5 Backend Frameworks You Should Consider in 2022

TL;DR 

  • Backend frameworks are essential tools needed for building the foundations of a website or applications. There are an increasing number of viable options for developers to choose from, so we narrow the numbers down to a top five. 
  • Django, Ruby on Rails, Laravel, Flask and Express JS. 
  • We outline the main differences between these options, with a summing up of their functions, strengths, and what sort of developer they are best for. 

Backend frameworks – much like ice cream – come in a staggering variety of types and flavors. Deciding on the correct one for you, your team or your business can start to feel overwhelming when you see just how many are used by developers, and how quickly new releases are made which might alter the top lists. Which framework is right for my programming language? Which one is best for security? Is it the same price if I get two scoops of different flavors? 

We’ve picked five of the most popular backend frameworks to use in 2022 for you to compare below, with a look at their main features and functions to help you decide which is best for you.    

What is a development framework? 

A development framework is a software tool which aims to automate parts of the development cycle. Essentially they are programming language libraries, which can help speed up development, aid scalability, and increase security when building applications thanks to a collection of time-saving, ready-made components. With the demand for quick but optimized builds only ever increasing, using the right framework for the right job can be crucial for development success. 

What is the difference between frontend and backend frameworks? 

Simply put: frontend developers work on the client facing parts of a website or application, and backend developers work on the infrastructure that supports it. So whilst a frontend framework would focus on the UI, a backend framework focuses on the ‘behind the scenes’ side of development, including stability, speed and security.    

The correct backend framework is essential for a good user experience; you can’t build a fancy house without strong foundations. 

Photo by Artem Sapegin on Unsplash

Top 5 Backend Frameworks in 2022

Django 

Good for: Python programming language, ease of use, speed, security. 

An open source web application framework based on Python programming language, Django is one of the best backend frameworks if efficiency is your biggest priority, having been built around the DRY principle: Don’t Repeat Yourself. This means one of Django’s top functions is in reusing code to simplify the development process. 

It’s one of the most widely used frameworks, including at enterprise level, thanks to its ease of use, rich variety of features and low learning curve, all of which lends itself well to scalability, too. 

Key features include: Support for HTTP libraries, MVC (Model-View-Controller) core architecture, and ORM (Object Relational Mapper). Also has a strong focus on security with features including automatic user authentication. 

Ruby on Rails

Good for: Ruby programming language, speed and scalability, code quality. 

Ruby on Rails is another open source option, and utilizes HTML, JavaScript and CSS whilst being a Ruby based, MVC framework. Supporting MVC architecture makes Ruby on Rails hugely accessible, one of the framework’s main draws along with its sterling reputation for enabling rapid development. Ideal for shortening the development cycle, Ruby on Rails’ library of ready-made modules and a focus on ‘convention over configuration’ eases the pain points in coding, automatically assigning value without requiring user configuration. 

Code quality can also increase with this framework thanks to automatic testing, perfect for test driven deployment (TDD). 

Key features include: MVC (Model-View-Controller) core architecture, automated testing, active record library, automated SQL translation. 

Laravel

Good for: PHP language, API support, security, good for beginners. 

Another backend framework supporting MVC architecture, Laravel is an ideal option if you’re using PHP scripting language. Laravel’s Template Engine boasts a comprehensive library of built in templates, including widgets, which can be used to generate layouts of increasing complexity. This framework has great API support, which can work in tandem with the widely used Symfony Mailer component. 

Laravel also offers ORM, allowing developers to use PHP syntax without the need to write SQL code, along with advanced exception and error handling with Monolog logging library integrations. 

Key features include: MVC (Model-View-Controller) core architecture, Template Engine library, ORM, API and cached backend support, strong web application security, dedicated dependency manager.  

Express JS

Good for: JavaScript language, accessibility, full stack developers. 

Express JS is a lightweight Node.js web application framework focusing on creating lean web apps and APIs. A big part of its draw is that it uses JavaScript, one of the most commonly used web languages, meaning the framework has a very easy learning curve for most. Many of the most popular Node.js functions are available on Express JS, but with faster development times thanks to its lightweight approach.

This minimalist framework utilizes Google’s V8 JS engine to interpret JavaScript code, providing high performance and making it easier to implement code. Express JS also offers frontend developer tools, making this a perfect choice for full stack development. 

Key features include: Fast Node.js programming, URl routing mechanism, fullstack capabilities, debugging system. 

Flask

Good for: Python programming language, simplicity, flexibility. 

Our final pick is another framework written in Python. Flask is actually a micro-framework, meaning it doesn’t require specific libraries or tools, meaning it omits a database layer, form validation and the need to depend on third party libraries for component functions. Instead, Flask provides support for extensions that can add application features. 

Thanks to its simplicity and lightweight nature, Flask is a great option for flexibility and ease of use; its lack of abstraction layers also means it is optimal performance wise. 

Key features include: Debugging functions, extension support, WSGI-compliant, support for Unicode, Jinja2 template functionality.

Choosing the correct backend framework requires more than an understanding of what is on the market. To find the true correct fit, you’ll also need to look inward to fully understand your needs, skillset, and business requirements. Once you apply this understanding to your search, you’ll be set in no time. 

And if you’re still agonizing over the ice cream, we hear that one scoop of chocolate and one scoop of coconut together is life changing…

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