What Is the Difference Between Back End, Front End and Full Stack Development?

The professional jargon of the web is rich and although we often try to popularize our words, some small words sometimes slip here and there. This is particularly true of the terms Front End and Back End.

If you have opened big questioning eyes by hearing these words, then this article is made for you! We will indeed highlight the differences between Front End development and Back End development.

Front-End Development

The term “frontend” refers to the elements of a site that we see on the screen and with which we can interact from a browser. Indeed, everything we see on a website, for example, is a combination of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. These programming languages used by the Front-End developer are interpreted by the browser of your computer to display a “visual” result. These include fonts, drop-down menus, buttons, transitions, sliders, contact forms, etc.

The Front-End typically consists of:

  • A design created by a Web designer who creates graphic mock-ups via design tools such as Photoshop or Fireworks.
  • HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQuery code implemented by a Frontend developer.

Now, for the Front-End developer’s work to come to life and for the site to be functional, there are still a few elements missing. This is where the Back End developer comes in!

Back End Development

The “backend” is a bit like the submerged part of an iceberg. We do not see it as a simple Internet user, but it represents a very large part of a web project.

The backend is generally composed of three elements:

  • A server (web hosting)
  • An application (website, administration)
  • A database (sort of spreadsheet to organize data)

Let’s take an example to understand how the Back End works: Let’s imagine that you need to book a flight online for your future vacations. You go to the airline’s website and search for the flight that suits you. Once you have selected the flight, you fill in your personal information and confirm your reservation. Your information is then recorded in a database stored on a server.

All this information remains on the server, so when it’s time for your vacation (2 months later) you connect to the customer area (application) to print your plane tickets and all the information you entered when you made your reservation is available on your account.

The person who manages all this technology is the backend developer. Backend technologies usually consist of languages like PHP, Ruby, Python, etc. To make them even easier to use, they are usually enhanced with Frameworks like Ruby on Rails, Cake PHP, Symfony, and Code Igniter that make development faster and more secure.

More and more developers have both backend and frontend skills. They are called Full Stack developers.

Full Stack Development

The full-stack developer masters the main technologies and the main current programming languages. He is thus able to intervene on the front end as well as on the back end of websites or applications. He can therefore be required to work on very different missions.

The full-stack developer is very much appreciated by start-ups for his varied skills. However, for large-scale projects, it is advisable to call on the specific skills of frontend and backend developers.

To Go Further: Don’t Confuse Front End and Front office Or Back End and Back Office

We regularly see confusion between the terms front end / Front Office and back end / BackOffice.

The Front Office refers to what the Internet user sees when browsing a website.

The BackOffice refers to what the administrator of the site sees when he connects to the administration.

The WordPress CMS is a good example to understand the difference between these different terms. Indeed, it is a web tool based on an open-source framework built in PHP that is installed on a server with a database (Back End). Front End developers customize the look and functionality of WordPress sites using CSS, jQuery and JavaScript. These changes are made primarily from the BackOffice (from the WordPress interface). These modifications are then visible by the Internet users on the Front Office of the site (the website).


Front-End and Back-End developers have complementary profiles that allow their specific skills to carry out large-scale web projects. The full-stack developer is ideal for the creation of websites and small-scale projects.

Enkronos’ expertise

The different types of development described above require specific know-how. To assist you in your project, we invite you to contact Enkronos’ full-stack developers.

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