Is Backend really more complicated than Frontend ?

Is Backend really more complicated than Frontend ?

If you think that:

“Backend Web Development is far more complicated than Frontend Web Development”,

then I have to ask you:

- Have you ever used Angular !?

or any other JS framework for that matter...

Frontend development has become increasingly complex in recent years for several reasons. One of the main reasons is the rapid advancement of technology and the increasing complexity of web applications. As users' expectations for web applications have grown, so have the features and functionality that developers need to provide. Additionally, the rise of mobile devices has led to the need for responsive design and the ability to support a wide range of screen sizes and resolutions.

Another reason is the introduction of new technologies and frameworks like Angular, React and Vue.js, which aims to improve the development process and make it more efficient, but it also introduces new concepts and methodologies that developers need to learn.

Furthermore, the use of single page applications (SPA) has become more popular which allows for faster and more dynamic web experiences, but it also increases the complexity of the frontend code and the need for advanced logic handling methods.

The increased complexity of frontend development is also driven by the need for better performance, security, accessibility and SEO. It requires developers to have more knowledge and skills to optimize the application and keep it up to date with the latest web standards and best practices.

You may hear people say -

"Well at the end of the day, it is all JavaScript"

To which I say - yes, but also no...

While frameworks such as Angular, can make JavaScript development more practical and enjoyable, many of them also introduce new challenges, such as the use of TypeScript and advanced logic handling methods, such as routing, change detection, lifecycle hooks and structural directives. These features may be unfamiliar to older generations of developers.

JavaScript frameworks are like a dialect of JS, they are an addition to JS. You cannot expect a regular vanilla JS developer to just be able to pick up any framework or all frameworks and be fluent from day one. There is a learning curve, there is a lot of syntax to get familiar with.

That is why, when I hear this sentence - I know that most of the time it is coming from people who have very little or no experience with JS frameworks.

Aspects and steps involved in backend development

Looking at the backend development - the focus is often on security and data population. Once the specific rules are set and data is populated, the developer's job is largely done.

Let's explore the main aspects of backend development and the steps that are typically involved:

ASPECTSteps Involved
Logic1. Data sorting/population
2. Endpoint creation
3. Security layer for data leaks or breaches

More often than not - once those steps are completed the job of the backend developer is done.

Aspects and steps involved in frontend development

Frontend development has to cover the following aspects and the associated steps that are often involved:

Logic1. Collecting data from the backend via HTTP requests
2. Mapping the data into a usable format
3. Security layer for user input
4. Collecting and validating user input
5. Transforming the data to match the backend format
6. Sending that data back to the backend via HTTP requests
Visual7. Building the entire UI / UX
8. Arranging and styling the data to make it user-friendly
9. Adding accessibility
10. Responsive design

Concluding that

The backend has one aspect to deal with – LOGIC.

In contrast, the frontend involves two aspects – a lot of LOGIC and the whole VISUAL aspect of creating a user-friendly and modern visual presentation. And there are a lot of steps involved in each of these two aspects, which makes it abundantly clear that frontend is more complex.

Also - things are frequently changing on the frontend, there are new and new JS frameworks, there are new styling rules that replace the old ones in CSS, there are more semantic element tags being added to the HTML. So most frontend developers need to devote time to updating their knowledge to stay current and relevant, while in the backend - being a single aspect field - there are no such concerns and things remain the same for quite a long time.

It's important to recognize that frontend development is not easy and should not be treated as such. Companies and individuals should not underestimate the complexity and importance of frontend development. It's time to give frontend developers the respect and recognition they deserve.