27 Nov The Most Popular Backend Frameworks for Web Development in 2019
While having an online presence is a no-brainer for any business, it’s just one example of how deeply the web has penetrated our way of life. From catching up with friends to ordering dinner to getting where you need to go, there exists a solution for almost anything and everything.
It all begins with a need and way to solve that need, but that’s only the first part of the journey. Your ideas may be great, but to realize them in the form of a web app and to ensure it will be well-received, its essential to deliver intuitive and seamless frontend experiences supported by a robust backend.
For newbies, it can be somewhat difficult to wrap their heads around ideas like frontend and backend development, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg! Nevertheless, we all have to start somewhere.
This article will attempt to help you navigate your way around backend development and understand its relation to frontend development. We’ve even thrown in some of the most popular backend frameworks in here for good measure. Let’s get started!
Backend vs. Frontend Web Development
Now you already know that a web app may have a backend and frontend. But it’s important to understand what these terms actually mean and how they relate to one another.
In layman terms, the frontend is the visual part of the web app. It’s what users see and interact with (i.e., UI/UX). On the flip side, the backend is everything that happens behind the scenes on the server. Users don’t interact with backend components (tools, scripts, libraries, etc.) directly, but they are nonetheless essential for everything to work just right.
Do All Web Apps Need a Backend?
The need for a backend depends on what features you’re trying to implement into your app. If you need it to display dynamic or user-specific content or authenticate users before they can access its features, then it is very likely that your app will require access to backend resources. If you only need to display predefined, static data, just having a frontend will suffice.
So, how do backend frameworks factor into all of this? Let’s talk about that.
What is a Backend Framework?
Backend frameworks are libraries of server-side programming languages that help construct the backend structure of a site. If you want to build a dynamic app or website, wouldn’t it be great to have certain things ready-made? Well, backend frameworks do just that. They provide developers a good head-start by eliminating the need for them to build and configure everything from the ground up. Consequently, developers can focus on the features they actually want to implement and get more done quickly.
While they all serve the same purpose, backend frameworks are written in a variety of languages and have different features. Thus, your choice of language and whether a particular framework can support the features you’re trying to implement will dictate your choice. Here are some of the most popular ones for 2019, in no particular order.
The Most Popular Backend Frameworks for 2019*
Express.js is a fast, lightweight framework that adds core web application features to the already feature-packed Node.js platform and lets you publish server-side Node.js apps as websites. It’s quite flexible and supports the REST API as well.
License: MIT License
2. Laravel Framework
Laravel is a Model-View-Controller framework that comes with an intuitive interface, out-of-the-box API support, as well as tools, packages, and libraries that greatly simplify the development of modern and secure web applications.
Laravel also has its own command-line interface (CLI) called the Artisan Console that can perform repetitive and complex tasks so developers can focus on more important things.
Moreover, Blade (Laravel’s template engine) provides really lightweight frontend templates and supports plain PHP code, unlike several other PHP template engines.
Further, given its excellent community support and extensive documentation, Laravel is significantly more beginner-friendly than most frameworks on this list.
Written in: PHP
License: MIT License
3. Flask Framework
Based on the Werkzeug library and the Jinja templating engine, Flask has become one of the most popular Python web application frameworks. Being a microframework, it doesn’t restrict users to particular tools or libraries and is also simpler and more lightweight when compared to other more complex Python frameworks (i.e., Django).
Owing to its relatively leaner nature, Flask also has less of a learning curve when compared to Django. Coupled with Unicode-based support and widely-available documentation, this makes Flask a better choice for those who aren’t well-versed in Python development.
Flask should still be sufficient for developing scalable web apps, like simple websites, IoT apps, REST APIs, etc. Its functionality can also be enhanced through various extensions provided by the Flask community.
Written in: Python
4. Ruby on Rails (RoR)
Rails follows the ‘convention over configuration’ principle such that it makes assumptions about what you need to get started when you create a new web application, allowing you to accomplish more while writing less code. Moreover, Rails’ easy compilation and testing, along with the broad community support and abundance of available resources, make it a viable choice for beginners.
You may also choose from a wide range of third-party Ruby on Rails plugins known as gems to extend the functionalities of your application. These are also easy-to-use and often come with extensive documentation.
Written in: Ruby
License: MIT License
Django is a high-level, Model-View-Template (MVT) framework that supports the rapid development of backend web apps with minimal coding involved.
Like Flask, Django also relies on Python for web development. However, unlike Flask, it is better suited for larger and more complex projects as it comes with everything that a developer may need out of the box. Besides these robust built-in components, more can still be added to boost the framework’s functionality further.
Moreover, with safety features like a user authentication system and protection against SQL injection, cross-site scripting, cross-site request forgery, and clickjacking implemented within the framework itself, Django helps users develop more secure web apps.
All of Django’s major features can be decoupled, so users can pick and choose pieces of functionality they need for their project. This ensures a more streamlined code and better performance.
Written in: Python
License: 3-clause BSD
6. Spring Boot
Based on the Spring MVC framework, Spring Boot eliminates the need for configurations required to set up a Spring application. On top of Spring’s opinionated view, it also features third-party libraries to ensure the rapid development of scalable, production-grade applications.
Many developers also prefer Spring since it uses Java, a strongly typed language. However, given the layers and abstractions, debugging and maintenance can be a bit hard, especially for newcomers. Regardless, help is always on hand as the Spring community is massive, and the official documentation is very extensive.
Written in: Java
License: Apache License 2.0
From frontend to backend and beyond, Intagleo Systems is here for all your mobile and web development needs. We have also devised all manner of Native, Cross-platform, Hybrid, and Web apps for a global clientele over the last 15 years. Contact us today to get started.