The concept of digital transformation today touches every organization irrespective of their industry vertical or functional expertise. The digital presence of a company is driven by digital transformation as it helps meet the evolving customer expectations. Digital presence means the way in which a company appears online, be it through a website or a mobile application.
Around a decade ago, digital presence of a company was confined to a static website or a PHP web application built on the much popular LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) stack. But not anymore! With the advent of frameworks and APIs the standards of web development have risen over the years. Frameworks have now become an essential part of web development for building rich and interactive web applications. A variety of frameworks are available for both frontend (client-side) and backend (server-side) web development.
Backend frameworks are libraries of server-side programming languages that help build the backend structure of a website. Backend frameworks provide ready-made components for developing a dynamic web application. Using frameworks gives a head-start to the developers by eliminating the need to build and configure everything from the ground up.
What Comprises a Quintessential Backend Web Development Framework?
Although there are a number of benchmarks for rating a framework such as the coding tools, the languages it supports, and the interfaces it offers, the basis for ranking a framework, above all, should be versatility. A truly versatile framework is based on powerful and expressive languages and enables developers to build any kind of web application or APIs including single page applications (SPAs).
Top 7 Backend Web Development Frameworks in 2020
Since backend frameworks are written in a variety of languages such as Python, PHP, Ruby, and Java among others, and have different features, the choice of the appropriate backend web development framework largely hinges on the features required in the application. Here are the top 7 backend web development frameworks that have been popular among the developers’ community in 2020.
- Laravel and Laravel Lumen
Initially launched in 2011 under MIT license, Laravel is an open-source PHP framework based on the MVC architecture. Laravel is a perfect backend tool for building blog, news, and e-commerce websites. With an intuitive interface, out-of-the-box API support, and extensive libraries, Laravel simplifies the development of secure and modern web applications. A relatively young and beginner-friendly framework, Laravel comes with the following features:
• Own command-line interface (CLI)
• Blade template engine that provides lightweight frontend templates
• Supports plain PHP code
• Excellent community support and documentation
• Database migration system
Laravel Lumen on the other hand is a lightweight micro-framework built on the foundation of Laravel. It is a simpler and leaner version of the complete web framework that speeds up web development. Released in 2015, Laravel Lumen allows developers to build microservices and high-performance APIs. The following features make Lumen a highly preferred framework by the developers’ community:
• Expressive and elegant syntax
• Simplifies common tasks such as routing, database abstraction, queueing, and caching
• Built-in debugger allows quick identification and elimination of bugs
• Compatibility with Google App Engine
Express.js is a trending framework that is trusted by global brands like IBM and Accenture due to its advanced features. Express.js supports REST API applications and is highly flexible. Released in 2010, Express or Express.js is a minimal Node.js web application framework that provides fundamental web development features that include:
• Minimalistic and fast web framework
• Easy to setup and straightforward to learn
• Great routing API
• Availability of large number of plugins for use
• Offers numerous HTTP utility methods to build dynamic and perceptive APIs
• Quick cloud deployment with infrastructure as code
• Resilient microservices architecture with cloud native principles
• Excellent test coverage
• Powerful workflow to build applications with Webpack, Maven or Gradle
- Spring Boot
Spring Boot is a lightweight and open-source Java-based framework that is used for creating stand-alone and production-grade Spring-based applications. Initially released in 2002, Spring Boot leverages the Spring platform and third-party libraries to enable the developers to get started with minimum hassle. A few advantages offered by the Spring Boot framework are:
• Helps avoid complex XML configuration in Spring
• Microservices-ready framework
• Provides powerful batch processing
• Helps manage REST endpoints
• Eases dependency management
Released in 2005, Django is one of the most popular open-source frameworks written in Python language. Often referred to as the web framework for perfectionists with deadlines, Django is based on the DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) principle, which emphasizes on reusing the existing code and focus on new parts thus making the developer’s work incredibly fast. It is widely chosen for developing FinTech apps, booking engines, and e-commerce applications due to greater security. The key features of Django include:
• Highly scalable and customizable
• Encourages rapid development
• Large community support and extensive documentation
• Comes with batteries-included feature
• High-level Model-View-Template (MVT) framework
- ASP.NET Core
First released in 2016, ASP.NET Core is an open-source version of ASP.NET. It is a redesign of the earlier Windows-only versions of ASP.NET. A popular web development framework for creating web apps on the .NET platform, ASP.NET Core is much faster than most currently available frameworks. The key features of ASP.NET Core are:
• ASP.NET apps can run on Windows, Linux, macOS, and Docker
• Designed to allow runtime components, APIs, languages, and compilers to evolve quickly
• Multiple versions of ASP.NET Core can exist on the same server
• Provides various support lifecycle options to meet app-specific needs
hapi.js is simple, secure, and open-source framework for building powerful and scalable applications with minimal overhead and full out-of-the-box functionality. hapi.js or hapi is the preferred choice of the developers for enterprise-grade backend development. It is the only leading Node.ja framework without any external code dependencies. A few key features of hapi.js are:
• End-to-end code hygiene
• Integrated authorization and authentication architecture
• Advanced features such as encrypted and signed cookies, and HTTP security headers
• Well-defined and strict protocol for handling security updates
• Comes with extensive set of official plugins
The Final Words
Choosing the right tech stack for web development, backend frameworks included, might not be a piece of cake, but a lot depends on the application use case and what technology pairs with it. Although most developers generally prefer working with familiar frameworks, at times they are left with little choice but to try their hand at a new framework, they have never used before, since enterprises are constantly migrating to newer technologies. However, venturing into unchartered territory by experimenting with new frameworks can be both fun and a great learning experience.