Know your technology
If you’re a marketer or a business owner, in most likelihood your immediate areas of focus would be a sound business strategy, marketing goals and market research. Technology isn’t considered your forte, but nonetheless a decent understanding of the technologies that your company uses would go a long way in making operations easier.
Other than depending on your company’s chief technology officer (CTO) if you have one, it would actually be a good idea to wield a fair amount of knowledge to handle projects better, especially when you need to hire the services of a web development agency.
That’s because you should be able to see what tools they offer, how scalable or reliable those solutions are -- all the details that could help you decide if working with them would make sense in the long-term as your business grows into new markets.
Technology is a complicated thing. There are so many different components that come together in apps to make them function and understanding what goes where can be difficult without some knowledge of programming basics like variables or functions - not to mention the various libraries each app may use.
That being said though, when done right it's really pretty neat seeing how everything gets put into its own little place on screen as if you're looking through a window at pixels & code.
What is framework?
The framework is like the foundation of your building. Without it, all you can do is just stand there and watch as things start falling apart around you. Web development is not complete without considering frameworks. Frameworks provide the necessary tools and technologies that help developers build interactive websites and applications with ease.
But it doesn't just end there; they also offer other benefits, such as scalability for large-scale projects or test coverage to ensure everything works seamlessly on every browser type out there. They’re crucial because without them there would be no way whatsoever for us to accomplish anything at all, literally putting out fires before they even started by helping ensure stability from day one.
Imagine a world where your customers can easily find what they need, when they need it. A database stores all of this information in an easy-to-understand and retrieve structure so that everything can be quickly accessed, thereby saving time on search engine optimization (SEO) for future customers who come across your site through social media or organic searches.
Crucial as both the frameworks are, our focus of the day are backend frameworks and we’re going to share as much knowledge with you as we can. Starting with answering the question…
What are backend frameworks and what do they do?
No matter the app or website you are building, the development project will rest on certain components that make up its full stack library. That's because these frameworks and libraries work together in various ways to create functionality for your program, which can be anything from displaying pictures to playing videos, managing files stored online like videos & songs and so on.
The combination of different components is what makes the app or website unique. If one piece breaks, the whole system will come crashing down. This means it's very important to know exactly which libraries and frameworks you're using in your development process because they'll interact with each other differently depending on their stack configuration.
A backend framework is primarily an assortment of libraries containing programming languages that provides the tools and technology you need to build your server-side application. It's important not only to use these correctly, but also in the right context - some technologies may be better suited than others depending on how they're going to be used with other applications or websites created so far.
Your browser requests information from the backend a.k.a. the server-side, which is responsible for organizing and storing data, and ensuring everything on your client-side works smoothly by communicating with it via code that are interpreted and displayed on a web page format when you visit any website.
How to choose a backend framework for your project
When it comes to picking the right backend framework, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Every platform and problem requires a different approach that will depend largely on what you need your system for.
The world of backend frameworks is a complex one, with a lot of different options available to developers. So what's the best approach? It depends really!
The right choice will depend on your requirements and how you plan on using it. But there isn't necessarily "the perfect" solution out there for every single project in existence today or tomorrow either - they all differ too much based off the domain and platform.
And so, the question remains. What are your options? There's probably a lot of different answers for this one, but I'll tell you what - If we're talking about pros and cons then let me just say that every framework has them too, though some might be more obvious than others depending on how much work has already gone into picking out their niche market or "niche" as they like to call it (or not).
Just to make it a little easier though, we’d highly advise you to consider performance, robustness and scalability as the key determinants or metrics while taking your pick of the backend technology for your project. Tech trends can change quickly, so before choosing your programming language for a project make sure it aligns with what the company needs and not just any fleeting trend.
- Performance - Nowadays there are many things to consider when looking at different web frameworks such as performance versus ease-of-use. However, one thing worth considering early on in your search would be understanding where each framework falls within specific metrics like total request volume across time, which might change depending on factors including size, complexity, etc.
- Robustness - Frameworks not only provide an easy and quick way to develop but also help your team deliver features quickly. With frameworks, you can take advantage of pre-made code that will make it easier for to get your developers started with tested, proven code.It lets them focus on implementing features instead of writing everything from scratch, which allows for robust functionality in less time.
