In Pursuit of Digital Transformation - Benefits and Strategy

How to choose back-end technologies for your business application

Front-end and backend technologies are common terminology in the IT industry. They define the various technology components of a business application relative to the end-user of the application. The front-end refers to the GUI of the application which the end-user interacts with in order to provide inputs, obtain information, or trigger some transactions. Think of it as the front-office of your application. The back-end refers to various components and how they collaborate with each other in order to help the front-end function seamlessly. Think of it as the back-office of the application. Aloha Technology offers cutting-edge back-end technology solutions for businesses.

So what is the back-end made up of?

While the back-end can vary slightly depending on the purpose and technology environment of the application, for most web-based applications, the back-end is made up of 3 components.

  • A database server: As the name implies, the database server consists of programs that help search, find, save and manipulate data that is stored in the databases. Some of the common examples are Informix, DB2, Oracle (the largest of them all) and Oracle’s closest competitor – Microsoft SQL Server.
  • An application server: The application server acts as the hub holding all the components of the business application together. It enables and manages transactions related to the business application, interactions with the web, network services and interacting with the database server. Apache Tomcat, Internet Information Server and IBM Websphere.
  • Server-side programming languages: These are languages required for the above two servers to communicate seamlessly with each other and rest of the technology environment. The most popular among them are PHP, ASP.Net, Ruby on Rails, Python and Java.

Choosing the right backend technology

Choosing the most suitable application and database servers for your business need is a complex decision, and will be covered separately. Businesses can talk to Aloha Technology to get a clear idea of how back-end solutions can streamline businesses better. This section however, will focus on choosing the most suitable programming languages.

This decision is driven by few major factors:

  • Business need or domain: For most commercial web-applications, .NET is the preferred programming environment, while for apps that require heavy data processing, Python is preferred. For large-scale B2B applications, where security is a priority, Java is preferred.
  • Ecosystem: The local markets must have the desired number and quality of programmers in the languages that you prefer. Else, it can be a costly proposition, in which case, the choice of language must change. With leading ISV services providers like Aloha Technology, this skills-related issue curtailed as its employees are skilled in all programming languages.
  • Cloud or on-premise hosting: While legacy languages that have clear structures and formats for coding are safer, and preferred for on-premise applications, apps built using them take longer to develop or modify. In contrast, cloud-hosting services such as AWS provide a robust development environment that helps programmers exploit the speed and flexibility of new-age programming languages.
  • Characteristics of the language: Each language has its own strengths and drawbacks technically speaking. Then there is the availability of support, documentation, communities and ecosystems – all of which are important while making a decision.

Popular programming languages

  • ASP.Net: A closed ecosystem controlled by Microsoft. Programmers can write code in VB.Net, C#, Jscript, Python or Ruby.
  • PHP: Used by the likes of Facebook, WordPress and Flickr, but lacks the coding standards of languages like Python which can result in messy code.
  • Python: An open-source language, Python offers ease of reading code, writing concise code and comprehensive libraries. Django, a framework built using Python is used by the likes of Instagram and Pinterest.
  • Ruby: Dynamic and object-oriented, Ruby is very popular with DevOps frameworks such as Puppet and Chef.
  • Java: Legacy, yet highly reliable where the transaction architecture is complex. Is also required where Android apps or devices must interact with the application

Conclusion

The choice of back-end technologies is a complex decision that is best left to experts. At Aloha Technology, we have a mature process to handle this and we can help you make the right choices thus allowing you to invest in the right solution.