Backend technologies are more important today in the development of software projects than ever before, and their importance keeps on increasing with each passing day. Whether it is a startup, or a big corporate, the key to determining your project’s success lies in selecting the right backend technology. Of course, it is true that well-chosen backend technology guarantees functioning ability and scalability, it is always a challenging task to pick the right option that best suits you, especially for a non-programmer.
Best Backend Language and Framework for web development
PHP is the most popular for backend web developments according to most developers. It has an edge over other languages since it is already preinstalled in almost all hosting services.
According to a survey of W3Techs, around 79.1% of websites use PHP as a server-side technology. To add to its list of pros, its syntax is similar to C and Java, so programmers are familiar with learning PHP.
Its frameworks are Zend Framework (which is open-source as Laminas Project), Symfony, Cake PHP, and Lavarel. Websites like Yahoo, WordPress, and Wikipedia are among the list of popular websites using PHP.
Python’s main advantage over all other backend languages is that it has the simplest syntax. According to the 2020 Developer Survey of Stack Overflow, Python is the top backend technology that developers want to learn, not to mention it is the fourth year in a row that Python has held its streak. Although this means it takes a little more time for the compiler to execute it, but it is the best language to learn programming.
It is also one of the most popular languages for backend development and even Google uses it to develop their services. Apart from Google, Instagram and Spotify are among the best in the field that also uses Python for their backend services. Its popular frameworks include Django, Flask, and CherryPy.
Ruby is best described by its slogan, ‘A programmer’s best friend’. It mainly focuses on productivity and simplicity, while keeping an elegant syntax. But the best and most interesting thing about Ruby is its community.
There are a ton of libraries, popularly known as gems, that developers can use in their projects, thus adding pace to their work. Adding to the functionality of gems, they are constantly improved and very well maintained which makes them more efficient. Also, compared to other backend technologies, Ruby takes 40% less time to develop code, thus saving a lot of time.
It also backs metaprogramming, which is essentially when the developer scripts code in Ruby and the program presents the other code by itself. With so many other flexible tools, for instance, introspection, macros, and ghost methods, it makes writing short script minutes, if not less.
Popular websites like GitHub, Zendesk, and Basecamp use Ruby for their backend development. Ruby on Rails, Sinatra, and Padrino are among the most popular Ruby frameworks.
DATABASE MANAGEMENT SYSYTEM (DBMS)
Although it has been pretty long since MySQL has been in the tech world, it continues to dominate as the most popular DBMS for websites. It is usually used in PHP to make the complete backend database part of a website. Though it started as a fast and stripped-down tool, it continued adding more and more features until it became a complete solution.
However, in the Ruby on Rails community, there is a popular alternative known as PostgreSQL, which is very powerful and is an open-source DBMS having additional features like a messaging system and full-text search which make it more popular and much more interesting.
CACHING AND KEY-VALUE STORES
Avoiding premature optimization is a good practice, so the application gets done in the least time possible, but as the traffic to the website increases, optimizing the code becomes an important task. An alternative when more optimizations are not possible, caching is the solution.
For this specific task, the king is Memcached. Information in it is stored like a dictionary in the form of a key value. But the cons of caching include when the process gets killed.
In that case, the cache would have to be created from scratch again. But an alternative to that is Redis, which works almost in the exact same way, except that it stores the information on disk so it can be re-established if the process is restarted.
When we speak of searching the information efficiently to avoid slowing down the server that is where we will need a search engine. It helps in analyzing the information which is to be available to search, and it also stores this in files with an index to be located as fast as possible.
Indexing the information can be done in a ton of ways, for instance – as soon as it is generated or it can be done programmatically at given times. The approach to indexing completely depends on the nature of the project we are working on.
But the most classic example of a search engine is Apache Lucene. Apart from indexing information, it has an edge over other search engines since it can also index documents like PDFs. Though it can be used independently, there are other tools that are based on it, which provides more features, for example, Apache Solr and Elasticsearch. A very popular alternative to Apace Lucene is Sphinx.
Let us assume that there is a situation where the user signs up and the application needs to send a confirmation email. In the case of just a single sign-up, it is simple since it will take some seconds at maximum. But imagine there are lots of sign-ups and a lot of emails.
This can lead to clogging and will take a lot of time. But the best way to solve this issue is to queue this task so it can be completed later and the user is provided with immediate feedback. Like a page can be displayed that says that a confirmation email has been sent, although, in reality, it can take some time. This process is known as an asynchronous task. Ruby on Rails can be used with Delayed::Job. Although it is very complete, it lacks a graphical interface to see the queue and failing tasks, so it is a bit inconvenient.
The most popular one is Sidekiq. It works on Redis and provides a graphical interface control. It gives detailed information on which tasks failed and the number of attempts for each one.
The community and large libraries make backend development convenient than ever before. There are a lot of responsibilities and areas to cover, and knowing all of them, we can make our work easier and helps us to achieve the most important goal – developing a strong and user-friendly custom and unique application from scratch.
What would you like to work with as a backend developer?