November 15, 2023
Top Backend Technologies in 2023
|In this article, you will discover the top 7 backend technologies in 2023: Java, Node.js, Spring Boot, Python, Ruby on Rails, PHP, and .NET. This information will help you assess the strengths and weaknesses of each backend technology individually. Feel free to reach out for a complimentary consultation with our experts.|
Reading time: 28 min.
The top backend technologies in 2023 offer significant benefits to online businesses. Scalability, functionality, agility, and rapid response times are the expectations of web and mobile app users today.
The right backend technologies can meet all your customers' needs. Faster loading speeds and quicker response to inquiries are just advantages you'll gain, but there's much more to being a winner.
This article highlights the backend technologies at the forefront in 2023. You'll understand the key features that have propelled them to the top. This information will aid you in evaluating how well each technology aligns with your project's needs. Is transitioning to a new, more modern framework a viable solution?
First, let's delve into what constitutes a backend and the technologies it encompasses.
What should you know about the backend?
What should you know about the backend? The backend is a crucial part of a website or software application that processes data and handles requests from the frontend, returning appropriate responses. It is often referred to as the 'backbone' of the software or as an intermediary between the frontend and the database, which is an accurate description. The backend plays a pivotal role in driving the software forward due to its three primary components: the server, application logic, and the database, which enable the software to function effectively. It boasts a transparent infrastructure and architecture designed to deliver optimal performance.
The diagram below illustrates the components of backend development.
What is included in the backend?
The image illustrates the components of backend development.
There has been a longstanding trend towards improved usability, and frontend developers closely collaborate with UI and UX designers. However, even a perfectly designed frontend will only yield results if the backend is kept up-to-date. This hidden layer, imperceptible to the user, holds significant importance.
According to Stack Overflow, more than 50% of developers consider themselves full-stack developers. Recent surveys emphasize the importance of having knowledge in both backend and frontend development.
Consequently, project managers are taking note of the growing backend market. The demand for backend frameworks for web and mobile applications is rapidly increasing. This market offers numerous opportunities for business owners.
Common examples of backend technologies include Node.js, Ruby on Rails, Django, PHP, Python, .NET, Spring, and Java. Let's examine each technology individually.
Java: once again a leader in backend technologies
Java has maintained its position as an industry leader for nearly 30 years. According to Stack Overflow surveys, it ranks as the third most popular statically typed, object-oriented scripting language used for backend web development.
Java applications are compiled into bytecode, making them portable to any device with a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) installed. This scripting language offers a wide array of technologies, including backend frameworks such as Grails and Spring, libraries, databases, Integrated Development Environments (IDEs), Docker for containerization, and the Java Development Kit.
The core Java features:
- Advanced automatism
The Java Virtual Machine offers automatic memory management to track redundant or unused objects in the code and remove them automatically. This process is known as garbage collection, and it occurs by default.
- Maximum performance with a multi-threaded web server
Java developers can run multiple processes simultaneously, and their execution is entirely independent; one process doesn't interfere with the other. This multithreading capability is one of the reasons Java is highly recommended for processor-intensive application development.
- Open-source libraries
To safeguard sensitive data from unauthorized access, Java incorporates built-in security features, including encryption and authentication. As a backend language, this technology leverages the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) to scan bytecodes for viruses and address issues before they arise.
Multi-threaded web server
Tremendous community support (access to resources, libraries, and tools)
Some non-trend instruments (e.g., Swing instruments)
For what purposes can Java be used?
Java excels at solving problems in scientific software development, corporate solutions, and game development. In general, any large-scale project benefits from a robust foundation in Java libraries. Developers also employ Java backend technologies in microcontrollers. It is worth emphasizing that Java is in high demand for Android mobile app development. Some of the most notable projects built with Java include Jira, Minecraft, NASA WorldWind, Hadoop, and Jenkins.
Node.js is one of the valuable backend developer technologies
Key Features of Node.js:
- Increased performance
An essential feature of Node.js is its asynchronous, event-driven architecture. The Node server doesn't wait for the Application Programming Interface (API) to return data. After processing one request, it promptly moves on to the next one, utilizing the Events notification engine to track and handle responses to all previous requests. This leads to increased productivity in web development.
