Front-end vs back-end development
We have already established the fact that web design and development as a profession overwhelmed by field specific expressions and abbreviations. That makes it hard to understand for untrained minds, like mine. Today, I have added another jargon to the list of words to be decoded: front-end vs back-end development.
There is a great deal of argument on the internet about where the border between the two exactly lies. But let’s be honest, from a user point of view, it is totally irrelevant. It’s needless to get into a discussion whether using PHP is front-end or back-end job, because it only matters to the experts. As a visitor or potential customer who doesn’t even know what PHP is, the only answer significant is the one, telling me who makes me a website from scratch to launch?
A quick side note here: “PHP is a server-side scripting language designed for web development but also used as a general-purpose programming language.” Like I said, I don’t need to know that.
Who is doing what?
Creating a custom website is a complex process, so I break it down through a metaphor for building a car. Not like I am a petrol head, but this is the most illustrative interpretation I’ve ever heard…and understand.
Web designer: draws the design of the car on a paper or even creates a mock-up (in our case mostly in Photoshop). The result is the visual appearance of the car in a scale-model. You cannot drive it or use it, but you can hang it on the wall.
Front-end developer: builds the empty frame of the car including the bodywork, interior design, windshield and windows. Although, even the seats are in the car now and it looks beautiful, you still cannot drive it, because the engine is missing.
Back-end developer: is the engine man. She or he builds the engine up along with all the components required to add it to the car (battery, exhaust etc.) in order to fire it up. Now, the car is ready and you can drive it.
At the first glance, it might seem that you need to hunt down and hire 3 different professionals, but thankfully this is not the case. Most of the web designers today are front-end developers as well, covering the first two phases by themselves and sometimes even having knowledge of certain back-end tasks due to overlaps. Also, front-end and back-end development are entwined, cannot exist without each other, hence every expert has an extended network of developers who help them out in case the project requires different expertise.
Who you gonna call? (Sorry, just couldn’t resist)
You can look for freelance web designers or front-end developers, they will make it happen. There are web design and development agencies, where all the phases of the website creating is provided in-house, like at TACO Studio. You need to find the approach suits your needs the best and make you feel comfortable all along the process. I am certainly a big advocate of full, in-house services, that’s why TACO was founded. Nothing can beat the spa feeling to me, the feeling of everything taken care of without me worrying about who is doing what.
Which way you prefer, freelancers or agencies?