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Front or Backend?

Getting to grips with the Frontend and Backend of a website

On a day to day basis, knowing your Backend from your Frontend may not cause you grief. Understanding how and where they are different however, does make some of those conversations where the terms are bandied around a bit easier to understand.

If you think of the process of a building a website like the design and engineering of a car, the frontend developer would be in charge of the physical design of the vehicle, and the backend developer would be responsible for designing things like the engine, transmission, and cooling systems – the stuff that makes the car move and function.

The ‘frontend’ is the most visible graphic layer that is presented to the user of the software, and usually describes the on-screen appearance of the software that the user interacts with. 

Frontend web developers work on the graphical interface of a website or app that the end user interacts with. Some of the most common tools for frontend development include​​ GitHub, jQuery Sass, CodePen and Angular.js …but there are many more. 

Effective frontend development will successfully optimise the physical appearance, interactivity, and information layout of a website or app so it not only looks good, but is also easy, intuitive and enjoyable to use. 


Software engineers refer to the layer of a piece of software through which its data is accessed and controlled as the ‘backend’. In Content Management Systems, the backend often refers to the layer of the software that is used by the administrator of the system.  

Backend-focussed software engineering is often the most technical part of website and app development, using compiled code for .NET solutions,  database administration, software architecture and backup technology to ensure the software works optimally.  It is worth noting that whilst frontend and backend developers might be working on the same piece of software, the skills and knowledge required for each area are considerably different. 

At Modular we believe anyone can understand how websites, apps, and other digital technologies work if we talk about tech in plain English. The core technologies that underpin the World Wide Web can actually be quite fascinating if we switch off the jargon, grab a cup of coffee, and take a closer look.  

If you need some jargon busted or need a bit of advice, feel free to give me a buzz and pick my brains on 07584 652854 or drop me an email

Good relationships always start with a call : )

Written by Emma Millington, Head of Customer Relations

Emma Millington

Emma Millington

Head of Customer Relations - Passionate about demystifying tech so we can all speak the same language

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