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Backend vs Frontend Development: Points You Should Know to Start

Backend vs Frontend Development: Points You Should Know to Start

Programming and developing skills are among the most required in the job market at the moment. So it's no surprise that you are interested in learning more about back-end and front-end development. 

Front-end and back-end: what are the differences?

In simple terms, the front-end is what users see when interacting with a website, an application, or a program. The back-end is instead the level at which programmers create processes to make those interactions happen, function, and work smoothly.

That said, we can better understand how front-end development is about designing at a surface level: you take care of the appearance of your website or application, the style, the optimization of elements within the we-pages, and so on.

Back-end development deals with the hidden framework processes that allow the website, application, or program to function. Furthermore, the back-end developer would also take care of what happens on the servers and databases of the website or application they are working on.

Programming languages

Now that we know the difference between front-end and back-end, we can move on to understand how you can move the first steps in both worlds. Of course, you first need to know what programming languages are most often used for both front-end and back-end frameworks.

If you want to become a back-end or front-end engineer, you can start learning from the programming languages we are about to discuss. If you want to become a full-stack developer, this is still where you need to start. If you don't know what full-stack means, it is the term developers use to refer to both back-end and front-end development areas. A full-stack developer, for example, is someone that can take care of both aspects of a website or an application.

Front-end programming languages

HTML

HTML is the most basic programming language you can learn. It stands for Hypertext Markup Language, and it's one of the oldest programming languages we have. It's fundamental, but HTML allows you to create sections, paragraphs, and links using tags and attributes. It is also one of the easiest programming languages to learn (kids learn it at school!).

Of course, while HTML is basic for every front-end engineer, using only HTML for your front-end development won't be proper. HTML is just too basic, and users are used to more complex frameworks and interfaces. An example of an almost pure HTML website or application? Wikipedia! That website is a huge hypertext, and it's virtually HTML. However, you'll need an interface that is more colored, attractive, and interactive than a Wikipedia hypertext. For this reason, HTML is just the beginning: you need to move on and learn more complex and advanced front-end development programming languages. Of course, HTML is also required for full-stack development.

Learning HTML: where can you start from?

Learning HTML isn't particularly hard. If you can teach yourself something, that is certainly HTML. You can find tons of free resources online - and they'll be free! If you want to have anything in one place and spend about $20 or so, you can purchase an HTML manual. If you need a guide, you can subscribe to one of the many online courses: you won't have any difficulties finding one that suits your skill level and budget.

CSS

CSS

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets, and, besides HTML, it is the most known and used programming language when it comes to front-end development (also required for full-stack development). With CSS, you can create great-looking web pages.

It's more complex than HTML, and if you want to start learning CSS, you should already know at least some HTML and have some basic knowledge about working with files. But what can you do with CSS? In simple terms, with CSS, you can control exactly how HTML elements look in the browser, that is, on your webpage. CSS is a front-end development programming language because it specifies how documents and details are presented to users.

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You can use CSS for very basic styling, for example, changing the color and size of your fonts and paragraphs, but also for more complex purposes: you can use it to create a layout with the main content area and a sidebar for related information, for example, add animations and effects, and so on…

Learning CSS: where to start

Resources about CSS aren't lacking either: just like HTML, there are tons of websites dedicated to CSS learning, but you can always opt for a manual or, if you have a higher budget, a specific course for front-end engineers.

JavaScript

JavaScript

Once you've become familiar with HTML and CSS, you can move on to learn JavaScript. Basic knowledge about both HTML and CSS is required when you start learning JavaScript.

While HTML is basic and CSS helps improve the look of your website or application, you can implement complex features on your web pages with Javascript. With Javascript, you are not limited to static information displayed on a webpage. Still, you can create interactive platforms that are constantly dynamically updated and with which the user can, of course, interact.

Learning JavaScript: where to start

As we've mentioned, you shouldn't approach Javascript if you aren't at least familiar with HTML and CSS. Teaching yourself JavaScript would be harder than the previous two front-end development programming languages. Still, the good news is that you can easily find online courses (that are cheaper than front-end development courses in person) that include the teaching of every front-end development programming language: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. If you pick one of those, you can save much money and optimize your learning process!