- Scalability - Framework features not only work fast and efficiently, but can also scale to accommodate newer and higher requirements. This means you can create an app with all the necessary components for a specific need at any given time without worrying about it being too limiting or cumbersome in other areas like scalability.
Most popular backend frameworks of 2021
Now, that you have a clearer picture of what you should look in a backend framework, let’s narrow your search down to what we’ve found out to be the most popular backend frameworks among developers for web development in 2021.
The general idea is to help you make a well-informed decision so you’re better prepared for any new projects that you’ll take up in 2022.
First release : July 21, 2005
The Django framework is a Python-based free and open-source web framework that follows what is known as the model–view-controller (MVC) software design pattern. Run and managed by an independent non-profit organization called The Django Software Foundation, it has proved to be a powerful and flexible framework that's used to develop some of the internet’s most intricately-complex sites.
Arguably the most popular of all the web frameworks available, Django has been around for just over 16 years, simplifying the process of development along the way. It's maintained by software engineers and designers with tools to facilitate rapid development cycles in just about every way imaginable, from data validation to caching, authentification and even pagination.
Django was created with one goal in mind: to ease your development process while still allowing you full control over every aspect, from design down through how data gets stored. As such it focuses heavily on reusable components -- less code means rapid development or faster turnaround time.
The philosophy behind ‘don't repeat yourself’ also helps here because DRY coding can make life easier when building large scale applications or products as well as remove conflicts between different people working simultaneously on them. That’s what makes Django easily one of the best and the most favored backend frameworks for web development today.
- Fast and scalable: Django was built for efficiency, which is why it’s no surprise that this programming language has become so popular among developers. They are able to focus on what matters most - building fast, scalable web applications and websites without being bogged down by tedious steps like setting up databases or creating models from scratch.
- High security: Django provides a number of security features, which helps in preventing SQL injections, cross-scripting and other kind of security threats to your site's integrity. It even stores user passwords securely by default so that they do not have worry about it anymore when accessing the app or website.
- Great support: The Django framework has an active and bustling community. The open-source nature of the framework combined with its popularity over 16 years since creation, are reason enough why there’s always help at hand available through various channels on its community page.
- Extensive documentation: This comes close on the heels of Django’s tight community support. The friendly, open-source Python framework boasts of a very clear and concise documentation.
Whether you’re looking for a quick answer on improving performance or need more information about what security features exist in the platform itself, this guide has it all on its documentation page.
- Extremely versatile: If you want to build something that’s both powerful and highly customizable, then there is no better framework than Django. From eLearning platforms and CMSs all the way to social media management tools, it will help you build a wide range of applications.
As good as it gets though, Django is not immune to its share of disadvantages either. Here are some of the cons that Django suffers from.
- Very demanding: Django’s sheer size is sadly also the reason that developers face problems since they need to know the plan for every feature well ahead before starting the build. Failing to do so could only lead to loss of resources and time spent on restructuring.
- Not suitable for small projects: Django takes the load off of your shoulders by providing a lot of code that can take up server processing power. But this might not be suitable for projects and products with very few features or those that need their site to work quickly in low bandwidth situations.It's best suited as an option for larger sites.
- Absence of coding conventions: While some programmers may prefer the scalability offered by Django, its lack of convention can be a turnoff for others. In contrast, other frameworks such as Ruby on Rails have everything you need to get started defined for them in the code itself, which makes it easier and quicker than Django because there's no boilerplate required at all.
As for why coding conventions are important, this article is a good way to shed some light on it.
Prominent apps/websites built using Django:
First release: August 2004
Rails is a great platform for implementing software engineering patterns and paradigms that are well known in the industry. This includes using ‘don't repeat yourself’ (DRY), active record pattern (which MVC heavily emphasizes) and convention over configuration (CoC) to make your code more maintainable by preventing repetition of boilerplate chores like data binding or custom validations on business objects.
Ruby on Rails' influence in web app development is undeniable. The framework introduced features such as seamless database table creations and database schema migrations, which went on to prompt other notable frameworks, including Django, Laravel and CakePHP to adopt its ideas.
Here are some of the many advantages that RoR offers its users.
