What Is Backend Web Architecture? Elements, Types and Benefits
Updated December 12, 2022
Software engineers often create websites that use backend web architecture. Backend web architecture is a broad category of website design that has many benefits for users and designers. Learning about backend web architecture may help you understand the basics of designing websites that use this type of coding infrastructure. In this article, we discuss a comprehensive overview of backend web architecture, including its definition, primary purposes, types, common components and benefits.
What is backend web architecture?
Backend web architecture is the process of creating the structure and logic of a website's backend, which includes all the components of a website that aren't visible to users. When users enter interact with a website by entering inputs like clicking or typing, the backend dictates the programming of outputs, like text that appears on the screen. Backend web architecture determines how different elements of code communicate to process input from the user and create the appropriate outputs. The way programmers design backend web architecture influences how the website operates.
For example, if a website designer creates a site that allows users to enter values for variables in financial formulas to calculate simple and compound interest, the backend of the website calculates the answer after users type numbers into fields on the website. Although the user can't see any of the code, servers, networks or databases that process the calculation, all of these elements work together in the backend design to determine the correct number and make it appear on the screen in the right place.
What is the purpose of backend web architecture?
The purpose of backend web architecture is to develop programs that generate functional experiences for users while separating them from the internal logic of the website. By creating architecture on the backend of a website, you can develop streamlined websites where users can easily navigate through pages and use different features without having to look at complicated code or use external devices. It also allows users to access websites without having to exclusively use their computer's processing power, which makes websites more accessible.
For example, if you create a website that sets alarms for users, backend web architecture ensures that those alarms function entirely on the website's server, only producing images and sounds for users. This means that the users don't need to have their own server network to use the alarm system, so people with any type of computer may be able to access the system. Backend systems also helps developers store important information more securely and create user-friendly experiences.
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What are the components of backend web architecture?
Here is a list of common components of backend web architecture:
A server is a computer that gathers details about the interactions users have with a website, interprets them and sends them across a network. You can program servers to run specific instances of code depending on the inputs they receive. For instance, if a user enters their credit card information on a website, your server may automatically process the payment through a banking application.
Logic is the sequence of operations that programmers code into the backend to accomplish specific tasks. Website logic contains algorithms and functions that allow for websites to perform different actions and output information depending on how users behave and interact with website features. Programmers in backend web architecture create logic that runs almost exclusively on servers, interpreting inputs and producing outputs.
A framework is a guide that you use to structure your code, logic and other aspects of your web architecture. Frameworks are like templates for a website's backend that software programmers user to facilitate writing and editing code for their server. Some frameworks include data libraries and tools that give programmers access to functional segments of code. For example, a framework may include a tool that allows for easier routing of URLs, which you can paste into your code instead of writing your own custom script.
Databases contain the information that servers access to direct website functions. In website backend architecture, databases include information such as integers, characters and arrays, which are sets of variables that have something in common. Databases have many functions that you can use to organize information for users to access. For example, a server may use a database to retrieve the options for a pull-down menu on a website.
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APIs, or application programming interfaces, allow software programs to communicate with other servers and databases to exchange information. For example, an API may allow a travel website to retrieve flight price information from various other websites in order to present the best price to users. APIs exist in the backend to simplify the presentation of information from multiple databases in a single place.
What are the benefits of using backend web architecture?
Here is a list of benefits of using backend web architecture:
Ease of use
Effective backend web architecture allows users to easily access the features of a website. They create environments where users can quickly interpret the information on a webpage and limit the amount of work that users do to use website interfaces.
For example, efficient backend web architecture in a translation website allows users to translate words from multiple languages instantaneously, even if users make minor spelling errors. This is because the website's backend architecture has a powerful server that quickly processes submissions from users, a good API connected to several online dictionaries and code that cross-references spelling errors with suggested words.
Backend web architecture allows website designers to have more control over their environment by allowing a program's logic to operate with the user having to see every detail of the code. This creates more user-friendly environments by making sure the user can focus on enjoying the features of the finished webpage.
It also provides additional security by limiting outside access to important data. For example, an e-commerce website may hide the logic that determines the current cost of products that appear on the website and the payment processing system, which protects the business's bank details.
Lower computational requirements for users
Backend web architecture allows servers to complete computations instead of having them take place on the client-side, or on the user's computer. This may enable the website to run more efficiently and let more users to access the website regardless of the types of hardware, operating systems and web browsers they use.
For example, a website that runs a game may host the processes required for the game to work on its own server to decrease the requirements for users when running the game on their own computers.
What are the types of backend web architecture?
Here are some common types of backend web architecture:
Layered architecture separates the functionalities of frameworks, APIs and databases into distinct units, allowing inputs from users to interact with each unit independently. This type of architecture often allows programmers to change information in one unit without affecting the others. For instance, a programmer may change the information within a database without changing how an API interacts with that database.
Event-driven architecture creates a unit that accepts all user inputs and then delegates them to their appropriate location. For instance, when a user completes an action on a website that requires the use of a database, the central unit uses logic to recall data from the database, then make updates based on the user's actions. This allows an entire program to function as an interdependent group.
Microservices architecture separates the functionalities of a website into many distinct units, allowing these units to operate entirely on their own. This allows programmers to add new functions to their websites without programming their interactions with other elements on the website. For instance, an e-commerce website that uses microservices architecture may run transactions and gather price data from two distinct entities with their own frameworks, logic and APIs.
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