Web Development

What is full-stack web development?

Marlena Walburg
Marlena Walburg
What is Full Stack Web Development

Are you considering the best solutions for your project? Certainly, one of the issues is the choice of the technology stack. The matter may seem trivial, but in the maze of available options that are constantly evolving, it is difficult to find something for yourself right away. In our previous post, What Are the Best Stacks for Web Development, we covered a lot of trinkets about it. Today we are going to talk about full-stack development in detail.

The development of a web application requires taking care of specific areas such as front-end, back-end, database creation and testing. In the past, programmers dealt with one specialized area for themselves. Full-stack development is a technology that covers both the client-side and server-side, databases and more. All of these software creating sides are handled by a comprehensive full-stack developer.

What is the difference between the full-stack and a mean stack?

You may have come across the MEAN stack in the context of full-stack software development, and although the two terms are close, they are not equivalent. Full-stack refers to a group of programming languages and tools that enable the developer to handle both the front-end and back-end development. They can be any approach or framework chosen by the team that will cover all these areas. MEAN stack, on the other hand, is a popular full-stack framework, which consists of MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS, and NodeJS. In this case, we have specified what we use in advance. 

Basics technologies

As a kind of introduction, let’s discuss some basic web technologies that are widely known and recognizable.

HTML

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. It is the standard markup language for Web pages, that is used to design the front-end of the web. HTML allows to describe the structure of information contained inside the website, giving the appropriate semantic meaning to individual text fragments – forming hyperlinks, paragraphs, headings, lists – and embeds file objects in the text of the document, like multimedia or database elements, like interactive data forms. HTML allows defining the appearance of a document in a web browser.

CSS

Cascading Style Sheets – CSS, language used to describe the form of displaying web pages. A CSS style sheet is a list of directives (so-called rules) that determine how the content of the selected HTML element or elements is to be displayed by the web browser. This way, you can describe all the concepts responsible for the presentation of such components as font family, text colour, margins, line spacing or even the position of a given element or the browser window.

JavaScript

It is a scripting programming language most commonly used on websites. These scripts are most often used to provide interaction by reacting to events, validating data entered in forms or creating complex visual effects. The vast majority of websites use it for client-side page behaviour, and all popular web browsers have a dedicated JavaScript engine to execute it.

Front-end frameworks 

The front-end allows users to view and interact with data, converting it into a graphical interface. By delving into it, we will divide it into elements responsible for the structure and arrangement of the content and visual representation. We can use the following frameworks to build this part of the application.

Angular.js

AngularJS is an open-source framework based on JavaScript, supporting the creation and development of web applications on a single page. The task of the library is to implement the Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern to web applications to facilitate their development and testing. The library loads the HTML file containing additional tags specific for this library. Following the instructions given by these tags, the library assigns the input and output page elements to the model, saved as a set of JavaScript variables.

React.js

JavaScript programming language library, which is used to create graphical interfaces of web applications. Often used to create Single Page Applications. The main distinguishing features of the React.js library is the virtual DOM (Document Object Model). React stores the application’s entire DOM in memory, after a state change, looks for differences between the virtual and real DOMs, and updates the changes. The second special feature of React is JSX. It is an overlay to JavaScript that adds the ability to insert HTML code (or React components) directly into the code, instead of a string.

vue.js

It is an open-source model–view–view model front end JavaScript framework for building user interfaces and single-page applications. Vue.js includes a progressive architecture that focuses on declarative rendering and component composition. The main library focuses only on the view layer. Advanced features required for complex applications such as routing, state management, and build tools are offered through officially supported libraries and support packages. Vue.js allows you to extend HTML with HTML attributes called directives. Directives offer functionality for HTML applications and are available as built-in or user-defined directives.

Back-end languages 

The back-end is in charge of inner operations invisible to the user. This kind of development relates to the application server-side and everything that communicates between the database and the browser. It usually consists of three parts: a server, an application, and a database.

Node.js

Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform, back-end JavaScript runtime that executes JavaScript code outside of the web browser. Node.js allows developers to use JavaScript to write command-line tools and to execute server-side scripts to create dynamic web page content before the page is sent to the user’s web browser.

Java

It is a concurrent, class-based, general-purpose object-oriented programming language. Java is a language for creating source projects compiled to bytecode, which is a form produced by a virtual machine. The language is characterized by strong typing. Java is one of the most popular and widely used programming languages and platforms.

Python

Python is a high-level, general-purpose programming language with an extensive package of standard libraries, whose main idea is readability and clarity of the source code. Its syntax is clear and concise.  Its language constructs and object-oriented approach aim to help programmers write clear, logical code for small and large-scale projects.

Database technologies 

A database is an abstraction over an operating system’s file system that makes it easier for developers to build applications that create, read, update and delete persistent data. Databases make structured storage reliable and fast. Therefore, it is an essential element in full-stack web development.

SQL

Structured Query Language – SQL, is a structured query language used to create and modify databases and to insert and retrieve data from databases. SQL is a declarative language. It is up to the database management system to decide how to store and retrieve the data. It has become a standard in communication with relational database servers. Many modern relational database systems use SQL to communicate with the user.

MongoDB

MongoDB is an open-source, non-relational database management system written in C++. It is characterized by high scalability, efficiency and the lack of a strictly defined structure of supported databases. Instead, the data is stored as JSON-style documents, which allows applications to process it more naturally, while still retaining the ability to create hierarchies and indexes.

How to choose the right web development stack?

This process should begin by gathering the necessary information about the project. Think about its purpose, who the system will be aimed at, what the users’ needs are, what functions the application needs to be attractive and useful. Don’t forget to consider the available budget and time to deliver the platform. Being aware of all these factors, with the help of the above knowledge base on technology stacks, will help you choose the best one for your project. Also, check out our What Are the Best Stacks for Web Development guide, in which we’ve thoroughly described the most popular technology stacks.

Benefits of full-stack development

Full-stack is a very popular approach these days for a reason. It has many benefits both on a small and large scale.

Cost savings

Developing applications using full-stack technology means employing a specialized programmer in both front-end and back-end. An experienced software house offering this solution will have staff proficient in all technologies required to create the site. Compared to hiring separate developers from the front-end and back-end, this is a significant cost saving.

Perfect for startups and growing businesses

Startups tend to be on a very tight budget. For this reason, hiring a full-stack developer is more profitable for them. Their flexibility and versatility ensure fast delivery of a high-quality product.

Time-saving

Full-stack developers are more effective in their work than a few developers from single tasks. The division of responsibilities is then obvious. This is since they can find solutions faster that they do not have to consult with programmers from other areas because they have holistic knowledge. As a result, product delivery is much faster.

Easy maintenance and updates

Having extensive knowledge of all aspects of web development makes updates more accessible and maintenance and support much faster and efficient.

The Future of Full Stack Development

The truth is, it’s not a brand new way of building software. Developers have dealt with many areas for a long time, now they just got a prefix to the word “developer”. It doesn’t change the fact that developers who can solve a wide range of problems are in demand. Being more effective than a large team of programmers makes full-stack developers valuable and very desirable in the labour market. This causes the wage rates for them in 2020 to reach over $ 90,000 a year.

Summary

To sum up, full-stack development is a comprehensive, modern and efficient approach for building successful digital products. It is worth considering, especially when you are low on the budget or don’t want to expand your team too much. It has a lot of advantages that can positively affect your project and its quality. Of course, compare it with other available solutions first, and check what is the best for your case.

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