Back-end programming languages

JavaScript

Back-end developers also use a type of JavaScript that is called Node.js. It is an open-source framework that beginners widely use, but it is also used by huge companies such as Netflix. As you can guess, it is highly scalable and, despite its simplicity, allows to build applications that can handle many users' requests simultaneously.

As you can see, Javascript is a crucial programming language for every developer, front-end, back-end, and full-stack developers. We've already talked about where you can learn JavaScript in the previous paragraph; as you can see, the learning path that you should follow starts from Front-end development because you can't approach Node.js if you aren't familiar with HTML or CSS. Because JavaScript is used both for front-end development and back-end development, it is fundamental that you learn it if your goal is full-stack development.

Python

Python

Python is very important for any computer developer because it can be used for so many things. As they say, Python can offer a framework solution for any computer problem, and writing the code isn't that hard or time-consuming. Once you've written the code, it can run on almost any computer without changing the program. It can be used for processing text, numbers, images, data, and more. It's used on very popular websites such as Google, YouTube, the NASA website, and more. Python is so versatile that any front-engineer or full-stack development expert knows it.

Learning Python: where can you start from?

Plenty of documentation is available about Python because it is probably the most popular and most used programming language today in many fields. When you start learning Python, you might feel overwhelmed because there is so much to understand and learn. A single manual is never enough to comprehend the full potential of this framework. So, where to start from?

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Our recommendation is to consider your goals: what do you want to learn Python for? Would you like to create a website or an application? Would you like to automate some tasks of your workflow? Would you like to create a mobile application for your clients? Knowing your goal helps you narrow down the field, at least at the beginning, so that your learning process is more targeted and you don't feel like there is too much to learn.

Front-end and back-end: which one to start from?

Let's say you are a complete beginner and want to learn about development. You are not particularly interested in front-end or back-end. You just want to start learning about programming: where should you start from? Front-end or back-end?

Front-end and back-end developers recommend that if you are interested in learning about both front-end and back-end development, you should start from the front-end sector. This is because, by understanding how the front-end of websites and applications are built and work, you can understand more quickly how they work behind the scenes. You'd be facilitated when you move on to back-end development learning.

Front-end and back-development: FAQ

Is front-end development easier than back-end development?

Front-end is something we can see. Even the first time you hear talking about it, you can quickly understand what it is about, what developers deal with, and what skills and programming languages are required if you want to become a front-end engineer. This creates the idea that the front-end development is easier than the back-end: is it true?

Front-end development being easier than back-end development is just an illusion: it is not true at all! Both aspects of website or application development are complex in their own way. Still, front-end development can be considered even more complicated and challenging because it changes more often and requires continuous updates and maintenance. If there's anything wrong with it, users will notice it at once! For these reasons, if we want to say what is easier between front-end development and back-end, the answer is actually back-end.

Knowing this is more important than you think: because many people think that front-end development is easy, they may tend to underestimate the complexity of the learning process. Furthermore, thinking that the back-end development is harder creates the illusion that if you learn back-end development first, you can be paid more.

Is there any alternative development path?

Despite what many people don't know, learning programming languages isn't the only way to become a back-end development expert, full-stack, or front-end engineer, and it's not the only way of creating a website, mobile application, or web application. Yes, this has been the only available path for years, but it's no longer the case! Today, there are tools, so-called no-code tools, that allow developers to create mobile and web applications without having to write any code.

AppMaster is the perfect example of a no-code programming tool. It provides you with a platform through which you can build up your framework and full working apps or web applications without writing any code. It doesn't mean that coding, front-end, and back-end don't exist when you develop with AppMaster. It only means you don't need to manage them directly or through programming languages.

Front-end and back-end frameworks are created automatically, and with AppMaster, they can even be exported. Even if you already have deep knowledge about front-end or back-end development programming languages, you can improve your workflow with tools like AppMaster: the framework developing process becomes easier, less stressful, and quicker.

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