A backend system refers to any structure or setup that runs and supports corporate back-office applications. Backend systems could take the form of servers, mainframes, and other systems that offer data services. Simply put, they are computers and devices that end-users don’t see since they work in the background. Nevertheless, a backend system plays a critical role in any organization’s operation.
When you think about a backend system doing several things in the background, you might think of a chaotic scene in a fast-food chain’s kitchen. Someone is in charge of preparing the drinks while another operates the fry station. Instead of several pieces of equipment, though, a backend system could include a single computer only.
Separating the frontend from the backend makes everything simpler. After all, you seldom see a waitress prepare the meals that he/she serves.
Read More about a “Backend System”
When you order a product from Amazon, your request goes straight to the e-commerce company’s data warehouse. There, your order is validated and fulfilled. Its backend system also processes payments, checks stock availability, and handles third-party seller queries. It is easy to imagine how online shopping would be severely affected if the backend system doesn’t work.
Amazon’s backend system is called “Amazon Web Services (AWS),” and it also serves other companies apart from Amazon. This division is quite lucrative, surpassing US$10 billion in sales recently.
Companies such as Netflix, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, BBC, and Dropbox use AWS for their backend infrastructure. Among the core services of AWS are:
- Internal messaging
Frontend and Backend Systems: What’s the Difference?
Unlike backend systems, which users don’t see, frontend systems are the parts of information systems (ISs) or computers that they interact with. In other words, the frontend system is what you see, and the backend system is how everything works behind the scenes. Examples of frontend systems include graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and the command line.
Frontend systems that are expected to gain wide market traction in 2020 include:
- Npm: Also known as “Node Package Manager,” is the world’s largest software registry. It offers public and private source code packages for developing frontend mobile and web apps, robots, routers, and other JS code. Developers can share their code and reuse others’ code (even the latest versions) with it.
Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) Solutions in E-Commerce
BaaS solutions enable e-commerce companies to develop web and mobile applications quickly. The backend services covered by BaaS include account management, file storage, social media integration, cloud hosting, push notification handling, and database management.
With BaaS, e-commerce businesses would only need to develop the frontend as the solutions already have pre-written codes. This type of service is relatively new, but there are already a few players in the industry, such as Kinvey, Built.io, Appcelerator, Sencha, and Kii.
Common Backend Platforms in Web Development
In web development, the frontend system takes care of the graphical user interface (GUI) while backend development would handle a software stack that includes the following:
Common platforms that use a complete stack of the above systems include:
1. LAMP Stack
LAMP uses the Linux OS, Apache web server, MySQL database, and the programming languages PHP, Perl, and Python. A LAMP stack is easy to use; even beginners can build web applications with its help. But its most attractive feature is that it’s free and as such, many startups prefer LAMP as it is cost-effective.
2. .NET Stack
.NET stack uses Windows, IIS, SQL Server, and C# or ASP.NET. In contrast to LAMP, which is open source, .NET was developed by Microsoft and was not initially open source. Hence, it was mostly used in enterprise systems. .NET Core can now run on other OSs, too.
3. MEAN Stack
MEAN stack is also an open source web development platform that stands for:
- M – MongoDB
- E – Express.js
- A – Angular.js
- N – Node.js
Separating backend and frontend systems has become a norm, as it makes processes a lot simpler and more organized. On another note, the emergence of AWS and BaaS solutions made backend system management more straightforward. Businesses don’t have to allocate a huge chunk of their budgets to set up backend technologies since cost-effective solutions are available.