Depending on the offered functions and features, each app has 3 segments – client-side, server-side, and database. Client-side and server-side are also known by their archaic names – frontend and backend. Web development uses specific tools and frameworks to render beautiful looking, robust, and dynamic websites.

The browser or the application window runs stuff written in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create an interface for users to interact. This is good enough for single-page, or multi-page, websites that have static pages – pages that show the same content every time you access it.

However, if there is a need to display content that must change – depending on who is viewing it, when, and where – we look up to server-side tools and frameworks. Hence, for user authentication, login verification, and data security acquainting oneself with server-side technologies becomes tremendously important.

How to select the right technology for you?

Like every other thing that involves people, this one too has developers swearing by the technologies that they are most comfortable with; everything else for them is muck. Many a time they go out of their way to advocate and later draft articles and reams of pages eulogizing a particular tech and berating others.

Of course, there is this never-ending discussion on whether you should choose a programming language or a framework for a project. Old-schoolers, without missing a beat, would say ‘Languages’. However, do bear in mind that developing an app or a website in a programming language has its downsides.

  • Languages require a huge amount of code to be written; throw in the quirks of each developer and you can have an app whose efficiency is a disaster.
  • A badly commented code can be a disaster in terms of readability.

A framework has predefined functions that can make development and readability a breeze.

Multiple frameworks are in vogue today; so much so that an average dev is spoilt for choices. There are a couple of metrics that may clear the air and help you make a decision on the one that suits your needs.

Productivity

Frameworks are of two kinds – opinionated and unopinionated. An opinionated framework is designed keeping in mind specific design patterns and thus allows no flexibility to developers. These assumptions are difficult to violate and can create issues like enforced conventions, lack of extensibility, and in some cases restriction to a particular toolset.

Unopinionated frameworks are more flexible, extensible, and support a variety of toolset.

Choosing one of these is crucial as they may impact or enhance your team’s productivity.

Learning Curve

Frameworks with steep learning curves create problems in terms of finding developers with the right skill. If you have a team of less experienced developers, bringing them up to speed and abreast with your choice of the framework may be an uphill task.

Popularity

This is one of the most underrated metrics. A less popular framework catering to a niche may have lower community support and poor documentation. It may not sound much but when faced with a certain challenge, your team may be in a doldrum until a solution or an update in the form of fair wind comes across.

Server-side frameworks

Let us review some of the popular frameworks and see which of them suits your needs. Here we have considered – Rails (Ruby), Django (Python), and NodeJS (JavaScript).

NodeJS

This web development framework is written in JavaScript and has been around for at least 11 years (initial release May 2009). Since it uses JavaScript as its language, it has a plus of using the same language on the server-side and the client-side. This feature alone makes sending and syncing data between the client and the server stress-free.

One may argue that NodeJS is not a framework but a runtime environment that allows running JavaScript on the server-side.

Pros:

  • Asynchronous – The runtime is event-driven which helps concurrent handling of requests.
  • I/O non-blocking – Since no NodeJS function explicitly performs the input and output, there are no process blocks. This makes way for apps that are easily scalable.
  • Same language for both the client and the server-side.
  • A large community, about 78k GitHub stars, ensures that the problems you are looking at may already have a solution.
  • Smooth learning curve – helps you get the right talent every time.
  • Higher extensibility and flexibility.

Cons:

  • Frequent regular changes result in unstable Application Programming Interface (API)
  • Lacks a well-equipped and robust library system. However, makes up by having multiple modules that can be installed as and when required.
  • Does not deal well with relational database management
  • Needs in-depth understanding of JavaScript to work with NodeJS.

Want to know more about why you should use Node.Js for applications, check out our article.

Rails

Rails is opinionated and hence may appear to help develop applications faster. In a startup where an MVP (minimum viable product) is urgently required, Rails is the go-to choice.

Of course, there are those perfectionists who feel that Rails is not opinionated enough.

Pros:

  • Easy implementation of complex business logic
  • Good developer community
  • Fast turnaround time
  • Compatibility with other client-side frameworks like React and Angular.

Cons:

  • Low runtime speed and performance
  • Rigid and not so flexible
  • A decline in popularity over the years has resulted in frail community support.

Django

Django is a high-level Python Web framework that claims to encourage rapid application development and a clean design. Python being one of the most popular languages makes collaboration easier on Django projects. It comes with most of the bells and whistles that may be required by a project. However, since it has a lot of stuff out-of-the-box, a simple and small application may appear bloated.

Pros:

  • Python is the language used and hence has a smooth learning curve.
  • Great for data analytics, dashboards, and machine learning apps.
  • Great community of enthusiastic developers
  • Scalable

Cons:

  • A lot of stuff out of the box results in small apps being larger-sized and comparatively slow.
  • Errors thrown from templates are silent, increasing the debugging time.
  • Enforced use of ORM and hence for projects that do not require a database may find it overkill.

Still want to know more about how python can help with web an app development, here’s our guide to the same.

You now have sufficient points to consider in your arsenal to make an informed choice about the best server-side framework to adopt given your firm’s requirements. To develop a professional looking app from the get-go, sans the pain, book a consultation with Steady Rabbit.