In the world of digital marketing, there are many popular terms used that can be confusing. Two of these terms, front-end development and back-end development, are often used interchangeably or under the umbrella of “development”. However, there are differences between the two that need to be understood when making use of a web development agency. 

Front-end and back-end development are two of the most vital components of any successful web development project, but it can be tricky to understand the nuances of each. If you are using a web development company to build your new website, they will likely make use of both for the project. Below is an outline of the differences between front-end and back-end development. 


Front-End Development


The front-end of a website is what you see and interact with on your browser. It is also referred to as the “client-side” of the website and includes the user experience aspects such as fonts, colours, buttons, images, and navigation menus. In a sense, a front-end developer focuses on the user experience of the website and how it looks and feels to the users. 

Front-end developers ensure that the user experience runs smoothly and remains cohesive across the site. The role of a front-end developer is to create an environment that the user can see and experience using a combination of tools and codes. These tools include HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

The tools can be understood as follows:


  • HTML: HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is a standard system for tagging text files in order to achieve font, colour, graphic, and hyperlink effects on a website. It is the fundamental coding language that is used by front-end developers in order to create an organise content for display on a web browser. 


  • CSS: CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are used to format a website’s page layout, helping to define text styles, table sizes, and other aspects that could previously only be defined in a page’s HTML. It helps with streamlining the layout of a website. 


  • Javascript: Javascript is a programming language that is used to create interactive elements on a website, such as dropdown menus, and forms. This language helps front-end developers to create interactive and immersive websites. 


These essentials of web development help to create everything that is visually presented when you visit a website. In addition to these languages, front-end developers also use frameworks such as Bootstrap, Angular, jQuery, Sass and LESS. Front-end developers are adept at creating organised and aesthetically pleasing websites. 


Back-End Development


Back-end development or back-end is also referred to as the “server” side and is the elements of the website that consumers cannot see or interact with. It includes everything that happens “behind-the scenes” so to speak and focuses on the functionality of the website. The back-end of the website communicates with the front-end, sending and receiving information to be displayed on the website. 

Back-end developers handle all elements that do not involve producing a user-interface. This includes writing APIs (application program interfaces), creating various libraries, or adding utilities to what the web developer creates. Back-end development helps to improve communication between the presentation layer and business layer of the website. 

The languages that back-end developers make use of include the following:


  • PHP: PHP stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor and is a scripting language that is widely used by developers today. It helps to automate processes that would otherwise need to be executed step-by-step in a site’s code each time they occur. It is more commonly used for CMS (content management systems) platforms such as WordPress. 


  • Ruby: Ruby is a programming language that focuses on productivity. It is an easy-to-understand language that allows for a more “human” interaction between the developer and the code. It helps to create effective and organised web pages and has grown in popularity over the years.


  • Python: Python is an object-oriented programming language that allows developers to build sites and apps using virtual building blocks known as objects. These objects are then given unique attributes and qualities, allowing them to interact with one another and perform actions on their own. 


Back-end development uses the above languages and more in order to achieve the desired goal of the website. Most CMS systems are built using back-end language as they are usually large and complex websites. Using a back-end developer for a website will ensure it does not have any performance issues. 


Two Heads Are Better Than One


While both front-end and back-end form the basis of how a website works, they have vastly different roles and responsibilities. Both will have an impact on how a website looks, feels, and works, but each one will use a different environment and language in order to do so. You will need to combine both in order to have a functioning, beautiful website. 

Front-end development focuses on what the users sees and experiences, while back-end development ensures that the website functions and communicates as it should. If you are interested in a new, professionally developed website, contact NetMechanic today to find out what we can offer you.