The Backbone of Business: What is Backend? - Picture №1

The Backbone of Business: What is Backend?

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A well-designed backend that flawlessly implements business logic and is flexible enough to scale and update is a strategic asset for modern companies.

Digitalization is progressing rapidly, with brands adapting to trends by offering user-friendly web applications. Market leaders are innovating to increase brand engagement, while IT workshops constantly improve web resources for speed and interest.

In creating web products, the backend largely determines the security of customer data storage, the effectiveness of websites or CRMs, and the ability to adapt to new market demands over time. It serves as the foundation for digital product success, making understanding its operations crucial for effective collaboration with programmers and realizing the capabilities of your web product.

Let's explore simple examples that demonstrate the difference between frontend and backend and how they are crucial for the success of an online business.

Web development ecosystem: what is backend?

A few or two decades ago, online presence was a competitive advantage for businesses. The first commercial websites were rudimentary: text, product photos, and contact details. Today, they're far more sophisticated and serve as the primary point of customer interaction.

In the modern world, people are inseparable from their smart devices. Scheduling a meeting or purchasing new equipment now takes just a few clicks or a voice command. Users regularly embrace new, more convenient tools for browsing the web. As businesses strive to deliver the best user experience and consolidate operational processes into unified systems, backend development continually evolves to meet these demands.

In simple terms, a web resource's backend is like a cruise ship's technical part. Passengers can enjoy amenities like cozy rooms and high-speed Wi-Fi, while the back zone under the deck takes care of all the complex systems that ensure everything runs smoothly.

The backend encompasses complex systems responsible for the entire ship's functionality. Alongside the main engine and propellers, it includes vital technologies such as stabilization systems, water purification stations, and power supplies. Achieving seamless operation requires talent and expertise akin to designing a new seating area on deck.

Frontend vs backend – what's the difference?

The logic of processes in programming is analogous. Like passengers lacking access to a liner's back zone, a website's backend remains hidden from ordinary visitors' view.

What is the frontend?

The frontend refers to the visual aspect of a website, where users interact with its business logic and functionality. This interface provides navigation, search functions, and access to various features, with its UI/UX design dictating the interface's aesthetics (UI) and usability (UX). In contrast, hidden from users, the backend ensures the smooth operation of internal systems and connections.

Contrary to common belief, developers require more than technical skills and a mathematical mindset. Creating a unique, functional, and appealing web resource demands significant creative thinking and skill. This complexity often leads to the division of responsibilities in programming: frontend developers bring designers' visions to life, while backend developers handle the logic and database interactions. In smaller projects, universal full-stack developers may manage both aspects.

So, what's the difference between frontend and backend, and how do they interact?

  1. The frontend initiates requests to the backend whenever a user takes action on the website (like clicking a button or entering text).

  2. The backend handles these requests by performing the necessary tasks with the data (such as updating the database or sending an email).

  3. Subsequently, the backend sends responses to the frontend, updating the user interface accordingly.

Two examples of real-life interactions demonstrating such dynamics:

  1. The user visits a service center website to request a repair and clicks the "Create a request" button. The animation upon clicking and the subsequent appearance of a form are frontend actions. However, upon submitting the form, all entered information is sent to the backend for storage and processing.

  2. In another scenario, a user browses a photographic equipment company's website and utilizes the search field to find desired products by various parameters. After entering keywords and clicking the Search button, the frontend initiates a request to the backend. The backend accesses the database, retrieves relevant information, and returns it to the frontend, displaying the results in a user-friendly format with photos and descriptions.

Interaction of backend and frontend in web development

These simple examples illustrate how website components interact, shedding light on their operational logic. While a web resource's appearance and usability directly impact online business success, behind the scenes, the technical wizardry is carried out: database management, information storage, authentication/authorization functions, API interactions with other resources, and various components interacting with each other. 

Various strategies optimize space and access speed, including data storage and caching, browser page rendering, and complex algorithms and software logic chains. These factors contribute to fast and dynamic web applications or websites. Backend tools monitor website performance and user behavior, detect potential issues, and optimize resources.

Business logic in the digital sphere

The business perspective can provide a better understanding of the difference between the backend and the frontend. The backend is responsible for implementing business logic through a set of rules, algorithms, and processes that control the functioning of a web application. It determines the ways of interaction with users, data processing and storage in the database, and interaction with other systems and services.

Business rules define the order and parameters of processing input from users or other systems during the business logic of a program or web application's code. As we mentioned in our example, the technical crew of the liner prepares the dishes that passengers like the most, but there are certain requirements for the kitchen and the meal schedule (breakfast, lunch, dinner). To put it differently, there are specific and time-tested rules for requesting, preparing, and delivering food to the front area.

