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Last updated 2017-08-09

Fundamentals

Learn backend development fundamentals

Introduction

The backend of a web application is an enabler for a frontend experience. An application’s frontend may be the most beautifully crafted web page, but if the application itself doesn’t work, the application will be a failure.

The backend of an application is responsible for things like calculations, business logic, database interactions, and performance.

Most of the code that is required to make an application work will be done on the backend. Backend code is run on the server, as opposed to the client. This means that backend developers not only need to understand programming languages and databases, but they must have an understanding of server architecture as well. If an application is slow, crashes often, or constantly throws errors at users, it’s likely because of backend problems.

What Do Back-End Developers Do?

What back-end developers do can vary greatly, depending on the size and the scope of the application they are working on.

I’ve held many jobs where I was a back-end developer, working on the business logic in an application, and feeding and retrieving data from the front-end.

In the web development world, most back-end developers concern themselves with building the actual logic behind the application they are working on.

Often, front-end developers will build out a user interface, and back-end developers will write code that makes it all work.

For example, a front-end developer might create a screen in an application with a button to press to get the customer’s data.

A back-end developer might write the code that makes that button work by figuring out what data to fetch from the database for the appropriate customer and delivering it back to the front-end, where it is eventually displayed.

A back-end developer might also be heavily involved in the architecture of a system, deciding how to organize the logic of the system so that it can be maintained and run properly.

He might be involved in building frameworks or the architecture of a system to make it easier to program against.

Back-end developers tend to spend much more time implementing algorithms and solving problems than front-end developers do.

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