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Front, Back or Full Stack? The Odds and Ends of Web Programming

As the saying goes — technology makes the world go round. Perhaps that is not how the saying used to go. But now, definitely, it is ever-present in our lives from turning off our phone alarm in the morning to squeezing another episode of Netflix before going to bed. The Internet has created a global community. We are in the midst of a situation that unfortunately prevents us from frequently interacting with one another, person to person. Because of this, technology has become even more relevant to ensuring that we have safe, efficient and contactless communications and transactions.

Because of this, knowing how to navigate technology has become even more relevant and the demand for web developers or programmers continues to increase. But what exactly is web programming? What do web developers do and how do they specialize? More importantly, why should you invest in this skill? In a world driven by technology, does it not make sense to know to operate the technology that drives it?

With over 4 billion users, the Internet is certainly not going anywhere anytime soon. It hosts hundreds of millions of website platforms that people use for everything from searching random facts to chatting with their friends to shopping. And these websites are made by programmers to serve a specific purpose, to be used by the market in a certain way. Constructing a site can be done by an individual but the most popular ones are now run by entire corporations aiming to fulfill a certain need or want and by doing that, gain more clicks, more people logging on. These websites function, however, because there are programmers that pour work into making sure they do. And while specializations vary, they are most commonly divided into 3 different types of programmers.

Front End: What You See

Look at your favorite website. Observe how the content is laid out on the screen. Pull it up on both your desktop and mobile phone. See how the site adjusts depending on the device. Now go through the content. If you click on a link, where will it take you? If you scroll up and down, how does the content change? Do the videos automatically play when you go past them? Do the pictures rotate in a slideshow or do they stay the same?

Everything you’ve interacted with within the website was worked on by a front-end developer. These are the people who write the codes in which you read their end product. To be a front-end developer, one has to be particularly adept in what is called “client-side” code. They make sure that everything you click and watch and scroll through works as it should. Aside from that, they are the ones who work with web designers, using code to bring the colors and layouts and fonts to life within the website.

A little note on web programming and web design

While web programming and development can be used interchangeably, web design is an entirely separate field in the business of making a website. Programming focuses on function, on making sure that this link leads to the exact content it’s supposed to. Design decides what where these links should be placed and what exactly the content is about. In essence, designers decide on what audio-visual and textual information you can access. Programmers work to make sure you have no trouble accessing them.

See https://ciit.edu.ph/web-design-vs-web-development/ for more information.

Back End: How Websites “Think”

Let’s go back to your favorite website. Perhaps it has a subscription form that you’ve filled out before that lets you receive notifications for new additions or updates to the website. Or maybe, it has a search bar where you can type something up and get some content, an article or a video for example. It could be specific or a whole list of items related to what you’ve searched up. All these actions are made possible by the work of a back-end developer. They are in charge of managing the website’s database which is hosted by a server. Unlike the front-end, they don’t directly interact with you. Rather, they communicate with the front-end to deliver results on any request you might have made.

Take a conventional restaurant; when you sit down, the waiter will take your order, deliver it to the chef who cooks the order and sends it back to the waiter to deliver to you. In this (rather crude) example, waiters are at the front-end and chefs, the back. A related set-up might be ordering food from a restaurant’s website. Type your favorite dish into the menu search function on the front end and the information will be sent to the backend where the application searches the restaurant’s menu database. It will then pull a specific item or compile a list and the information will return to you written in front end code on the website browser. 

Full-stack: Why not both?

Now among restaurants, there are such set-ups where the chef also takes orders and serves their own food. Similarly, there are developers that are competent across the spectrum of programming. Full-stack developers are fluent in the languages of both the frontend and backend. This serves them well not just in practice but in strategic planning, being able to give a more informed perspective of how a user could interact with a website and how to respond appropriately to their requests. But whether you prefer to master it all or you rather specialize, the tech industry is ripe with opportunities waiting for you.

Take the chance and we’ll help you get started! Our Web Programming course gets you familiar with the different softwares used within the industry today. Whether you’ve got some previous skills or are completely new to coding, we offer flexible classes that get you proficient and ready to take on the job as a professional.