language can result in:
- Poor application performance
- Security vulnerabilities
- Scalability issues
It can also cause development delays that lead to increased costs and limit the availability of maintenance and expertise resources.
An appropriately selected back-end language streamlines development, increases productivity, and reduces costs by leveraging existing frameworks, libraries, and tools to produce efficient, secure, and reliable apps. Most importantly, it provides the best possible user experience for its intended audience.
What are Some Must-know Back-End Technologies?
Developers use numerous back-end technologies, but here are some of the most popular you’ll come across.
Hands down the most popular programming language worldwide, developers use Java for building back-end applications, especially in the enterprise space. Prized for its scalability, reliability, and security, it’s currently used by over 10 million engineers who depend on it for building cross-platform applications that work equally well on Windows PCs, Macs, and Linux servers.
Known for its simplicity, ease of use, and countless libraries, Python is a versatile language used in back-end development, machine learning, scientific computing, and data science. It also has a vast, supportive community that contributes to the language and its libraries and frameworks.
A fun fact about Python is that it was named after the Monty Python comedy group. In fact, some core features, such as the "spam and eggs" example used in its documentation, are nods to the comedy troupe’s sketches.
Ruby on Rails
The “Rails” in Ruby on Rails is a web application framework, while “Ruby” is the programming language. A popular choice for web applications used by companies like Airbnb, Shopify, and GitHub, the framework is also a favorite of startups and small businesses. Known for its simplicity and ease of use, Ruby on Rails also accelerates development via its “convention over configuration” principle that relies on a set of default protocols that minimizes the code developers must write.
Created in 1994, PHP is a golden oldie server-side scripting language widely used for web development. A favored choice for building content management systems and e-commerce platforms, PHP (Personal Home Page) began as a way to track website visitors. It quickly evolved into a full-fledged scripting language that powers some of the world's most popular websites, including Facebook, WordPress, and Wikipedia.
Built on top of Python, the Django framework is known for its robustness, scalability, and security, helping developers build web applications quickly and easily. Named for the jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, its component names pay tribute to various jazz musicians and musical terms, including ORM for jazz pianist Fats Waller and Coleman, a test framework name after saxophonist Ornette Coleman.
Microsoft’s entry in the web development framework sphere is typically used for building enterprise-level web applications. Now in use for over two decades, ASP.NET is also prized for its scalability, security, and ease of use. Designed to be language-agnostic, it allows developers to write code in a variety of languages. This flexibility makes it a frequent choice for web developers who work in Microsoft's development environment.
Other languages gaining in popularity are Microsoft’s general purpose C# (C sharp), Mozilla’s Rust, and Google’s Go, which is used by companies like Dropbox, Uber, and SoundCloud.
Which Back-End Technology is Right for My Project?
Selecting a back-end technology for your project depends on multiple factors, including the nature of the project. For instance, does the project involve processing large amounts of data or real-time communication? Python or Java may be suitable for the former, while Node.js or Go would be better for the latter. Other considerations are:
2. Availability of talent
3. Integration with other technologies
5. Security features
At Zibtek, we know back-end development is the heart of an application. We provide robust, scalable, and secure high-performance solutions for software and web and mobile applications. To learn more about how we can deliver an exceptional outcome for your next project, reach out to us today.