In the same way, companies typically rely on established business models that are informed by market research for user interaction. This includes knowing what the target audience likes, when they are most active, how to distribute traffic, and which features they will likely use. For instance, an online store may feature an attractive design, a comprehensive product catalog, a user-friendly shopping cart, and online support. The IT team would integrate payment system APIs, facilitating quick conversion of visitors into customers. Backend analytical tools enable the owner to analyze business processes, generate heat maps, monitor traffic, and make informed decisions based on collected data.

However, new revenue streams and breakthroughs in the IT market stem from innovative business models. These innovations alter the digital landscape and propel web technologies forward. Cutting-edge progressive web applications mimic native apps, and VR/AR-enhanced product experiences arise as trends and opportunities are facilitated by new technologies. These advancements enable companies to enhance their business models by delivering more value to customers, reducing costs, and optimizing processes. Major retailers like Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba exemplify this by deploying artificial intelligence in backend analytics. Due to this, they can provide highly personalized recommendations, implement dynamic pricing strategies, and optimize logistics operations.

Indeed, in today's digital landscape, brands aim to simplify operations for customers to just "one click," with the backend development serving as the universe beyond this click.

From concept to launch

Delving behind the scenes, let's explore the backend development process for modern web applications and understand why selecting the right development team and programming languages is paramount.

The significance of a development team

Creating a web project usually involves a multidisciplinary team comprising developers, designers, testers, managers, and other specialized professionals. Backend developers play a crucial role in ensuring the seamless operation of the web application. Their responsibilities include:

  • writing clean, easily maintainable code, with the Laravel framework being particularly valued for this purpose;

  • designing and managing databases;

  • implementing API integrations;

  • identifying and resolving issues through unit testing;

  • debugging applications and extensions;

  • collaborating closely with frontend developers.

Backend development encompasses critical aspects ranging from email newsletters to robust database management. The concept of "good" or "bad" programming is significant here, as the repercussions of a "bad" backend are often more severe than those of a "bad" frontend.

Backend development covers everything from email newsletters to database management. And there is a reason for the concept of "good" or "bad" programming. The repercussions of a "bad" backend are far more catastrophic than those of a "bad" frontend. Consider purchasing a liner as an analogy. In the first scenario, the appearance may be lackluster, but it boasts dependable, "timeless" mechanics and a sophisticated technical foundation. Conversely, the second option may be freshly painted with charming decor, yet it harbors significant mechanical flaws. The hired specialists discover that the ship's components are of varied assembly and quality, needing more compatibility, resulting in a malfunctioning navigation system. The specialists hired finding that the ship's components vary in assembly and quality, lack compatibility, have a dysfunctional navigation system that needs to be fixed, communication setups prioritize an additional pool on the deck, and, crucially, there needs to be technical documentation.

You now comprehend why web services firms may hesitate to accept third-party projects. Clients approach them with a web project that has a "WOW design" but constantly crashes under load, the data in the database is stored incorrectly, and users quickly become frustrated. In practice, it's easier to comprehend poorly documented code with supporting documentation, so there is a risk of being stranded with such a project. Choosing the right development team has always been crucial for business

Server-side programming languages

Implementing business logic in the backend involves utilizing various programming languages and databases, such as PHP, Python, Ruby, Java, Perl, JavaScript, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQLite, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL Server. A robust architecture and carefully selected development tools are crucial for ensuring the web application's stability and reliability while minimizing errors.

Moreover, modern API integrations significantly enhance project functionality without the need for extensive additional coding. These integrations enable seamless connections to various services, allowing for features such as traffic monitoring, social media capabilities directly from the online store page (such as authorization or sharing), personalized marketing automation, and the integration of intelligent chatbots that mimic live support staff.

Scaling: looking towards the future

A significant competitive advantage is the ability of a web resource to swiftly adapt to the dynamic IT market and enhance its functionality in line with user demands and market trends. Web applications that can promptly respond to changes and introduce innovations are more likely to maintain their competitive edge.

Effective scaling also plays a pivotal role in mitigating website technical challenges. As a heavily trafficked site grows, it becomes imperative to divide its backend into multiple servers to distribute the workload and enhance performance. For instance, adopting microservice architecture involves segmenting the backend into microservices, each catering to specific functionalities. This approach fosters code modularity, flexibility, and scalability. Regardless of the chosen approach, ensuring a robust server architecture and efficient database management is essential for the seamless implementation and operation of new features.

Sum up

Professional IT teams are continually motivated to stay abreast of emerging trends and engaging use cases in web development. The pace of information technology evolution is accelerating even further as customer competition has transitioned to the digital realm, with custom web projects emerging as primary tools for sales and marketing. Addressing user needs and effectively adapting to market shifts requires having a reliable backend infrastructure.

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