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Simplifying the Complexities of Front & Back-end Development

Perhaps you've read about developers and programmers behind the infrastructure of a mobile app. Or maybe you've come across an ad for an online or in-person bootcamp that swears they can teach you the basics of "coding" in just under a month. Nonetheless, I'm here to help simplify any complexities in the world of programming to better assist you in making the most appropriate decisions for your current business needs.

Written by Jordan Russ

It begins with understanding what we call the “bookmarks” of essential programming in today’s development environment are: front-end and back-end languages. The most understandable segway into this world is using a real-life example – in this particular scenario, we’ll go with constructing a brand new house.

Building a house includes two main components

  • The very foundation of that house in terms of physical structure and stability, roofing, etc.
  • The interior design and layout that guests, visitors, potential clients, etc. enjoy once they step inside

The same goes for both front-end and back-end development. Back-end is the infrastructure of your website, mobile or web application. The front-end is everything that “visitor” experiences once they open and explore the app.

Front-end

Everything you’re seeing on this website right now was made possible by a front-end developer. Consider the fact that a designer curated the logo and graphics,  a photographer took the pictures,  and a Talos blog contributor wrote the text. This all feeds into the front-end developer who then assembles these assets and translates them into an experience you can enjoy through a number of different platforms and languages. When searching for skilled front-end developers, your starting point should hinge on their familiarity with HTML, CSS & Javascript which, to this day, remain imperative pillars in this field.

Back-end

Now comes the question of back-end development. The most effective way to think about back-end development is simply asking the question: Where is all that data stored?

Take a website for exemple: the back-end infrastructure of a website consists of a server, an application, and a database. A skilled back-end developer is responsible for building and maintaining the technology that powers those components.

In order to make these components communicate with one another,  back-end developers may use programming languages like PHP, Python, or Java which provide the “building blocks” to the applications’ very existence. Think of this like the actual concrete and bricks that hold the new house together.  Tools like MySQL are used as query languages, allowing data to be manipulated accordingly whether that be with saving, editing, and adding new pieces of data into an already existing database. Think of this like the power running through your new house, allowing you to switch on lights, turn on ovens, and charge your outlets.

Think about it like this:  when you navigated to this website, Talos servers sent information to your computer or mobile device, which then turned into the page you’re seeing right now. That process is the result of a back-end developer’s work. In addition, if you were to enroll in a Talos marketing mailing list or fill out contact information on one of our website pop-up forms, the storage of your name, email, and general inquiry information would also fall on the back-end developer to ensure its saved and used in conjunction with an email campaign or membership login.

What is a “stack?”

Across engineering teams at large corporations to the very smallest start up, “full-stack” developers seem to be in the most demand and it’s easy to see why:  the idea is that a full stack developer can work cross-functionally on both front-end and back-end technology.

You can be good at cooking or good at baking, but mastering both takes time and experience. This is more than just following a recipe – anybody can go along with a step-by-step guide. The same goes full-stack development:  taking both skill sets and being able to utilize them in a way that brings immediate value to the programming and deployment of an eventual application and/or website. 

Finding these superstars can be tedious and expensive, and a large majority of freelance programmers are known to mislead prospective clients with the “full-stack” label when they only have familiarity with one piece of the puzzle. Even worse, some may only know little about both platforms which can jeopardize the very integrity of the data you’re working with, not to mention the essential stability of your app and corresponding APIs.

This is where nearshore firms are vital in the search for app and website development & design.

Nearshore Development Firms

Searching for a full-stack developer comes with tons of inefficiencies. Whether they’re based in Estonia or Pakistan working on an opposite time-zone, or possibly a language barrier which results in task redundancies or just overall miscommunication, issues will arise inevitably. So, we know there’s a problem here..is there a solution?

Development firms, specifically those nearshore to accommodate companies born and bred in the United States, are a no-brainer when it comes to beginning your development journey.

Not only do nearshore firms work in the same time zone, they’re native language is English. This removes any possible language barrier while ensuring the individuals you work with are up and working just like you are. More importantly, firms are exactly that: teams.

Skilled front and back-end developers. Versatile designers. Looking for that “full-stack” developer? Rather, look for a full-stack product director who knows programming languages, what they can do, why they’re important to specific products, where to aggregate programmers, and perhaps most importantly, act as a communication bridge between the leadership team and developers.

Conclusion

Take a stroll through UpWork. Check out the freelance market for developers and explore the needs and necessities of companies in similar positions to your own. There are plenty of individual programmers ready for work and ready to provide you with a product all within a budget of your choosing – but this begs the question: what kind of product are you looking to build?

  • One that saves you a few bucks off the top to develop?
  • Can you ensure the product has stable backend infrastructure? What happens if things go down?
  • Where will you place your source-code and repository?
  • Will your freelance developer continue to support your product at no additional cost?
  • Will you use your own servers or implement AWS or another cloud-hosted dev framework?
  • Have you contracted out all necessary legal documents for exclusivity and intellectual property?

Outsourcing your work comes with the above questions, and that’s just a small fraction of what you’ll need to be thinking about.  InSourcing your ideas to a nearshore development firm takes care of the uncertainty that comes with deploying an app or website. Starting with the very first discovery scope call, to the UX wireframes and preliminary documentation, and finally,  to it’s official beta launch.