Back-end. A Trunk for All Your Data

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The front-end covered the visual, dynamic, and interactive portion of the web development journey, but where is the data stored and transferred? Let’s go behind the client side of the web and dive into the back-end.

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Back-end

The back-end, also known as the server side, is the non-visual, software application where all of the data lives. Behind the application, the back-end interacts with other software components—such as code—that interact with a database, or even other software applications via APIs. For a web application, the back-end responds to a request that can return rendered HTML, as well as database information, depending on the request. All of this interaction happens using the HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP).

Here are some examples of things that happen on the server:

  • Processing credit card payments
  • The processing of form submission when submitting an order to an e-commerce site
  • Storing your tweets/posts/updates so that others can see them
  • Processing your login to a website and showing you personalized pages
  • Transferring funds into your bank account

What is a Back-End Developer?

The role of a back-end developer is to build systems that are efficient and have the ability to support many users while handling increasing amounts of data.

Back-end Developers:

  • Understand the integration of user-facing elements developed by a front-end developer with server side logic
  • Design and implement data storage strategies
  • Implement security and data protection
  • Build reusable code and libraries for future use
  • Optimize the application for maximum speed and scalability
  • Distill complex systems to non-technical management and leadership
  • Are metrics-driven individuals who can measure and understand the performance of their software
  • Create and maintain integration points for third party services

Fitting in the Full Stack

In Galvanize’s Web Development Immersive students learn how to build full stack applications. In the back-end portion of the curriculum, students learn core concepts of back-end development such as:

  • Routing (mapping URLs in a browser to code on the server)
  • Templating (generating dynamic web pages from data in a database)
  • Authentication and authorization (personalizing web pages for users and protecting their data)
  • Consuming APIs (integrating their apps with Facebook for example)
  • Serving APIs (allowing other apps to interact with the apps they build, aka “building web services”)
  • Storing and accessing data in a database using SQL
  • HTTP (how the web works, how to both get data from web apps, and also post data)
  • Deployment (how to get their applications available on the web)
  • Test-driven development (ensuring their applications function as expected)

The program primarily focuses on JavaScript and ExpressJS as the web frameworks, and PostgreSQL as the database, however, students will also be exposed to other server-side frameworks such as Ruby on Rails and MongoDB.

Craving more back-end? Stay tuned, next we will introduce back-end languages and frameworks widely used by developers.

Contributions by Jeff Dean, Director of Web Development at Galvanize, and Andreas Kavountzis, Director of Enterprise Instruction at Galvanize.  

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