Front End vs Back End Development: Key Differences

Web Development
October 20, 2022

Building a website is a highly technical and complex process. Developers must build the structural elements to create a high-performance website using advanced programming languages and technologies. Like The Force in Star Wars – two sides of web applications and development matter: the-front end vs back end development.

Professional software development companies that offer web page design and development services build finished web apps that are fast-loading, filled with user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design elements, and scalability. It takes a talented team of developers to transcribe design elements into web code on the server-side (back end programming) and client-side (front end programming).

When you break it down, back end vs front end development is easy to differentiate. That's what we're going to accomplish in this article. In the information below, we'll compare front-end vs back-end web development.

We will explain the different back end and front end programming languages and technologies used by developers and introduce full stack development – a combination of both; just to throw a curveball into the equation. We'll also explain how development factors into website design cost.

So – let's get started.

Front End vs Back End Development: An Illustration of a Binary Code

What is Front End Development?

The technical build-out of a website begins with front end development. Front end coding is defined as a programming technique that focuses on creating the technical elements of a website that are used and seen by the user. A front end developer is tasked to ensure that each visual aspect of a website design is practical, functional, and works as imagined. As such, the front end process of development focuses on the client side of any web-based application.

The front-end development will take the visual elements created by the website design team, then formulate a plan to use a programming language to build out the UI and UX features. Their primary objective is to mimic the visual look of the design while ensuring the elements are functionally sound.

Some of the specific web design elements that a front end developer will create include:

The layout

A website layout is essentially the backbone of any web platform. It includes the header, menu(s), imagery, sliders, content boxes, and the footer.


A button is classified as any design feature that the user will interact with to engage in action. Buttons can range from static in nature – to flash-heavy UI experiences.


The website navigation feature allows a user to click through the multiple pages, information, and content found on a web platform.


While an image is a visual representation displayed on the front end of a website, the developer needs to customize multiple elements such as placement, size, and any interactive features.

Other front end design elements completed on the client-side of a website by developers include graphics, animation, and content organization. They'll use programming languages including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for most of these tasks.

What is Back End Development

Meanwhile, back end programming will focus on functionality and interactivity features not seen by the user on the server-side of website development. The back end is a website section where files are stored, accessible, editable, and maintained – or the database. This is where most of the website coding is completed – using programming languages such as Python, Ruby, Java, and more.

However, before the back-end developer starts creating the code, they need a framework to organize all the data. The back-end framework is a server-side programming language that establishes this structure, ensuring that a website will function with optimized performance.

If a website development project does not start with the proper framework specific to the type and scale of the entire site – performance will be limited. The proper framework also allows a website to grow and expand – or developed with scalability in mind. The back-end developer will build the code, debug and troubleshoot issues during the development and testing phase, and ensure that all design elements work as intended on the server-end.

What is Full Stack Development?

We will throw that curveball into web development by introducing the hybrid of both front and back end development. Full-stack development refers to building the entire website – on the client and server side. Those who complete full stack web development have a diverse background in programming languages, frameworks, and design.

While most full-stack coders specialize in CSS and HTML, they are also tasked to program websites within multiple applications, including:


These developers will use jQuery, Vue, Angular, or JavaScript to program browsers.


SQLite, SQL, and MongoDB are used to program databases.


On the server-side, Python, PHP, ASP, and Node are commonly used by full stack developers.

While it might seem daunting to complete both front end and back end development, those who complete full-stack projects are often trained in this process.

Front End vs Back End Development: The Differences

Suppose you've made it this far in the article. In that case, you're likely quite familiar with the similarities and differences between front and back-end web development. However, two primary distinctions separate these two individual programming tasks.

Two Sides for Different Elements

We explained earlier that front stack developers focus on the client-side of the equation – meaning they're tasked to work on the user's view and perception of tools used to navigate and interact with a website. Back end developers work on the server-side – or those web elements that are not seen – but require coding to permit the website to function correctly.

They Use Different Programming Languages

Another significant difference is the programming languages used by the front end and back end developers. The front end developers use HTML, JavaScript, and CSS to create the website's design elements. The back end coders will use Python, PHP, jQuery, and other task-specific languages for their development needs.

The main difference between front end and back end really breaks down where the development occurs.

Most Common Frontend vs Backend Technologies

Several interchangeable words or phrases are used in the website construction world - such as web development vs web design. One of the most misunderstood is programming technologies that allow coders to communicate with computers and servers.