- Exceptional speed
Node.js offers a cluster module for seamless backend development scalability. Adding new nodes to the cluster ensures efficient handling of increasing traffic, while the load on active CPU (Central Processing Unit) cores is continuously balanced.
- Platform compatibility
As a backend technology, Node.js is compatible with all mobile devices and operating systems, including Windows, Linux, Unix, and macOS.
Fast performance and speed (because of asynchronous event-driven architecture)
Idiomatic client libraries for Google Cloud Platform services (tools for the successful creation of "cloud" applications)
Good for mobile apps
|Single-threaded (not ideal for some tasks)|
Lack of standardization
Security concerns (beware injection attacks and cross-site scripting attacks)
For what purposes can Node.js be used?
Node.js is employed in the development of cross-platform applications and large-scale Android mobile applications, particularly for streaming or messaging software. This backend technology is particularly well-suited for projects that require real-time data exchange. Notable companies such as Trello, IBM, LinkedIn, and PayPal actively harness the strengths of Node.js.
Spring Boot: A leading Java backend framework
To gauge Spring's popularity in 2023, let's examine the latest statistics:
The most popular back-end frameworks for 2023
(based on the number of GitHub repository results)
Key features of Spring Boot:
- Enhanced productivity with fully automatic configuration
Spring Boot automates code generation and configuration tasks, handling XML (eXtensible Markup Language), Java Beans, annotations, and database transactions independently. Developers can begin with minimal configurations, avoiding the need for advanced Spring configuration.
- Memory space efficiency
This benefit mainly depends on the services (Tomcat and Jetty) built into Spring Boot. As one of the top backend frameworks, Spring Boot uses its bootstrapping technique.
- Streamlined dependency management
Spring Boot centralizes and manages all dependencies in the form of boot starter packages. This feature simplifies the process of using dependencies for developers. It provides readily available, universally compatible solutions that can be seamlessly integrated into projects, eliminating the need to search for compatible database drivers and other components.
|Speeding up the development process|
Easy dependency management
Saving memory space (because of bootstrapping technique)
Good compatibility with containers (e.g., Docker)
|Not suitable for monolithic apps ( focuses on microservices)|
Challenges with modifications (the developer must know the systems and stories of Spring in depth)
A limited number of tools in the primary set
For what purposes can Spring Boot be used?
Spring Boot is primarily employed to develop standalone production-level web applications that can be easily deployed to various platforms without complications. Enterprise applications benefit from its features, including security, transaction management, and data access. Spring Boot is also well-suited for creating cloud-native applications. It is utilized by companies such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Udemy, Rappy, and Trivago for handling backend tasks.
Mastering Python as the most popular backend technology
Launched in 1991, Python continues to reign as the most popular backend technology today.
According to Stack Overflow surveys, developers have consistently considered this programming language in high demand, consistently ranking it among the top three technologies to know for over five years.
Python is a high-level language with automatic memory management, offering minimal syntax and a foundation in Object-Oriented Programming (OOP). These factors make Python an attractive choice for novice developers due to its smooth learning curve.
The Django framework stands out as the most famous technology within the Python ecosystem. It enables developers to reuse components, delivers efficiency, and maintains high speed. With its Model-View-Template architecture pattern, Django facilitates the scaling of web applications. This framework complements Python effectively, addressing its limitations.
Key features of Python:
- Abundant standard libraries
Python provides a wide array of standard libraries that are suitable for various web development needs, including libraries for string operations, web service tools, and protocols. These libraries can be reused in different projects.
- Enhanced security
Python offers additional cybersecurity guarantees for web applications, with a dedicated OWASP (Open-Source Web Application Security Project) for Python, enhancing immunity against cyberattacks.
- Open-source and free
Python is an open-source and free backend technology, eliminating licensing costs. This feature makes Python an affordable choice for software development, catering to businesses of all sizes.
|Object-oriented programming (better organization and reusability of code)|
Cross-platform (can be run on distinct operating systems such as Windows, Linux, and macOS)
Large standard library
Scalability and versatility
Model view controller
Smooth learning curve (often reminds us of ordinary English sentences)
|Execution speed (compared to other programming languages)|
Requires a significant amount of space
Dependence on third-party libraries and frameworks
Tendency to bugs (because of open source)
For what purposes will Python work?
