With the rapid increase in technological advancement, everything today is available online. When it comes to surfing the Internet, you should be familiar with basic concepts like – What is the Internet and how does it work? The Internet is the biggest worldwide network of communication. It is a medium where individuals share information. It also provides various online services such as web – a collection of web pages, social media – a platform to share views, photos, etc. It is the biggest platform to explore and research. It transmits a variety of data and media across interconnected devices. The working can be defined as using a packet routing network that follows Internet Protocol (IP) and Transport Control Protocol (TCP). TCP and IP work collectively to ensure consistent and reliable data transmission.
But, do you how does internet respond to our requests? The client-server communication to extract a response for the request made happens using HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) which is the TCP/IP-based application layer. And HTTPS is HTTP with security. Since Operating Systems (OS) plays a vital role in webpage rendering, a glimpse of its theory is also important. OS manages your system’s software and hardware. It handles file, processing, memory management, and I/O operations. So, whenever there’s a command made on the software side, the hardware detects it and acts.
Now, when you know about the internet, you should know how a web page works. You all must come across various websites which provide solutions even to your smallest doubt. Front-End and Back-End collectively form web pages. All that appearance is called the front-end whereas the entire look of the website is dependent on the back-end i.e., the working behind the frontend. So, if you want to sell your website, building only the front-end won’t work if you do not have support to hold it and that support is – Back-End.
But before, we dive deep into the back-end let’s see some basic concepts you should be familiar with Front–End knowledge includes HTML, CSS, and JS.
- HTML – HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and is the standard markup language for creating web pages. It contains elements that are used to make an effective web page. All the heading, paragraphs, images, and titles added to a web page are all because of HTML.
- CSS – CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. To style an HTML document, you need CSS which is an excellent language used to design a web page. It also can control the layout of multiple web pages all at once. Different styling methods such as providing colors, fonts, alignment, and margins can be created using CSS.
Now, when you have gone through Front-End, let’s explore Back-End.
Who is a Back-End Developer?
A Back-End developer handles servers, databases, and APIs. In short, one who stores and organizes data communicates with the UI (Front-End) and performs server-side management. For building the structure of a web application, a back-end developer is responsible. For example, if you take any e-commerce website such as Amazon, all that product list you see in the UI is stored somewhere, Right? That data is stored in the database which is handled by the back-end, the sign-in button you see renders you to another page when you enter details that API call is made by the back-end, and also the server-side rendering is handled all by the back-end developers.
Skills Needed to Become a Back-End Developer
1. Knowledge of Web Server
The web server runs websites, it stores, processes, and delivers (response) web pages to the user’s request. An HTTP server comprises several components which can understand HTTP and URLs. When the user makes a request by the web server, it is accepted by an HTTP server which finds and sends back the content to the browser through HTTP. Some examples of web servers are Apache and NGINX which are open-source platforms used to deliver content as per requests made.
2. Programming Languages and Their Frameworks
You all would have come across the term Programming language which is the language implemented to be understood by the machine. And frameworks are a set of libraries that work together to simplify and make programming easier. Programming Languages are the backbone of a web page. Without the knowledge of programming languages with their frameworks, it is impossible to work as a back-end developer. There are many programming languages you can explore but there are few which are mostly recommended when it comes to backend development.
- [Python+Django] – Python is the easiest of all programming languages and with Django, it plays a perfect combination to build a website. With less code, you can build better and more easy web applications. Python is most commonly used for developing websites and it performs quicker implementations. Django is the most secure and scalable framework one should work with.
- [PHP+Laravel] – PHP (HyperText Preprocessor) is a general-purpose scripting language well suited for web development. It is a fast, flexible, and pragmatic language which powers everything from blogs to the most popular websites. Laravel is an open-source framework used to build a wide range of web applications. It is purely a server-side framework that manages data and uses MVC (Model View Controller) to break an application’s back-end architecture into logical parts making it easier to build.
3. Version Control System (Git)
Version control system helps in maintaining and tracking changes incode changes be used for future implementations. They are software tools that help in managing changes in source code over time. Git which is free and open-source can be the best choice as a version control system because of its secure, flexible, and easy-to-edit features. Using a Version control system is the best practice every developer should follow even for a small project because whenever you want to update its feature or bring advancement to it, you can quickly edit the source code and come out with an optimized application.
- It is the most commonly used version control system
- It tracks changes made in files.
- Git branches are cheap and easy to merge.
- You can move to specific versions whenever you want to.
4. Knowledge of Web Security
Various threats can attack a website which could result in its poor performance. Cybercriminals are the ones who can cause threats to web applications and bring risk to development. They steal valuable data and resources thereby bringing a downfall in the growth of a company. To avoid this, web security comes into the picture. Web security refers to the protective measures and protocols developers should follow to build an optimized and effective website. It includes scanning a website for vulnerabilities to defend against thefts or loss that occurs due to digital hackers.
