It’s all about the right backbone for your project.
By selecting the right framework, building software is much less of pain, especially in the long run. That includes scalability, speed of development, how bug-prone it’ll be, how secure, what kind of integrations you can do, and so on. Frameworks that provide these advantages tend to be the most popular, widely used, and highly appreciated among developers. Duh!
If you are to use a no-code platform like Directual, however, you don’t need to think about all this at all, but that’s not the story right now.
This article will help you take a deep dive into why some of the most popular backend frameworks perform well. Let’s take a look-sie.
A backend framework is a crucial component of any web app, as it helps handle the heavy lifting of processing data and communicating with other systems. With so many options out there, it can be tough to decide which one to use. So, let's break down some key factors and see where we land.
This is a big one, especially if you're working on a project you hope will grow over time. You need a backend framework that can handle an increasing amount of traffic and data without slowing down or crashing.
There are a few things to look for here.
N.B. Learn more about scalability of the no-code.
This might not seem like the most important factor, but it can actually have a big impact on your development time and the overall quality of your code. A framework that's intuitive and well-documented can save you a lot of headaches down the line.
You don't want to spend hours poring over confusing documentation or wrestling with a difficult API. Some frameworks, like Flask and Express.js, are as simple as they get, while others, like Laravel and Django, offer more features but may have a steeper learning curve.
Things will come to a screeching halt, and all the documentation in the world won’t be enough. Who do you turn to? Definitely not Batman. After all, a backend framework is only as good as the people who use it, and a strong community can provide invaluable resources and support.
Look for a framework with an active community that's constantly developing new features, fixing bugs, and offering guidance to newcomers. This can make all the difference when you're stuck on a problem or need help optimizing your code. Some popular frameworks with large and active communities include React, Ruby on Rails, and Laravel.
This is an important factor if you're already familiar with a particular programming language. You don't want to have to learn a new language just to use a particular framework, especially if you're working on a tight deadline.
Make sure the framework you choose is compatible with the language you're most comfortable with. Some frameworks, like Flask and Express.js, are language-agnostic and can be used with a variety of languages. Others, like Django and Ruby on Rails, are designed specifically for certain languages, so take that into account too.
Enough faff, let’s analyze each and every single one of them.
It’s popular mainly due to its unique architecture. NodeJS uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that allows it to handle a large number of simultaneous connections with ease. This means that NodeJS applications are incredibly scalable and can handle high-traffic loads without slowing down.
But that's not all. NodeJS also has a vast ecosystem of packages and modules, thanks to its package manager, npm. There are over one million packages available. It really helps to find and use third-party code when you need it.
There’s a cool story to it! Ryan Dahl, the creator of NodeJS, was frustrated with the limitations of traditional web servers and wanted to create a new way of building high-performance web applications. He managed—by drawing inspiration from his experience with event-driven I/O systems like Ruby's EventMachine and built NodeJS from scratch. Now that I re-read this, it’s kinda underwhelming. Oh well!
Django uses a model-view-template (MVT) paradigm that keeps your code logically organized into layers. In other words, Django handles many of the controller aspects of the model, leaving the specification of data view and presentation templates to you.
Django is a "batteries-included" framework. That means it includes most of the libraries and tools needed to build common web applications out of the box. And, Django's philosophy is to manage the data model in one location, namely your models.py file. Once the database is created and a connection established, everything should be already done in Django, including schema updates and data migration, to avoid conflicts later. Neat!
With Django, you can easily…
And, if you prefer an all-in-one framework with a trusted built-in ORM for working with relational data, then Django is the way to go. Plus, Python is the most in-demand programming language, which means Django has a strong community of passionate developers that can be a resource while building your project. It's no wonder it’s popular, despite heavy competition.
Ruby on Rails, a web framework that's been around since 2004. It's been used by many successful startups, including Basecamp, GitHub, and Airbnb.
One of the standout features of Ruby on Rails is the Model-View-Controller (MVC) paradigm it uses. This helps keep the code organized without too much hassle. And with default structures for a database, web service, and web pages, Rails takes care of the heavy lifting, so you can focus on what matters most: building awesome web apps.
Ruby is an easy language to learn, so Rails can be a great framework for beginners. Plus, Rails includes tools that make common development tasks easier, which makes it ideal for prototyping.
However, Ruby can perform slower than other languages like Java or Python and their respective frameworks Spring, Django, and Flask. As companies scale, they may migrate to systems that run on higher-performing languages. Just keep that in mind.
Laravel is a PHP framework also with the model–view–controller (MVC) pattern. PHP may not be the most in-demand programming language these days, but it still powers nearly 80% of all websites.
This framework provides many features including user authentication, API routing, HTML templating, database access, and security. Laravel is also a progressive framework, meaning you can start with simple routes to individual RESTful URLs and scale up to a fully data-driven app using the same tools. It’s a great boon all on its own.
Laravel also handles cross-site request forgery protection through session tokens and user authentication—and—authorization using a gate and policy approach. Data encryption is provided as part of the framework, very nice!
Since PHP has been around almost as long as the web, you can leverage that knowledge and community support base, too. Modern web app features are built right into Laravel—configurations are less of a pain. Plus, installing Laravel is easy with Sail, a Docker-based installation that you can customize.
Did you know that ASP.NET Core is actually the next generation and replacement for the Windows-only versions of its predecessor, ASP.NET? It's true!
One of the great things about ASP.NET Core is that it's an open-source, cross-platform framework that can run on macOS, Linux, and Windows. That means it's flexible and can work with a wide range of operating systems.
Let's take a closer look at some of the features:
In general, this framework is hyper-focused on performance and is faster than other web frameworks like Node.js. It also supports side-by-side versioning, which means that various apps running different versions of ASP.NET Core can coexist on a single server. Perfect for managing multiple apps on the same machine.
