Developers use web backend programming languages to work on the server-side when building a website. Backend developers write codes that help websites communicate with the browser.
Backend web development is concerned with how the site works. The goal of backend developers is to monitor the functionality of a site, ensure regularity of updates, and monitor speed and responsiveness. Everything that’s part of a website but cannot be seen by users is a backend component. It is the exact opposite of frontend development, which users visually see first and interact with.
There are three parts of a web backend development: server, application, and database. Programming languages are essential factors as these are what developers use to facilitate their backend tasks. This is why a developer has to have significant knowledge about as many web programming languages as possible.
If you’re a developer about to embark on a web backend development project, it will help if you know which of the back-end programming languages are considered the most popular. Also indicated in this list are brief descriptions of each language. (Take note that these are specifically for backend development.)
Java is probably the most popular and most globally-used backend programming language. Created in 1995 by Sun Microsystems, it is ideal for established and large enterprises. Its stability is one of its strongest suits. The following aspects are Java’s best features:
- It is object-oriented, which means it’s easy to control, manipulate, and extend.
- Its simplicity – the basic Java language – can be mastered by anyone with knowledge in Object Oriented Programming (OOP).
- Runs multiple tasks.
- Works independently from any platform.
- It has remarkable Exception handling and Memory management.
The Java web backend programming language is a general-purpose language that works through the Java Virtual Machine. JVM helps interpret the code into a machine-understandable language.
Many Android app developers prefer to use Java for their backend programming. It is also ideal for database connectivity, website development, GUI-based programs, image processing, and networking.
Developers have been using Java for more than 20 years. Companies like eBay, LinkedIn, HubSpot, and Fitbit use it for their backend development. Java, however, is not as user-friendly as Python.
Created in 1991 by Guido van Rossum and named after the TV show called Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Python is considered as one of the best programming languages in the world. It is usually one of the first languages that programmers learn. It is simple to use and deploy, so it’s ideal for beginners. This open-source programming language boasts of an easy syntax in addition to the following features and characteristics:
- It has a simple but powerful language design.
- Not dependent on any platform and supports various systems.
- It is an OOP or Object-Oriented Programming-driven programming language.
- It’s capable of scaling complex web pages and apps.
- It has tons of support libraries.
- It’s an interpreted programming language and does not need compilation.
- It features dynamic data types.
- It integrates with C and C++.
Python is best for machine learning and data science-based web applications and developing GUI (Graphical User Interface), among others. However, it is not recommended for use in mobile computing and is preferred for prototype building.
Some of the companies that use Python for web backend development are Netflix, Spotify, Uber, Asana, and Pinterest.
Ruby is an open-source programming language that’s ideal for creating simple tasks such as creating a blog. It is platform-independent and runs on Unix, Mac, and Windows. Created in the 1990s by Yukihiro Matsumoto, Ruby is one of the best choices for prototyping. Some tasks you can do (aside from making prototypes) with the said programming language are building web applications, developing mobile apps and games, and automating repetitive tasks.
Ruby’s most relevant features include:
- It allows for customization and modification.
- It’s a dynamic programming language.
- It is object-oriented.
- It’s a flexible programming language, so adding to or redefining parts is easy.
- It is a single inheritance only language.
Some of the most globally known businesses that use Ruby for web backend development include Kickstarter, Airbnb, and Scribd.
Introduced in 1995, at a time when dynamic websites were still quite difficult to build, PHP is a programming language perfect for new or first-time developers. It is easy to setup and allows errors, so developers can keep working, stopping only when problem areas surface. Additionally, users can easily find tons of information and support from various online communities. Its wiki pages are regularly updated.
PHP is an open-source, stable, and all-around programming language that produces dynamic content. Its qualities make it one of the most preferred and popular languages in the web backend development community.
Top features of PHP:
- It allows developers to build efficiently and deploy rapidly.
- It’s easy to use, particularly in web pages development.
- It comes with useful automation tools that help make deploying and testing more convenient.
- PHP natively integrates with MySQL, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and other databases.
- It is a platform-independent and an interpreted programming language.
- Debugging is easy through its Xdebug extension.
- It has a built-in error reporting system.
- It is compatible with Mac, Windows, and Unix systems.
PHP is ideal for generating dynamic web page content, creating desktop applications, gathering form data, sending and receiving cookies, writing server-side codes, and scripting command lines.
The world’s most popular social networking site, Facebook, uses PHP for its web backend development. Other prominent companies that uses PHP include Viber, DocuSign, Lyft, Hootsuite, and Mint.
So, there you have it, four of the most popular, globally used web backend programming languages. There are hundreds more of these scripting languages in the developer community, especially since new ones are introduced every once in a while. If you’re just about to start your backend development journey, though, these four should be on top of your priority list. Find time to study each one, and then determine what your development goals are. Once you know what the specific plan is, you can choose a web backend programming language and start working.