Backend vs. frontend: What is the difference?

AuthorMichael Schwenk

What IT professional doesn't know these two terms? Backend and frontend are the elementary basis for millions of people to use and operate software, apps or websites. However naturally the two terms are used in IT parlance, there are enough people for whom the distinction between backend and frontend is not entirely clear. With this blog post, we would like to shed some light onto the subject.

No software, website or app without a backend

To explain the backend vividly, let's introduce ourselves to Raphael. Raphael is a software developer and takes care of the digital presence of his company XY. In addition to the website, an app is  to be developed as well. How it should all look visually in the end is already roughly clear. But before the website and the app are visible and can go online, Raphael takes care of the backend. In other words, everything that the user doesn't necessarily see at the end - the database servers, file access systems, code and so on. Without these IT components, the digital presences of company XY exist only in their dreams.

The frontend: data and co. become visible and usable

After Raphael has put his know-how into the development of the backend, the website and app can finally be made visible to the user. This is about the frontend: every user of a website, app, software or similar sees and operates a frontend. It visualizes what a backend lays the foundation for. Finally, data becomes retrievable, buttons and links navigate websites. In the best case, the frontend is UX-optimized, i.e.: user-friendly and as intuitive as possible. This is where web or UX design comes into play.  

Backend and frontend – always as a team

Once the digital presence of company XY is finally online, the work on the backend and frontend is not yet complete. Here it is necessary to constantly optimize: Should the web design be adapted? Will faster and more secure servers be used from now on? A backend or frontend is never finally completed. Both live and in a certain way with each other, act in a team and condition each other. That's why both topics should always be thought of together if a website, app, software or whatever is to develop its full potential.

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