Different types of web developer

By Mark Bishop, Back End Developer in Mobas' Digital team.

Hi, I’m a web developer. I’ve been doing this a while now, but which kind of web developer am I? Did you know that there are different specialities?

There are two common core branches of web development: these are frontend and backend. What are these you might well be asking yourself? What are the differences? Why do web developers even need these classifications?

Frontend

Frontend development is primarily involved with making a website look, well, how it looks. The position, style and general look of the website (what we’d call the UI or user interface), and how it is used by the website visitor (UX or user experience) is what a frontend developer creates, usually from a design that has been created for them. The kind of technologies they work with are the ones you may have heard of, including such things as HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Backend

Backend developers (where I ply my trade) are responsible for the non-visual functionality of the website, the server-side as we’d call it, or what goes on behind the scenes. The things that happen to make the news items appear on the page, or to make the form send the email, add an item to a basket, etc. are all the responsibility of the backend developer. There are a whole range of technologies that a backend developer can use to ply their trade: common ones are ASP.net, PHP, Python and Node.js.

Full-stack

A contentious term within the office, a full-stack developer is capable of proficiently working in both frontend and backend development. Also, they tend to be able to work on what’s known as devops (which involves the technologies that surround a website, such as databases, web servers and deployment). A good one is hard to find.

Why do we need these specialities? Isn’t it all just making websites?

For me it’s a combination of efficiency of development in projects, and expertise. For anything but the smallest of websites, multiple developers will need to work on the project to make the outcome as expedient as possible. Rather than having two developers responsible for all areas of the website, it’s more efficient for the developer to be split down the natural divide of creating the UI and crafting the server-side functionality. Also, there’s little overlap between these roles, so building up expertise in one area may not be helpful in the other. Concentrating on one helps to build a large pool of knowledge on that particular area, which is more useful on multiple developer projects. Saying that, I’ve never met a developer who doesn’t delve a small amount into their non-speciality, – it’s hard to avoid, and helpful to understand at least the basics to improve communication between the two branches.

Do you need some help with your digital marketing? Get in touch with Mark and the Mobas team for more information about web development or other digital marketing opportunities.

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