Front End vs Back End Website Development: A Comparison

Front End vs Back End Website Development

Article by Damian Allen Damian Allen

Last updated

Anyone who has ever visited a particularly good website can tell that a lot of work must go into making a webpage look good and function smoothly, especially if that person is viewing that website on a device other than a personal computer. So, what kind of work goes into designing a website? How does it look good and work well across different devices?

The answer comes down to front end web development and back end web development. Those terms might be unfamiliar to you, but a simple explanation is that, if a website is like a car, then front end development is like everything in the cabin with which you interact; the steering wheel, gearshift, multimedia controls, and so on. It also involves the general styling and design of the car. Back end web development would be analogous to the parts that make the car perform, such as the engine, gearbox, battery, and the like. Basically, everything under the hood.

You don’t need to be well-versed in those terms when you are ready for your own website, you just need to hire a company that is. On The Map Marketing has the experience in designing websites for a wide variety of clientele that look great and function perfectly across all different devices. If you want to know more about front end vs. back end website development, keep reading. If you want a company that specializes in both, On The Map Marketing is ready to help you.

Front End Web Development

As you can tell by the description, the front end of a website is the front facing element of the website, in other words, the part of it with which you interact. This is also called client side technology. From the menu buttons that you click on to any animation that plays, any part of the user experience is part of the front end.

When Does Front End Development Begin?

Once the client lays out their general vision for the website, a designer conceptualizes that vision by designing logos, choosing fonts, and creating other design elements. The front-end developer works with the designer to create a non-functioning mockup of the website to show to the client. Once the client approves the design, front end development begins.

What Are The Tools of Front End Web Development?

The three main programming languages used by front end web developers are HTML, CSS, and Javascript. A simplified version of these languages is as follows:

HTML – This abbreviation means HyperText Markup Language.

  • HyperText is how you move around on the web. You click on highlighted text called hyperlinks that take you to a new page on a website, or a different website entirely.
  • Markup refers to how things called HTML tags view and interpret certain types of text. They mark it as bolded, capitalized, italicized, etc. HTML tags separate the text on a website from the code on a website.
  • Language simply refers to the fact that HTML is a programming language.

HTML is basically a series of text codes—called HTML tags—which are read by the web browser and converted into visual elements such as pictures, tables, headings, and so on. HTML determines what is a header, what is a paragraph, and essentially, the overall structure of the website.

CSS – This abbreviation means Cascading Style Sheet. HTML is used to determine how the webpage is structured, while CSS determines how it is styled. This includes how the page is laid out and includes elements like the background colors, font colors, and font  style that are used in the page design. CSS and HTML interact to control the style and aesthetics of the page.

Javascript – This is what is used to put dynamic content on a webpage, such as animations, slideshows, autocomplete text settings, interactive maps, and more. Javascript is typically the final stage of front end website design and it is used to add extra energy and user-friendly functionality to a webpage.

How Front End Development Affects a Website

Anytime you visit a website, you are seeing the work of front end development. Other people may have written the text, taken the pictures, and designed the graphics, but it is the front end developer who puts all of those elements together in a way that is aesthetically pleasing and pragmatically functional.

Back End Web Development

Back end web development is what enables the front end of the website to exist in the first place. The back end consists of an application, a database, and a server, each working together to serve the front end.

The Database

A database is a collection of data that is organized and stored in an electronic system. This system allows the data to be accessed, managed, and updated when necessary. In essence, a database allows the information contained within it to be retrieved and manipulated by a user. This is done using a database management system (DBMS) which is a collection of different programs that enables users to access the database and that controls who has access to the database.   

The Server

A server is a program or device that provides service to another computer by delivering data to that computer. It is actually the software performing these tasks that is the server, but the hardware that supports that software is also called the server. There are different kinds of servers: web servers deliver information to different websites; e-mail servers enable the sending and receiving of e-mails; game servers dictate that all players of a game experience the same events. Our concern is the database server because it provides database services to other computers on the network using the aforementioned DBMS.

The Application

A database application is simply a program that accesses and retrieves data from the database. They are also used to search, organize, calculate, and share the information stored in the database. They are used for everything from accessing the data of a website’s clients to managing the inventory of an e-commerce store. Database applications are basically the middleman between the server and the database so most websites use them to keep their content updated and current.

The Front End and The Back End Make Your Website Work

Both front end web development and back end web development work in concert to make your website sing. They are equally important parts of web development and each cannot exist without the other. On The Map Marketing has a team of front end and back end developers who work in tandem to provide our clients with the best possible websites. If you want an eye catching website that runs perfectly on all devices, then contact On The Map Marketing so that we can build you the website you want and need.

Table of Contents