- Fast development: Rails was created to help developers create fast, high-velocity prototypes and applications. The efficient package manager architecture means that scaffolding an entire application can be achieved through a few simple commands.
This is thanks largely due its built-in ORM (ActiveRecord), which takes care of both application and database logic so you don't have spend time worrying about them while coding your app.
- Standardization: The Rails framework is known for its DRY principle, which keeps your codebase clean and easy to read. The CoC approach in Rails means that most aspects of developing are standardized with default settings, saving you precious time when setting up new projects or versioning old ones.
- Great community support: Being an open-source web framework of the prowess of Rails, it was but natural for it to have such a bustling community. And most of the contributors are those who have already used or are using RoR in their web development projects.
The result is that there are regular updates, problem fixes and improvements made to the framework to enhance the security further.
- Slow runtime: Rails is often unfairly labeled as a slower than other frameworks, but this doesn't have to be the case. If you're not looking at accommodating millions of requests per second like Twitter or Facebook then Ruby will perform just fine.
It's important to note that most performance problems will stem from your server architecture and networking infrastructure rather than RoR. With the right skills and infrastructure, RoR can be just as fast or faster than many other frameworks.
- Not flexible enough: Rails provides an easy way to create standard features, but it might not be flexible enough for your unique needs. It has been standardized and does not allow for customizable output, which may limit your flexibility when implementing unique functions since it's hard to adjust RoR in different ways depending on the product or project needs.
An issue with this approach can arise when one might have to choose between changing deep-rooted code (a difficult task) or switching over entirely into something different.
- Mistakes will prove costly: Rails may have a lot to offer, but it's easy for inexperienced engineering teams to make mistakes, which can end up costing you heavily in the long run. Rails is an open framework where all components depend on each other and are tightly coupled.
This means any change will affect every part of your application making fixing issues difficult without understanding how each piece works together or having previous experience using this technology stack yourself.
Prominent websites built using Ruby on Rails:
First release: June 2011
Laravel is a powerful, open-source framework for building and running your next big idea that follows the MVC principle like Django and Rails. Based on Symfony, it enables easy synchronization with all compatible database and deployment tools out there (even MySQL), making development a piece of cake.
Laravel is a great framework to bank on if you're looking for something simple and minimalistic. Noteworthy are features like modular packaging systems, ability to use different database management systems, syntactic sugar instead of repetitive tasks like looping through data sets and so on.
The source code can be found on GitHub under MIT License terms so you are free from any copyrights constraints while still getting all related benefits including pull requests integration with visual studio windows explorer. Overall, this ecosystem helps developers save time by providing them what they need in one place - no matter if we talk about authentication protocols or UI elements.
- Easy, built-in access: Laravel is a powerful framework that helps you implement authentication and access control with ease. This makes logging in simpler than ever before since all required steps are handled by this single order, which also means security will not get lost along the way either, because they're always present together in Laravel.
- Extensive documentation: Laravel’s extensive documentation makes it quite easy and user-friendly for developers, no matter their experience level or technical knowledge. Everything from installation to configuration, starter kits to deployment is a wealth of information for anyone who’s eager to learn how to use Laravel.
- All the best of PHP: Laravel has often been hailed as the best PHP framework that there is, mainly because all the latest and best features that PHP introduced are available on this framework. Some of these features are Bundles, Eloquent ORM and Blade.
- Quick development: The key to a successful project is efficiency. By reducing the development period, your team can save time and resources, which will allow you to be more effective in implementing ideas for clients or products with less risk of failure.
- Built-in database migration: Laravel can boast of a built-in database migration feature that allows developers to migrate data easily without the fear of losing any of it. Not just that, the synchronization of one database with the other is also rapid and secure, making development a breeze, no matter how complex the project.
- Not enough built-in support: One striking shortcoming of Laravel is an asymmetrical progression from an older version to a new one, which only amplifies the pain of dealing with the glaring lack of built-in support.
So, faced with any major issue, developers have to scamper for help through the framework’s documentation.
- Not easy to master: Laravel is a tough nut to crack. It has so many features that don’t necessarily behave like you would expect them too.
They work in different ways based on how your code is structured around their original design intent, which makes mastering this system all the more intriguing for those who want something challenging.