Java developers know that building complex, dynamic web apps can be a real challenge. But with Spring, they can develop web applications like a breeze. Spring is known as a "framework of frameworks," which means it has many different modules that developers can pick and choose from. These modules include Spring Web, Spring Security, Spring Data, Spring Cache, and much more!
And that's not all. Spring Boot, which is part of the Spring Framework, takes things to the next level. It makes building stand-alone web apps and microservices way easier. Spring Boot takes care of all the boilerplate code and configurations, and it supports many different Java Virtual Machine (JVM) technologies, such as Kotlin, Groovy, and Scala.
Spring Boot is an "opinionated" framework, which means it has a strong preference for certain design patterns. In other words, Spring Boot decides the configuration defaults and the packages to install based on the dependencies you include in your project requirements. Less time configuring, and more time building as a result.
Now, let's talk about features.
Spring is the most popular backend framework by a long-shot. In fact, it has twice as many GitHub repository results as the #2 most popular backend framework – Django. And since Java is consistently one of the most in-demand programming languages worldwide, using Spring means you'll have a strong community of developers around you and plenty of job opportunities.
But that's not all. Spring also makes building professional-grade Java applications smooth and easy. It takes care of tedious tasks like authentication, database management, aspect-oriented programming, interacting with cloud services, and much more.
Flask offers a different approach than its counterpart, Django, which follows a "batteries included" philosophy, but Flask keeps the core of a web app simple and extensible.
Installing Flask is quite easy. Flask brings all the required dependencies upon install. These include:
You can also find many other extensions to provide additional functionality, such as Flask-SQLAlchemy for SQL database connections, Flask-WTF for HTML form rendering and validation with WTForms, and Bootstrap-Flask for helpful Jinja macros.
In general, Flask keeps things simple and helps reduce the size of your project. If you prefer to use a non-relational database such as mongoDB, or a third-party ORM, Flask is easier to configure and customize. Flask is a smaller and lighter framework than Django, but you can extend it as needed to provide all the capabilities you need.
Flask works well with existing Python frameworks for data access and security, meaning you can use familiar tools to get the job done. Finally, by allowing you to choose the exact tools you want to use, Flask makes it easy to develop completely new features.
Express.js, in particular, is built on top of Node.js and provides a minimalist approach to web development. It's an unopinionated framework, which means developers have the freedom to structure their code according to their preference, rather than adhering to a predefined structure.
Express.js also has a built-in debugging mechanism that can quickly find bugs within the application, thus helping you hunt down pesky bugs faster.
One of the great things about Next.js is that it provides additional structure, including routing and data fetching. With two forms of pre-rendering available, static generation and server-side rendering, Next.js can generate HTML for a page in advance, which improves site performance and can boost your SEO ranking.
But wait, there's more! Thanks to its minimalistic nature and out-of-the-box components, Next.js is perfect for creating a minimal viable product (MVP) fast. It’s just good, not much else to tell.
NestJS is built for developers who want to create web apps in the Node.js environment, and it's built on top of the popular ExpressJS framework. Hence the “Nest”, probably.
One of the standout features of NestJS is its ability to bring together key concepts like controllers, providers, and modules. With NestJS, you can easily create a project structure using the Nest CLI, then add controllers to handle incoming requests and providers to handle tasks like data access and input validation.
When it comes to benefits, NestJS offers a lot.
Choosing the right backend framework can make a world of difference when creating an app or website that's robust, secure, and scalable. You'll need to be sure to learn a backend programming language, as well as a backend framework.
Let's talk about some of the best backend frameworks around, based on GitHub repository results.
Remember, when it comes to backend frameworks, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Choose the one that best suits your needs and preferences, and happy coding!
As lame as it sounds, but do choose the one you’ll be sure is enough for your project appetite. Synergize your existing knowledge, and then just try. Getting into trying one doesn’t take a lot of effort, and since you can find a guide on just about anything these days, it won’t be a problem.
If you’d rather not bother and just build stuff, the answer is in the top right corner if your screen - just try Directual. No need for backend frameworks, it’s all there already.
Otherwise, good luck on the path! In case you’d like to learn more about Directual instead, send us a message at email@example.com, or head into our communities, available in the footer below.
Frontend frameworks are used to build the part of a web app that users interact with. These frameworks handle tasks like displaying content, handling user input, and communicating with the backend. Backend frameworks, on the other hand, are used to build the "behind-the-scenes" part of a web app. They handle tasks like managing data, processing requests from the frontend, and communicating with other systems. Don’t forget that you can also apply no-code for building scalable backend for your app.
In theory, yes, you could use multiple backend frameworks for a single project. However, doing so can be complicated and may not be the best approach for most projects. It's typically better to choose one framework that fits the majority of your needs and stick with it.
This is a great question, and the answer largely depends on what you really want to build. A monolithic architecture is a good choice for smaller projects with straightforward needs. It's simpler to set up and manage than a microservices architecture, but can become unwieldy as the project grows. A microservices architecture, on the other hand, is better suited for larger, more complex projects with many different services that need to communicate with each other.
Yes, there are plenty of free resources available to learn these popular backend frameworks! Many of the frameworks themselves offer extensive documentation and tutorials. In addition, there are countless online resources, such as blogs, videos, and online courses, that can help you learn these frameworks.
Choosing an open-source backend framework can have several benefits. For one, open-source frameworks tend to have large and active communities, which means that there are many resources available to help you learn and troubleshoot issues. Open-source frameworks are often more customizable and flexible than closed-source alternatives. However, it's important to note that not all open-source frameworks are created equal, and you should still thoroughly evaluate any framework before using it in a project.
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