Among coding languages, Python is the most popular for complex web apps. Many libraries and the best backend frameworks, like Pyramid, Flask, and Django, have made it number 1 for web application development. Game development, scientific and numerical web applications, and projects based on Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and the Internet of Things are areas where this programming language exceeds expectations. Shopify, Instagram, Pinterest, and Mozilla have been using Python for software development for many years.
Ruby on Rails is the best backend framework for apps of any complexity
Ruby on Rails (Rails or RoR) tops the list of the best backend technologies used today. It is called "the language of careful balance." What about RoR makes the average backend developer benefit from its utilization? It is an open-source web application framework written in the Ruby programming language, which is different from others with versatility.
The core Ruby on Rails features:
- Allows you to improve the testing process
It enables backend developers to write tests that ensure their code works correctly and catch any bugs and flaws before they go into production because of RSpec (a unit testing system for Ruby). This testing system uses a BDD (Behavior-Based Development) approach, which means that tests are written in a human-readable format that describes the expected behavior of the code. Each function in web application development is called separately and tested separately.
- CoC (Convention over Configuration)
Ruby on Rails has a set of default configurations that work well for most applications. Backend developers don't need to spend time configuring everything from scratch. The amount of code lines is reduced.
- Active record
A robust ORM library (Object-Relational Mapping system) provides the active record template engine. Through simplified query design, interacting with databases is much easier.
- MVC (Model-View-Controller) architecture
Convention over configuration
Dynamic Memory allocation (heap memory and the basic unit of the heap enables programmers to allocate memory at runtime)
|Challenging study for some backend developers ( it was released not so long ago; it makes it more difficult to learn a separate Ruby on Rails code)|
For what purposes will Ruby on Rails work?
This backend framework stands out for its fantastic versatility. Ruby on Rails suits simple mobile and web applications and apps with the most complex business logic and highly dynamic interfaces. Backend developers prioritize this web framework when the long-term project has total possible transformations or in projects with high traffic. This backend technology performs well in projects that require functional programming features.
Ruby on Rails is an absolute leader in implementing prototypes and custom databases. Extensive libraries have made the web framework the best solution for e-commerce apps. That's why the list of companies using Ruby on Rails tops Shopify.
PHP is still an in-demand technology backend
PHP (PHP Hypertext Preprocessor) is a general-purpose scripting language characterized by open source on the server side. PHP is designed to provide us with dynamic web pages.
The diagram shows statistics on the PHP market position in 2023.
For more rapid application development, this programming language is releasing backend frameworks. Laravel is the most popular PHP framework. Developers are also actively using Symfony, Cake PHP, and Codelgnier.
The core PHP features:
- Data flexibility and database support
PHP can create forms, PDFs, and Flash files and send cookies to generate different kinds of data well. Because of a built-in module, this backend technology connects smoothly to almost every known relational database with entity understanding. For example, MySQL, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL Server are the inline integrations for PHP.
- Cyber security
Cybersecurity has become an emphasis among trends in 2023. PHP has shown its strengths in controlling the security of data exchange between the web server and the user. Generally, it improves the level of protection in data transmission for backend development.
- Simple learning curve
This backend language is very close to HTML (HyperText Markup Language) in general terms. The built-in functions and code block reuse greatly simplify the backend programmers' learning process.
|The dynamism of each web page ( because of good compatibility with HTML and databases)|
Cross-platform compatibility (can run on multiple operating systems such as Windows, Linux, and macOS)
Monitoring access in real time
Scalability (through access to cloud services such as Amazon Web services)
Broad active community (all available support options)
PHP frameworks for web applications (Laravel, Symfony, Cake PHP, Codelgnier)
|Negative dynamics of popularity|
Error handling in software development (open source code allows a higher number of errors; you need to turn on error reporting)
Lack of modern libraries of its own (you need to use third-party libraries)
For what purposes will PHP work?
This backend programming language is great for search engines, e-commerce platforms, and remote access platforms for enterprises. Social media platforms are also developed without challenges. For example, Meta has been developing the Facebook backend with PHP for almost 20 years. Another area where language performs well is game development. But for real-time graphics and processing, PHP is second to other programming languages in this respect. For example, Java and Python perform better.