- Frequent upgrades can be overbearing: The benefits that Laravel’s frequent updates bring can also proves to be a big challenge, especially when one is in the middle of a project and one of its features becomes unusable if the latest update is not completed.
This doesn’t just prove costly, it can be time-consuming too, thereby stretching your project timeframe.
Top apps/CMS/websites built using Laravel:
First release: November 16, 2010
Express.js, or just Express as it is popularly known, is a powerful open-source backend web framework that has also been called the de-facto standard server for Node.js apps. It carries an open-source MIT license, which means developers don't need to pay licensing fees.
Express is a lightweight, flexible framework that provides you with the tools to build web applications of all complexities. Robust and minimalistic in nature, it doesn't throw its weight like opinionated frameworks would on how things should be done, but instead lets developers choose for themselves.
- Cost-effective: With Express, you can develop your mobile apps and server side in the same language. This means that development is a low-cost affair compared to other frameworks because you don't have to worry about learning new languages.
- Google V8 engine support: Express finds support in Google V8 engine, which is a surefire way to achieve optimal performance minus any lags during processing.
As much as I could, believe it or not, I could not find any cons for Express, except for a mention of error messages being hard to locate and some flying and unfound reference to security issues, a search that bore no fruit.
Prominent apps/websites built on Express:
First release: April 2005
CakePHP is an open-source web framework that follows the model–view–controller (MVC) approach just like Django, Rails and Laravel. Modeled after Rails, it is distributed under MIT License armed with some popular software design principles, including convention over configuration (CoC), active record and associative entity.
CakePHP is a modern tool that can be used to develop both web applications and websites of all sizes. It's easy for beginners because there are no complicated settings, making it preferable over other more complex tools like Zend Framework in this day and age when rapid development speed matters more than anything else.
Cake has an effective security system built into the core which ensures your app responds quickly even when under attack from hackers trying break through on any vulnerability they find
CakePHP's router makes it easy to set up a website that can handle multiple functions. Reverse routing will find the best route for any given request, based on which template is being used and where in your application you are currently located!
The routing system helps you match the right controller with each request by following links through a chain of URL generators called Reverse Routers so your application can have controllers that know exactly where they need to access data from.
- Code reusability: CakePHP is an object-oriented framework that allows developers to create reusable code components. The libraries have helpers, behaviors and plugins that can be carried forward for use in other projects instead of creating your own version every time someone asks for it.
- Built-in authentication: CakePHP is a great option for building secure, reliable and efficient applications. It provides built-in security tools that help you avoid common security problems like CSRF attacks, SQL injection and XSS attacks, making it more easy to use than other frameworks.
- No need of pre-configuration: The CakePHP framework takes care of everything for you, including the server setup and database configuration. There's no need to worry about technical details like Apache or MySQL setups, since they're all done by this easy-to use software.
- CakePHP ORM: ORM is an object-oriented programming language that allows developers to override database incompatibility and convert data from one system to another. CakePHP has built-in ORM, making it a cakewalk (forgive the pun) to work with database and CRUD operations.
- Unimpressive documentation support: CakePHP’s documentation is definitely not as extensive and impressive as the other frameworks in its class and leaves much to desire for.
- Routing challenge: Routing in CakePHP is the biggest issue as one cannot update URLs without updating default routes, but instead settles for one-way routing. This makes it an inefficient choice when compared with other frameworks that allow for more flexibility.
- Migration issues: Issues in migrating from version 2.x to 3.x have been called out by many developers, who noted that 3.x won’t support a several backward compatible changes. This makes it impossible to migrate their existing app to the updated version.Of course, the new features can be used directly on 3.x to develop apps.
Prominent apps/websites built using CakePHP:
The list for backend frameworks that are feature-rich and beefed up is long and can confuse you if you’re not sure what you want. One of the most important factors that should influence your choice in a backend framework is your project specifications.
The developer working on your project should know what tools would be the right fit for the job. Our developers have spent years perfecting their craft and have reached a stage where they can identify the needs of a project of any size with unfailing accuracy to make the best decision for our clients.
Write to us with your project idea if you’re in need of seasoned developers and we’ll do the rest.