BLOG 5 Backend Frameworks To Build Your Next Web Application On

5 Backend Frameworks To Build Your Next Web Application On


When Google came up with the crazy idea where an operating system would be a web browser running web applications, industry pundits called it impractical. A few years later and it no longer seemed like a crazy idea as Chromium OS is the most popular desktop operating system after Windows.

Today, your browser is your calculator, file manager, spreadsheet, word processor, CRM, pdf reader, gaming console, and any piece of software you want it to be. Credit goes to the advancing web standards that have blurred the line between native and web applications, as well as fostered the rise of web frameworks to ease web development and the emergence of full-stack development and MEAN stack.

Now let's look at the 5 most used backend frameworks, including the ones used in MEAN stack.


1. Express.js (and MEAN Stack)

Impressed with the performance of the JavaScript engine in Chromium, Ryan Dahl decoupled the JavaScript engine, packed it in a separate package and called it NodeJS. Now, developers can run JavaScript on the server-side as well as the client-side. NodeJS quickly took off opening up a whole ecosystem of JavaScript packages, including Express — the go to framework to develop JavaScript-based applications and one of the components of MEAN stack. MEAN (MongoDB, Express.js, Angular.js, Node.js) is strived to replace LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) as the default stack to web development.

MEAN has various benefits to the latter framework with MongoDB as the database, Express.js as the backend framework, Angular.js as the frontend framework, and Node.js as the runtime environment. Both Angular and Express use JavaScript to code the frontend and backend respectively. You may have the same team taking care of the backend and the frontend, giving way to full-stack development.

Express runs on NodeJS and lets you code the backend part of a web application in JavaScript, allowing web developers to extend their role beyond the web browser. Traditionally, backend development was restricted to a few scripting languages such as PHP, Perl, Python and Ruby while frontend development was into HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. With MEAN stack, JavaScript is at both ends.

In addition to superior rendering time to traditional scripting languages, organizations see end-to-end JavaScript development as a potential cost-cutting measure. By reassigning their existing resources as full-stack developers, it means they have to do fewer hires.

Although MEAN stack is catching up fast, a majority of development still happens on the LAMP stack and PHP frameworks play a larger part than ever. Laravel is without a doubt the best PHP framework around.


2. Laravel

Before Laravel came in, much of the PHP development revolved around another PHP framework called CodeIgniter. CodeIgniter was an excellent backend framework but had a couple of shortcomings. It lacked support for authentication and authorization, meaning developers had to look elsewhere to add the support. Third-party plugins weren’t reliable and would often break to version changes and were a security nightmare down the line.

Laravel supports authentication and authorization from day one and has been MVC-compliant since version 2.

Backend developers appreciate Laravel for its built-in support for IoC, the Blade templating engine, Artisan CLI, database migration, Bundle packaging system, Composer application-level package manager, Scheduler, Flysystem remote file manager, Elixir packaged assets handler, and excellent documentation to go with it.

Laravel 4 was a complete rewrite of the original Laravel architecture, switching to a completely modular design with each module available as a separate package distributed via Composer.

At version 8, Laravel continues to be the favorite of the larger PHP community.


3. Ruby on Rails (RoR)

Its success can be looked at in 2 ways. Did Ruby grow in popularity because of the sheer versatility it brought to web development, or did people simply move to Ruby because of the sheer simplicity it introduced in comparison to other scripting languages at that time?

Often simplified as Ruby and referred to as the Grand Old Framework (GOF), RoR was introduced in 2004 at the height of the browser crisis to promote common web standards such as JSON or XML for data transfer and HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for user interfacing.

Some of the features RoR introduced were revolutionary of its time. Features such as seamless database table creations, migrations, and scaffolding of views were unheard of in the earlier versions of web frameworks.

Modern web frameworks from other languages are inspired by RoR, including Django (Python), Catalyst (Perl), Play (Scala), and Sail.js (Node.js).

Ruby is a model–view–controller (MVC) framework, providing default structures for a database, web service, and web pages. Despite the emergence of modern backend frameworks, a subset of developers still prefer RoR for database-driven web apps.

Developers prefer Ruby because of its flat learning curve. Ruby’s scaffolding feature makes building a basic web interface with models and views a one step process.

Ruby offers a simple Ruby web server called RoR, they provide a basic environment for web development.


4. Django

In the early 2000s, when the internet became too big to ignore, people started looking online for information, news, and entertainment. The print media wanted to step in but had no idea how to. They had the content but no knowledge of how to put it online, which is why they started hiring IT people.

A group of Python developers working on one of these projects realized that most of the websites these magazines and newspapers were putting together shared a lot of common elements. The idea was to put the common elements together in a generic web framework called Django and make it available to everyone for free.

Django quickly gained adoption outside its target users due to how easily it created complex, database-driven websites in a small amount of time. The popularity of Python also played a crucial role in its widespread adoption.

Django is now a thriving, collaborative open-source project that has thousands of users and contributors. Whilst it still has some features that reflect its origin, it’s has evolved into a versatile framework that’s capable of developing any type of website.


5. ASP.NET Core

Ever heard of Microsoft ASP.NET? Well, ASP.NET Core is its successor. It’s an open-source version of ASP.NET that runs on macOS, Linux, and Windows. ASP.NET Core was first released in 2016 and is a re-design of the earlier Windows-only versions of ASP.NET.

ASP.NET is a popular web-development framework for building web apps on the .NET platform. ASP.NET Core is designed to allow runtime components, APIs, compilers, and languages evolve quickly whilst still providing a stable and supported platform to keep apps running.  ASP.NET has come a long way from its Windows roots, ASP.NET Core has a compatibility layer that can develop cross-platform applications from a common codebase. ASP.NET Core brings all the benefits of ASP.NET to multiple platforms.

ASP.NET Core also follows Microsoft’s change of mindset towards open-source technologies. A part of ASP.NET Core’s source code is available for anyone to download on GitHub and Microsoft is adding more libraries to its open-source stack. With ASP.NET Core, Microsoft is also renewing its efforts towards web development and have come to terms with open web standards. With Azure, developers can pretty much develop applications in the cloud to begin with.

Rare Crew is a leading ASP.NET developer. When collaborating with Rare Crew, you can choose skilled ASP.NET developers from our teams to work on your project.


Read on: 5 Frontend Frameworks To Build Your Next Web Application On


Choosing the best backend framework means taking many things into consideration

While frontend frameworks are a topic of extended discussions in the web community, the discussions around backend frameworks have taken a backseat, with the exception of Express.js. No doubt, Express is a fascinating, versatile framework to build lightweight web applications on. A major credit goes to the growing popularity of MEAN stack over traditional applications stacks like LAMP.

Yet a majority of applications are still built-in conventional scripting languages like PHP, Python, Ruby and .NET and these backend frameworks play a large part in their development.


Rare Crew is a leading IT consulting and outsourcing firm that specializes in building web applications using MEAN stack. Get in touch and find skilled professionals for your next project.



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