Types of Risks developers face could be malware, backlisting, buffer overflow, and sensitive data exposure. Various techniques can be followed to avoid such issues:
Using HTTPS: HTTPS is a secured HTTP. When data is sent using HTTPS, it is protected via the Transport Layer Security protocol, which has three layers of protection:
- Encryption: Way of securing data along with a password or “key” which is used to decrypt the information.
- Data Integrity: When data integrity is secure, information stored in a database is complete, accurate, and reliable for a lifetime.
- Authentication: This method protects against attacks and builds user trust which response to business growth.
Implementing secure backup and recovery: Data loss could be the major threat that could lead to security breaches. To avoid this, make sure to implement a backup process. This could be implemented in many ways:
- Protecting media and content from theft or destruction.
- Periodically testing the backups.
- Apply a two-person rule so that one person cannot access the content or media without the permission of another article.
and various other methods include XSS Attacks, Software updates, and SQL Injection.
An API is a set of functions that perform accessing data and interacting with external software components, microservices, and OS. In short, it delivers users’ responses to the system and sends responses back to the user. It is because of APIs (which act as a software intermediary) that two applications talk to each other. APIs are used by backend developers to create connections between services or applications to initiate communication to improve user experience. Express is a good choice for a server to create and expose APIs to have client-server communication. Some of the APIs you should know about are:
6. Containerization & Testing
Containerization is the process of packaging software code with all the necessary elements like frameworks, libraries, and other dependencies, to make services isolated from each other in a container. This process is done by the backend developers to run a container easily. Docker and Kubernetes are the most used containers.
Docker is an open-source containerization platform, that enables developers to package applications into containers. It is similar to a virtual machine but much more efficient. Its basic use of it is it allows the applications to run in different environments.
Kubernetes often abbreviated as “K8s”, automates deploying and managing cloud-native applications using public cloud platforms.
The process of testing is a mandated one because it evaluates and verifies whether a software product is performing its operation well or not. This is done to avoid errors thus improving performance. There are various types of testing:
- Unit Testing: Verifies performance of each unit where the unit could be the smallest component of an application.
- Functional Testing: Checks functions of small components whether there’s a bug or needs optimization.
- Usability Testing: Validates a better way customers can use a web application for a particular task.
- Performance Testing: Under different real-time workloads, how well software performs.
- Regression Testing: This checks whenever there’s new functionality added to the existing code, the operation should not get affected.
When the testing passes, developers move to the deployment where they can see the working of their application. It can also be referred to as a live environment. This process includes 5 steps: Planning, development, testing, deploying, and monitoring.
- Planning: When multiple developers are working on the same project, a deployment plan is a necessity. Using this step, you avoid conflicts between changes made making sure the deployment process is as smooth and easy. This could lead to the quicker and more efficient development of the application.
- Development: Once, the planning is done, actual development takes place. This is the step where you gather ideas and prioritization requirements. Then, the management of the complete application can be moved to testing.
- Testing: Testing is a crucial step to ensure there are no bugs before moving it to the production level. Testing is possible only when you deploy it to various environments to check whether it fits in or not. Check for the bugs and if any, make sure to remove them and then move to the deployment process.
- Deploying: Seeing your application working live, with no bugs, and in an optimized way gives satisfaction to the effort made. It means pushing changes or updates from one environment to another.
- Monitoring: Constant monitoring is required to check whether the website is working well or not. There might be a chance that issues may occur after deploying as well, so keep an eye out for the proper functioning, and the time for release should be planned so that minimum users would have viewed and changes can be made to see the optimized web application.
8. Cloud Providers
Everything is making its way to the cloud, be it software, applications, services, or products. Cloud computing. It is Web-based computing that permits businesses and individuals to consume computing resources such as virtual machines, databases, processing, services, storage, and events, and gives you a pay-as-you-go service. Cloud computing can be divided into three major categories, Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
Switching to the cloud is beneficial in so many ways:
- It offers 24*7 availability.
- It provides maintainability and automatic updates of new software, OS, and databases thus reducing IT labor costs for a business.
- Data centers are managed by the cloud service provided making the development faster and more reliable.
- There is no need for physical devices to store data thus making it cost-effective.
- Access applications from anywhere, anytime making it a flexible schedule and smooth transition to remote work.
- Data protection is a major concern in case of power failure or other crises, thus the cloud prepares a backup in a safe and secure location.
Mostly used Cloud Services are:
Develop Your First Project
Until and unless you build your back-project, you won’t be able to know what are the factors responsible for a working application. Build some amazing projects starting from beginner to advanced level. “Practice makes a man perfect”. Don’t forget to explore our Full Stack Development with React & NodeJS – Live Course
So keep practicing by building some projects, you’ll see yourself at a place where you would have come across terms needed while back-end development.