.NET is a must-know in the landscape of backend development technologies
This software framework uses C# (modern, object-oriented), F# (has a light syntax), and Visual Basic (object-oriented, which aims at a simple way to create secure applications for types). Microsoft developed .NET to provide an extensive pre-built code, tools, and services library.
The core .NET features:
- Simplified development with multiple backend technology tools
For example, Visual Studio is a package with which the speed of writing code increases significantly. It also opens up a new level for backend developers in testing and fixing code. Between implementations, it is possible to repeat already used code.
- Increased performance on the server side
Performing server tasks (e.g., database access) is much more efficient. The time spent on response decreases; computing power is optimized.
- Very well-organized community support
The open-source code allows backend developers to participate in its improvement actively. An independent .NET Foundation was designed to maximize the success of community support. Available learning materials are frequently updated.
|Ease of development|
|Cost (some businesses may find the licensing costs associated with .NET to be higher than other open-source backend technologies)|
The rather complex learning curve
For what purposes will the .NET framework perform?
As backend technology, .NET is designed to handle large-scale applications with ease. This makes it an excellent choice for businesses looking to expand their online presence or offer new customer services. Typically, the .NET is used to develop apps in the Windows environment.
Top backend technologies: Final words
Business owners and project managers who bring up to speed with the latest backend technologies and are willing to implement them stand a good chance of taking their websites to the next level. The main thing is to match the project's goals with the capabilities of a particular language or framework.
For example, Node.js is excellent for scalable web applications. Ruby on Rails is easy to use and fast to develop. Java and PHP have the largest developer community and advanced support. Python has gained popularity because of its versatility.
Select the most beneficial options for your projects with the Factor Dedicated Team. It allows you to see modern details and perceive what competitors overlook.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are back-end technologies?
Backend technologies make a website or application work well, responsive, fast, and feature-rich. It includes scripting languages, frameworks, and tools. Backend developers use these technologies to create the server side of web applications, which provides the code and infrastructure that handles user requests. The data is extracted from databases; the server side generates generic responses sent back to the user's browser.
Which backend is most in demand?
Backend languages and frameworks are currently standard technologies. We should highlight Java, Python, Ruby, and PHP as programming languages. Among frameworks, Django, Ruby on Rails, and Laravel should be mentioned. Stand-alone is Node.js, which belongs to the backend technologies in Java, being the execution environment for this scripting language. The most popular technologies also include database management systems and cloud computing.
What is the most popular backend 2023?
According to a Statista report, Node.js is popular among developers, with a 47.12% market share.
The skyrocketing popularity of Node.js has become true because of handling vast amounts of data and queries at 100% capacity, creating fully up-to-date web applications. Node.js is also capable of real-time communication and data streaming, making it virtually indispensable for world-famous messengers.
Which backend language to learn in 2023?
The most common backend development languages worldwide are Java, PHP, and Python, but now, companies can easily hire backend developers proficient in these popular technologies.
If you want to make more money, you better learn Ruby. After all, it is the highest-paying language, and its demand is only growing. The move of companies from Java and PHP to Ruby is becoming increasingly evident. The Ruby on Rails framework plays an essential role in this.
What is a backend framework?
A backend framework is a pre-build program structure with various flexible components for server-side application development. Some elements do not change their parameters depending on the project configuration; other elements can be transformed according to the specific project. A backend framework is between writing code from scratch and using a CMS.
What is the most common backend framework?
It is not objectively possible to single out the most common framework. Today we have to consider the specifics of each programming language and the requirements of each specific project. However, in 2023, statistics from numerous consulting agencies showed that Django (Python), Ruby on Rails (Ruby), and Laravel (PHP) hold the first place. Some lists of the most used backend frameworks cover the Spring (Java) group frameworks (Spring Boot, above all).
Is Node.js a backend framework?
What are examples of backend?
As mentioned earlier, typical examples of backend technologies include Node.js, Ruby on Rails, Django, PHP, Python, .NET, Spring, and Java. These backend technologies are responsible for server-side operations – for example, data storage, processing, and communication with the frontend of an app.
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