Building a website, especially a fully-custom platform, can be challenging. Good teamwork is essential for creating an eye-catching and fully-functioning platform that will be a hit with site visitors later on.
A myriad of things go into exceptional web development, but most experts would agree that frontend and backend development are the two main staples of the entire process. The frontend is the part of the web app users interact with – this is the part that most of us see and engage with whenever we go online and visit a site. The frontend is the “star of the show,” so to say, as it encompasses everything we see online when we navigate: colors, fonts, sliders, dropdown menus, and more.
However, the backend is equally vital, if not more. The backend code is responsible for interacting with the server and delivering the content and the data the site visitors are looking for. A good backend consists of an application, a server, and a database. In this respect, the backend is what breathes life into the frontend. Still, without the latter, the app, the database, and the server wouldn’t be able to make too much sense for the average user.
A good backend is essential if you want to keep your website up and running. That being said, small problems in the development cycle and other errors later on can cause severe problems to your web app, potentially harming your online goals and business efforts.
In this article, we will revisit the importance of a rock-solid backend and talk about a few telltale signs that might indicate problems.
What Is Backend Development?
Before we get started with the most obvious signs of backend-related problems, we must first need to discuss what backend development is.
Backend development basically related to all those program activities that happen in the “back-end.” These functions include server-side web app logic, integration, and other activities like library creation, API-writing, and system components-related work. Instead of focusing on the website visitor (like frontend developers), backend experts write code that allows the databases and the applications to communicate. Backend developers are also responsible for maintaining the site’s backend, like servers, apps, and databases.
As mentioned earlier, the backend has three major components: the server, the database, and the application. In most cases, if a visitor wishes to use the frontend or the interface of the app, they need to log in with their passwords, and the backend is responsible for validating said passwords. Similarly, any other type of information submitted by visitors and site users is saved in the backend of the application.
The backend is also responsible for retrieving these paces of information, passwords, and ID numbers. We can say that the backend is the part of the website that’s in charge of the information trade.
Needless to say, depending on the type of website you are running, a failing database with lost information and login problems can wreak havoc for any business or website owner. Problems with your database can be a clear sign of a failing backend, which, in specific cases, may deem even the entire frontend useless to the user, especially if they can’t even access it.
Nowadays, site owners and large companies alike run a wide range of sites and web apps that function in a range of different environments. Some websites run on an internet server, while others operate entirely within a cloud service. Likewise, there are site owners that choose to run their web applications or certain features of their online arsenal in mixed environments, choosing from different hosting options to take advantage of every potential benefit, enabling them to grow and scale their online presence optimally.
The environment setup can vary from one web application to another. No matter which option you choose, your backend must be fine-tuned to the requirements and specifications of the given environment. As such, if your backend isn’t fully compatible with the domain you are running it, you might face some minor or significant inconveniences down the road.
Software and Business Logic
The backend is the place where business and software logic work their wonders. The business logic is responsible for determining how the data is created, stored, handled, and changed. Also, backend logic is responsible for managing client requests and retrieving the requested data. Handling all logic-related tasks requires the entire backend architecture to run smoothly. Not to mention, it should seamlessly work together with the frontend of the website so that the overall user experience remains impeccable.
If the software logic is compromised for some reason, it can wreak havoc on data management and can potentially ruin the user experience as well.
Overall Site Performance
When it comes to overall site speed and performance, many experts claim that the 80/20 rule applies. More precisely, around 80% of the time, frontend processing is responsible for a website to load fully (and fast), and only 20% is backend processing. That being said, most of the time, frontend optimization will make more sense if you want to achieve the most noticeable UX improvements.
Still, the backend provides utility to frontend performance and breathes life into the functions featured in the frontend. Stunning navigation and an eye-catching design on a website will often fail to get the recognition they deserve if the requested data can’t be retrieved.
On that end, the experience and the knowledge of the backend developer may also impact the overall performance of the backend and the website in total.
As mentioned before, the backend is responsible for making the web app “run properly.” As such, the quality of backend code and architecture plays a vital role in how the site performs. Slow request fetching, frequent site crashes, and compatibility issues can all impair user experience. Not to mention, poor backend code may also increase the risk of unwanted cyber-attacks and malware assaults.
Additionally, developers should also know what kind of backend framework and programming language they should be using for a particular project. There’s a myriad of options regarding backend languages and frameworks, and developers should have the knowledge and expertise to determine which options fit specific projects the most.
As such, a lack of the necessary knowledge from the side of the developer may also lead to a failing backend. However, this shouldn’t be a problem if you work with the right professionals on your web development projects.
Common Mistakes That Lead To Failure
Adding too much technical debt can also lead to problems. Breaking the fundamental coding rules and over-engineering can also impair the site’s performance. Inadequate variables-naming, too long functions, lack of documentation, poor architecture, and too large indentation levels are all capable of negatively affecting the end product.
The problem with these issues is that they are time-consuming, often requiring experts to require a large amount of code. While expertise is essential in web development, over-engineering can lead to a myriad of problems. Most of the time, the most straightforward methods are also the most reliable.
Skipping Level Testing
Another issue that can lead to backend failure in time is skipping the implementation of proper testing protocols at each level of the development cycle. Coding shouldn’t be challenging to maintain, and sufficient pyramid testing should be performed at each stop to ensure that. When experts fail to perform the proper testing, bugs are prone to haunt the final product, which can potentially harm user experience and even short- and long-term business goals.
For impeccable results, a test-driven approach should be implemented.
Poor Static Code Analysis
General code maintenance can become rather difficult without performing the proper, pertaining static code analysis, especially handling edge case-related problems. Reviewing units before merging them is essential. Also, developers should avoid pushing code to default branches without the proper TSLint or ESLint testing.
Forgetting to Back Up the Production Database Automatically
An accounted bugs or manual errors may compromise the production database. Some information might get deleted or produce unheard results. As such, automatic backups are a must, is without them, it can get impossible to fully recover the entire database.
Never Neglect Your Backend
Proper backend development service is crucial to running a website that performs and delivers. While having a stellar frontend is imperative for ease of use, a good backend will only improve the user experience and ensure that the web app’s functions and features perform as they should.
From this article, it’s clear that avoiding a failing backend starts with working with the right experts who have the necessary skills and experience to create a stable architecture and write great code. Just like the foundation of a house, the backend is the sole base of a website and should be developed with care and knowledge.