Programming technologies are development tools that represent the languages, frameworks, and libraries that convert a visual website design into a functional website. Technologies also include the servers that host websites, API services, code repositories, and CI/CD tools for running tests.

Noted below are a few of the common front-end languages that are used on the front side:

  • HTML: Hyper Text Markup Language is the grandfather of modern programming languages. It's used to help create the structure of website pages.
  • CSS is an abbreviation for Cascading Style Sheets. This programming language develops the meat and potato design elements, such as the website's fonts, colors, and other style functions.
  • JavaScript is the programming language that front end developers use to turn the website into an interactive platform.

Front-end programmers also use a set of libraries and frameworks. Front-end frameworks are software libraries that allows a programmer to write the code needed to create the working website on the client-side and server-side. Some of the common frameworks used on the front end of development include:

  • React: This framework was developed for social media platforms – but has found a home in website development, mainly due to its reliability and ability to host large-volume websites.
  • Angular: Front end developers seeking a similar framework as React but want to have the flexibility of connecting apps to the website often select Angular.
  • jQuery: This is one of the older – but trustworthy frameworks for front end development. It's often used by programmers looking to streamline the process of developing desktop applications.

Back end developers also have a slew of programming languages that help them create server-side website functions. Some of their preferred technologies include work in languages like PHP, C++, Java, Ruby, Python, JavaScript, and Node.js. Here's a bit more on a few of these languages:

  • PHP: This is an acronym for Hypertext Preprocessor. It's a prevalent server-side scripting language that is robust, diverse, and can be used for multiple applications.
  • Java: Another popular programming language is Java. Sun Microsystems initially developed it as a software platform, which is great for mobile gaming and advanced numerical calculations.
  • Python: This coding language is used for several software development projects – mainly on the server side of the application. It's incredibly diverse, as it can be used to develop apps and other software solutions.

The back end programmers also have a set of preferred frameworks, including:

  • Django: This is an open-source, Python-based framework. It's one of the most popular with businesses building new websites as it offers seamless scalability, is highly secure, and is easy to integrate SEO tools.
  • Ruby on Rails: Professional developers call this 'rails.' It's popular with back end developers as it helps them save time due to automated testing solutions.
  • Express: This framework is used by many back end developers as it's cost-effective, fast-loading, and easy to maintain.

Need Professional Frontend and Back-end Services for Your Project? Contact Us

Businesses from start-up tech and healthcare companies to enterprise-level clients trust Goldfish Code to manage their front-end and back-end development services. Our team has the experience, availability, and team members to complete all website development projects – regardless of size or scope.

Goldfish Code is a US-based web development company that focuses on transparency throughout each phase of client projects. For most of our development-specific projects, we typically use Python – as it is one of the most diverse languages and can be integrated with existing infrastructure, external services, and multiple Python frameworks.

Our company is led by US-native, English-speaking project managers who work with our clients and a team of international programmers and coding experts to complete jobs on time and within budget. They serve as your single point of contact, keep you in the loop with frequent updates, and always obtain your approval before moving forward to additional steps.

The Goldfish Code team has years of expertise in building ready-to-use solutions with customizable functionalities, including Content Management Systems, Back-end API Support, and Basic Admin Portals.

We integrate Django, Celery, Redis, and PostgreSQL technologies and infuse a proven development process that mitigates errors and produces quality-driven results. Within our Javascript Libraries include React, Vue, and Angular. We also utilize HTML5/CSS 3, PHP/Laravel, ASP.Net, and Ruby on Rails. With our Content Management Systems, the sky is the limit. We mainly focus on WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and Squarespace.

Regardless of the size, scope, or status of your back-end or front-end web development project, you can trust Goldfish Code to complete the project with a focus on quality. If you're ready to learn more about our front end, back end, or complete stack development services, click the button below to request a free consultation.

Key Takeaways About Back End vs Front End

Website development is the process of turning a visual design or vision into a full-functioning online platform. While designing a website to include user experience and interactive functions is critical, converting those designs into a functional and quick-loading website completed by expert coders is essential.

Hopefully, after reading this article, you're completely clear about the differences between front end vs back end development. For a quick recap – here are the essential items to remember.

Front End Development builds out the website features on the client-end or seen by the user as they navigate a website.

Back End Development focuses on creating code that powers the server-end functionality of the website.

Full Stack Development is a combination of the two.

As you can see, the front end vs back end development debate is not as complex as you might think. Contact the Goldfish Code team today if you're looking for a professional website developer to handle the technical aspects of building your website – or would like to explore full-service website design and development options.