Front-End vs Back-End vs Full Stack Development

Web development encompasses multiple skill sets, and there are different kinds of careers within the web development space. Three terms often used are “front end,” “back end,” and “full stack.”

In this post we’ll talk about all three and what their key differences are.

Terms

“Front End” typically refers to the stuff that you actually see on the website in the browser (and is often called “client-side”). This covers how the content is presented including all the little user interface elements like menus and dropdowns and transitions and modals.

“Back End” typically refers to the guts of the application which live on the server (and is often called “server-side”). The back end is more focused on making sure all the right data gets sent out to the browser. It’s the portion of iceberg below the surface… lots of stuff needs to go correctly to hand off data to the front end so it can be displayed.

Full stack development. Full stack developers are jacks-of-all-trades. While each “end” involves learning a significant amount of information, a full stack developer can comfortably speak both database and browser.

Skills and Tools

  • Front-end development. A front end developer will often focus heavily on understanding HTML, CSS, and JavaScript since these languages live in the browser. In addition to fluency in these languages, front-end devs need to be familiar with frameworks like Bootstrap, Foundation, Backbone, AngularJS, and EmberJS, which ensure great-looking content no matter the device, and libraries like jQuery and LESS, which package code into a more useful, time-saving form.
  • Back-end development. Server-side languages like PHP, Ruby, Python, Java, and .Net to build an application, and tools like MySQL, Oracle, and SQL Server to find, save, or change data and serve it back to the user in front-end code. Experience with PHP frameworks like Zend, Symfony, and CakePHP; experience with version control software like SVN, CVS, or Git; and experience with Linux as a development and deployment system is also very welcome.
  • Full stack development. Full stack developers work, like back-end devs, on the server side of web programming, but they can also fluently speak the front-end languages that control how content looks on a site’s user-facing side. So it’s two previous points together.

The back-end runs on the server side, while the front-end runs on the client side. A framework makes it easy on both the teams, as it reduces the coding and speeds up the process indefinitely. In short, front-end and back-end development are both needed to create a full-functioning website.

That’s all for today.

Have a nice day!

Bradley Nice,
Content Manager at ClickHelp.co— best online documentation tool for SaaS vendors