Backend development is all about the server-side of the software that is invisible to users. Backend developers aim at adding applicability and functionality to everything that is created by the frontend designers.
Along with the time, things move towards flexibility, clear code practices, as well as agreement and unity with the frontend part of the software. Backend technologies make it obvious how smoothly the web project is going to run. In this article, I’m going to introduce the most effective backend languages that provide users with a great experience.
As a programming language, Java is more than 20 years old. For the first time, it was created by Sun Microsystems. Later the language was acquired by Oracle that owns and develops it until now. Java dominates the software development space as a server-side technology. Java backend provides:
✔️ Platform Independence
Regardless of the fact of where Java is originally created, the code written in Java is possible to run on any other platform. Thanks to this feature, Java is famous for its approach of “Write Once, Run Anywhere”.
This platform independence is provided by the Java Virtual Machine. This JVM is the environment where the code is executed in Java language. Before this virtual machine, the software was written for a specific operating system. JVM became a turning point as it makes it possible that the software is run on any hardware or OS which has the JVM installed.
The JVM makes the Java source code readable by any platform with no special compilers. As a result, Java becomes versatile and differs from other languages.
✔️ IDE (Integrated Development Environment)
Each of the Java IDE is a complete ecosystem. This is what supports all the backend code creation stages. It becomes possible to write, edit and debug Java code in each IDE, as well as build software, and test it.
Libraries are considered to be one of the greatest time-saving tools that combine the knowledge of the Java community. The majority of the Java libraries are open-source. They are supported and updated by Java developers. The overall collection of Java libraries encompasses all programming aspects. Here you may find general-purpose libraries (Apache Commons), XML parsing libraries (JAXB), unit testing libraries (JUnit), and many more.
✔️ Multi-threaded Processing
Java makes use of a multi-threaded web server so that each request is processed in a separate thread. Due to multi-threading, several tasks are simultaneously performing without queueing the events.
Thanks to multi-threaded processing, Java is considered to be a great tool for CPU-intensive applications, for instance, video streaming, image editing, etc. Unlike other languages, multi-threading is integrated with Java, and no additional procedure is required for each operating system in order to enable multi-threaded request processing.
This is an architectural approach that is based on creating the application as a combination of small services. So, instead of containing everything in one single unit, the application relies on microservices. That means the process is broken down into smaller services that are lightweight pieces based on a logical construct. Once the project is deployed or scaled, the separate services are distributed within a set of machines. In the service fabric world, these machines are known as a "cluster".
Microservices allow you to independently build, operate and manage services. Accordingly, it is easier to scale out based on the required resources. Microservices offer their own load balancer as well as the execution environment. The data is captured in their own databases. And finally, microservices provide freedom of language and platform. It is easy to pass from one to another and teams may choose the best language.
✔️ Faster Development
Although Java libraries, as well as reusable components, are superior, there is a lot of community-developed code that is reused in Node.js apps. Besides, Node.js takes fewer lines of code than Java. As a result, it takes less time to create an app with Node.js.
Although both Node.js and Java execute requests asynchronously, Node.js presents better horizontal scalability achieved by adding more hardware. However, in the case of vertical salability, Node.js is not as great. Because of its single-threaded nature, only a single core is used.
PHP is one of the good backend development technologies that provide robust CMS opportunities. In 2015, PHP was updated to its 7th version. The well-organized documentation of PHP backend makes it peculiar among other backend development languages. PHP features are:
Compared to other scripting languages PHP is very simple and easy to use. The official PHP resource covers comprehensive information about all the features of the language. The provided ready-made PHP solutions, in their turn, simplify the coding process. Thanks to the intuitive logic and syntax of PHP, developers who have at least some experience in coding write their first code in PHP just having a few days of practice.
PHP is an interpreted language. For example, there is no need for compilation. The most widely used PHP implementation is powered by the Zend Engine and known simply as PHP. Zend Engine compiles PHP source into a format that it can execute, thus the Zend engine works as an interpreter.
PHP is faster and it restarts the application every time the web request starts. However, as on every request PHP sets up then tears down the entire application, sharing resources may be difficult.
✔️ Open Source
No kind of payment is required for using PHP. This language is possible to download and use for free.
✔️ Platform Independence
PHP code is run on any platform, including Linux, Mac OS X, Unix, Windows.
✔️ Case Sensitivity
At the time of variable declaration, PHP is a case sensitive scripting language. All the keywords (such as if, else, while, echo, and many more), classes, user-defined functions, as well as functions are NOT case-sensitive.
✔️ Loosely Typed Language
Without declaring its data type, PHP supports variable usage. PHP associates a data type to the variable automatically, based on its value. Because the data types aren’t set in the strict sense, it is possible for example to add a string into an integer without even causing an error.
Python is a universal backend programming language that is possible to use for almost any task related to the backend part of the software. It refers to web and desktop applications, games, prototypes, microservices, etc. Compared to other backend technologies, Python has a much simpler syntax. It is this feature that makes many developers start server-side software development with Python.
✔️ Library Management
In order to manage packages, Python uses PIP (Pip Installs Python). Pip makes it simple to manage different libraries within the Python applications. It’s fast, but the project’s requirements are still easy to define at a glance. For Python developers, Pip is a great tool to have in the toolbag.
✔️ Environment Management
Python introduces the best applications to manage environments. There is a system called Virtualenv that is used to install various versions of Python. This is an original environment manager that has been actively maintained for a long time.
Good documentation is essential to your success when diving into a new project. PHP offers a robust documentation site with unique features. Developers get an opportunity to contribute comments on each page of documentation. On the other hand, the documentation effectively covers all the built-in features of the language in a simple and plain language. These comments help to explain complicated concepts.
With the intelligent usage of backend technologies, web developers build high-quality web projects. However, to choose a reliable backend technology you should pay attention to your specific business objectives the software should resolve and only then make the choice.
I'll introduce cases when each of the above-mentioned languages is a good fit: