Top 10 Backend Programming Languages
The usefulness of backend programming languages is increasing day by day. However, selecting the right backend programming language is challenging whether you are a learner, startup or a big business. In this regard, we are sharing the best backend languages with their features and limitations here.
- 1 Key Takeaways
- 2 What is Backend Development?
- 3 Types of Backend Programming Languages
- 4 What are the most popular backend languages?
- 5 Top Backend Languages You Need to Know About
- 7 PHP
- 8 Ruby
- 9 Python
- 10 Java
- 11 Rust
- 12 Solidity
- 13 Go
- 14 Kotlin
- 15 NodeJS
- 16 Perl
- 17 SQL
- 18 Backend Languages Comparison
- 19 Conclusion
- 20 FAQ
- 21 What is Backend Development?
- 22 What are the types of backend programming languages?
- 23 What are the best ten backend programming languages?
- Diversity in Backend Programming Approaches: Backend programming can be categorized majorly into two types – Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) and Functional Programming (FP). While OOP focuses on data objects and is suitable for large team projects, FP emphasizes results and can enhance productivity.
What is Backend Development?
All server-side operations and interactions between the browser and database are referred to as backend development.
Servers, databases, communication protocols, operating systems and software stack are the core tools used in backend development.
Types of Backend Programming Languages
Backend programming languages are usually categorized into two major types. We are going to discuss these types below!
- Object-Oriented Programming
This backend development approach emphasizes object or data formations instead of using logic. With uncommon characteristics, the object is considered a data field in functional programming.
The object-oriented programming technique is the best approach when developers work in teams on big and complex projects.
PHP, Java, Ruby and Python are the common examples of OOP backend programming. Regardless of many benefits, experts criticize OOP because of its complex scripting style. It also takes more time when it comes to assemble and write the code.
- Functional Programming
It is another type of back-end programming focusing more on declarations and results than the programming procedure.
FP backs parallel, immutable data and doesn’t have any side effects. So, FP is the answer if you want to improve productivity & modularity and to sort out scripting issues in the simplest ways.
SQL, R, Haskell and F# are the famous FB backend programming languages that you can consider using. On the contrary, this backend programming language also has some limitations. Practicing difficulty for beginners, complex maintenance and reuse are some major cons of using functional programming languages.
What are the most popular backend languages?
Top Backend Languages You Need to Know About
There are several backend programming languages that developers are using nowadays for their projects. However, we are sharing the most reliable and well-reputed top 10 backend languages here.
Developing a backend using raw virtual machines will give developers more flexibility and control over most infrastructure components, but they will require to manage servers and monitor the infrastructure around the clock.
- Although it was designed as a lightweight coding language, but its weak language design becomes a headache in some cases.
- Complex maintenance is also a con of using JS as a backend.
PHP is another known server-side programming language that was officially launched in 1997. This backend language is entrenched in HTML and normally used for session tracking, designing eCommerce sites and administering databases and dynamic content.
Most web applications prefer to choose PHP as their server-side language. W3Techs reveals around 80.1% of websites were using PHP as a backend language in 2017. In 2021, this usage is around 79.2%. Furthermore, it is also easy to find a PHP developer when businesses decide to go with a PHP backend.
Want to host your PHP application? Please check the tutorial Run and deploy a Laravel application.
Simple & Common — PHP is one of the simplest backend programming languages. The simplicity of this programming has made it one of the most commonly used languages, especially for web development. You can learn this language easily as compared to other languages like Java etc.
Platform independence — PHP is a platform-independent language. It means PHP can work for all operating systems and platforms.
Loosely Typed — In the PHP programming language, you don’t need to mention the data type of a variable before assigning value. The data type of the variable will be based on the data stored in it during the execution.
Interpreted Language — PHP is an interpreted language. Indeed, with PHP, there is no need for compilation before executing the code. PHP code is interpreted line by line, which saves time of compilation, and all lines are being executed one by one & display the results.
Multiple Web Frameworks — There are multiple PHP frameworks available for web applications development. Programmers can write structured code in MVC (Model View Controller) structure. It helps in defining the functionalities in a specific structure. PHP frameworks include Laravel, CakePHP, CodeIgnitor etc.
- It is seamless to misuse the script’s weakness because PHP is open-source.
- Because of poor maintenance, it is not suitable for big projects.
- Inadequate error handling and unavailability of dedicated libraries are also limitations of using PHP language.
Ruby is another popular and anticipated open-source backend language. Yukihiro Matsumoto initially introduced this scripting language in 1995.
Time efficiency is the main advantage of using Ruby as a backend language. Yes, it offers a variety of coding tools to speed up your backend development process.
Availability of numerous libraries and support from active communities are also some benefits of using Ruby server-side languages.
Mixins — This is a unique feature of Ruby where modules and classes are mixed. Ruby is a programming language that has classes and modules. In Ruby, modules only contain methods without any instance. Programmers can use the modules in the classes which means those methods of the modules will be added to the class. It is similar to inheritance but easier and more flexible.
Naming Conventions — Ruby defines the specific naming conventions for variables, classes, etc.
- The constants in Ruby should start with a Capital letter
- A global variable must start with a dollar sign ($)
- An instance variable should be started with @
- A class variable should be started with double @ (@@)
These naming convention rules help the programmers to write and read with effective coding. It is more helpful when a team of multiple members working on the same project because understanding the code becomes easy with these naming conventions.
Dynamic Data Types — Ruby is a convenient programming language where data types should not be defined while declaring the variable. A variable can contain any kind of data that saves the memory & reduces the lines of code by not declaring different types of variables for different types of data. You can use a variable for any kind of data according to your program requirements without declaring multiple variables.
- The runtime speed of Ruby is comparatively slower to other languages. Surely, complex programs might take time to complete their execution when coders use Ruby.
- Ruby is a new programming language. That’s why the community of Ruby language is limited. You will have to search a lot to find issues regarding complex errors.
Python is a high-level interpreted programming language. It is one of the most commonly used programming languages that follows multiple programming paradigms, including OOP, structured & functional programming.
This programming language is being used in advanced level programming such as data analytics, machine learning, web apps, etc.
Want to host your Python application? Please check the tutorial Run and deploy a Python application.
Easy to Learn & Code — Python is a high-level programming language that can be learned easily than other languages like C++, C# or Java. You can learn its syntax & start coding in a few hours if you have a basic understanding of programming.
Object-Oriented Language — Python supports the programming paradigm of object-oriented programming. It means you can define classes and objects to write structured code for your program or applications. It helps in better understanding the code and clean code as well. Coders can reuse the classes and functionalities easily by using the concepts of OOP. This procedure reduces the lines of code as well.
Platform Independent Language — Python is a portable and platform-independent programming language. You can run the same python code in Windows, Linux, Unix, etc.
Python Libraries — Python provides a wide range of libraries, including different kind of functionalities. You will not have to write code from scratch when finding built-in libraries for the same functionality. For example, OpenCV is a Python library for Computer Visions & Selenium is widely used for web automation and scraping.
- Python is relatively slower than other programming languages. Complex programs might take more time than normal time to execute a code.
- There are multiple versions of Python, and the code written in one version might cause some errors in other versions, especially when using libraries.
JAVA is another one of the most widely used backend programming languages which specifically follows the object-oriented programming paradigm.
Java is most often used to build large enterprise-level applications. It is one of the oldest languages as well with multiple extraordinary features.
Object-Oriented Language — JAVA is specifically focused on object-oriented approaches. It means you cannot work without classes while using Java. OOP helps the programmers to write structured and well-organized code. The understanding and readability of code become easier through object-oriented programming.
Multi-Threaded — Java allows programmers to write code where multiple tasks can be executed simultaneously. It can be very helpful when you need to execute a program in less time by running different operations in parallel.
Secure — Java is considered a very secure programming language. Public encryption keys are used for authentication to make it safer for data-sensitive applications.
- The code of Java is complex, especially when a large application is developed in it.
- Java requires significant memory space that may affect the performance of the application.
Rust is another one of the most famous and powerful programming languages initially launched in 2010. It is a multi-paradigm programming language that is similar to C++. Memory safety is guaranteed by using a borrow checker for validating the references in Rust.
Clear Error Messages — The error messages are clearer in Rust compared to other programming languages. Formatted error messages are displayed, and spelling issues are also suggested.
Fast & High Performance — Rust is relatively efficient and provides higher performance than other programming languages like Python & Ruby, etc. You can write complex programs with different functionalities to be executed in less time.
- There is no garbage collection in the Rust programming language.
- Rust is not an interpreted language. That is why it needs a compiler to compile the whole code before execution. The compiler takes more time than other languages before executing the code.
Solidity is another beneficial backend programming language used to write complex programs and applications. It is high-level programming that is contract-based. This server-side language is statically typed that also supports inheritance to implement real-life scenarios.
Although Solidity looks very easy for learners but according to experts, it is challenging for new learners. If you are willing to develop blockchain or contract applications, you should choose this impressive back-end programming.
Inheritance — You can implement inheritance using solidity to carry out real-life scenarios. Real-life scenarios in applications require inheritance to be implemented in a structured form. The code structure becomes seamless to understand.
String & Hash Types — Solidity allows the programmers to convert the string into hashes and vice versa. There are built-in functions available for this conversion.
- Solidity provides static data types for variables. It means you would have to declare a variable for a specific data type before storing the data. You cannot reuse that variable for any other data type.
Go is another valuable backend programming language that was developed in 2008. It is a statically typed programming language. Moreover, Go is a compiled programming language that is similar to C syntactically. It provides the useful features of Garbage collection, structural typing, etc.
Want to host your Golang application? Please check the tutorial Run and deploy a Golang application.
Object-Oriented Programming — Go supports object-oriented programming where you can design your code in a structured form using classes and inheritance. You can create classes and objects for implementing the application program. It reduces the code by reusability & also creates a better understanding of the code.
Testing Support — The testing support feature can be beneficial for the programmers to identify the issues and fix them. Go programming language provides the feature of unit testing in the language itself. The large applications development become more effective and easier by this amazing property of the Go programming language.
- Go is a young programming language, so it is still under development. All the areas of programming paradigms are not covered in this programming language yet.
- Go language does not provide manual memory management to the users. It means that you cannot manually manage and access the memory that may cause overhead garbage collection.
- The error handling of the Go programming language is not that perfect, which may cause issues for the programmers and the app users.
Kotlin is a very well-known programming language, especially for Android apps development. Kotlin is the language that can interoperate with Java. It indicates that you can use this programming language within already built applications in Java.
Java Interoperability — Java is the most widely used programming language for Android applications. If you have learned Kotlin and got a project half-built in Java, you can use Kotlin within Java to extend the functionalities of that application.
Extension Functions — Kotlin allows the developers to add extensions to the classes without modifying the source code. Programmers can add their own functionalities in the classes easily, which can help them code the application easily and effectively.
Efficiency — The efficiency of this programming is relatively high as compared to other programming languages. You can write complex programs that will be executed in less time, which increases the reliability of app usage.
- Kotlin is a new programming language, so there are fewer developers available for this language. If you got your app developed in Kotlin, then you want to change developer, you might not find a new developer because of the small developers’ community.
- It is also hard to fix issues with Kotlin.
According to W3Techs, around 1.3% of websites are using NodeJS for their server-side operations. LinkedIn, Uber, Netflix, NASA and Netflix are the leading companies claiming to use NodeJS for their backend functions.
Want to host your NodeJS application? Please check the tutorial Run and deploy a NodeJS application.
Efficient — NodeJS is relatively faster, especially as a backend programming language. You can write complex programs that will run in less time to provide reliable app usage. It is widely used for web applications. Therefore, the faster and quick response improves the user experience.
How to host a NodeJS application?
The first option will demand more time and engineering effort to set up and manage servers but will provide more flexibility and server control. The second option will allow a faster time to market and a fully managed service. On the other hand, it has lower flexibility than running a server.
To know more about how Back4App can accelerate NodeJS development and host, please refer to the guide NodeJS App Template. The template is free to use and will perform the Sign In process, send verification emails, and retrieve passwords.
- NodeJS does not support multi-threaded programming. Unluckily, you can run your tasks in multiple threads, which may be required at different levels of applications. In addition, it might affect the performance of the application as you are using a single thread throughout the program.
Perl is a versatile scripting language initially released over 30 years ago in 1987. Often referred to as the “Swiss Army knife” of programming, Perl is recognized for its ability to handle text and regular expressions exceptionally well.
It’s commonly denoted as just ‘Perl’. Perl boasts advantages such as rapid development, a large community, and extensive library modules through CPAN (Comprehensive Perl Archive Network).
According to various developer surveys, Perl has consistently been employed for a multitude of tasks, especially in system administration, web development, and bioinformatics.
Over the years, Perl’s importance has diminished, but its legacy in scripting remains unrivaled.
- Powerful Text Manipulation: At its core, Perl was designed for text processing. Its regular expression engine is one of the most powerful and integrated available, making it exceedingly adept at parsing, analyzing, and transforming text.
- CPAN (Comprehensive Perl Archive Network): This is a vast repository of Perl modules and libraries created by the community. CPAN offers solutions for nearly any task a developer might encounter, allowing rapid development by leveraging pre-existing code.
- Flexibility and TMTOWTDI (There’s More Than One Way To Do It): Perl is known for its flexibility. It often allows multiple methods to achieve the same task, enabling developers to choose the one they find most readable or efficient. This philosophy is so ingrained that it’s an unofficial motto of the language.
- Readability and Maintainability: Perl’s philosophy of TMTOWTDI (There’s More Than One Way To Do It) can lead to varying coding styles within the same project or even the same file. This can make the code harder to read and maintain, especially for developers who are new to a Perl project or those who aren’t familiar with the language’s idiosyncrasies.
- Performance: Perl is an interpreted language, which means that for CPU-intensive tasks or scenarios requiring high performance, it might not be as fast as compiled languages like C or C++. While Perl can be quite efficient for many tasks, especially text processing, it’s not typically chosen for performance-critical applications.
SQL, an acronym for Structured Query Language, is the paramount language for managing and querying data in relational databases. Data scientists and developers employ SQL for tasks ranging from data insertion to complex analytics.
This language was originally introduced over 45 years ago in the 1970s and is often simply referred to as ‘SQL’. Nevertheless, it’s essential not to conflate it with other database technologies as SQL is a language, not a database system.
SQL brings forth a myriad of benefits, like its declarative nature, broad adoption across database systems, and capability to handle large datasets efficiently. Owing to its pivotal role in data management, SQL remains a cornerstone skill in the tech industry.
- Declarative Nature: Unlike procedural languages where the emphasis is on ‘how’ to do something, SQL focuses on ‘what’ you want to achieve. For instance, when retrieving data, users simply specify what they need using a
SELECTstatement, and the database engine determines the most efficient way to fetch that data.
- Data Integrity and Constraints: SQL supports the definition of constraints, ensuring data integrity. This includes primary keys, foreign keys, and other constraints that uphold the relationships between tables and ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data.
- ACID Properties: SQL-based relational database systems typically adhere to ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) properties, ensuring that transactions (a sequence of one or more SQL operations) are reliably processed. This means even in the event of failures, the data remains consistent and intact.
- Verbosity and Redundancy: SQL can be verbose, especially for complex queries. Joining multiple tables, incorporating subqueries, or establishing multiple conditions often results in lengthy SQL statements. This verbosity can lead to redundancy and potential errors, as developers might need to specify certain logic repeatedly.
- Procedural Limitations: SQL is primarily a declarative language, which is great for data manipulation and querying but falls short when more procedural tasks are required. While certain procedural extensions, like PL/SQL (for Oracle) or T-SQL (for SQL Server), have been developed, pure SQL lacks loops, conditional logic, and other procedural constructs common in general-purpose programming languages.
- Limited Expressiveness for Complex Operations: While SQL is adept at handling standard CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) operations and even some analytics, it struggles with more intricate analytical tasks. For operations like time-series analysis, pattern recognition, or complex statistical analyses, SQL might require convoluted queries, or users might resort to other specialized tools or languages.
Backend Languages Comparison
|Client-Side Security Concerns|
Dynamic Data Types
|Python||Easy to learn|
Object Oriented Language
|It may be slow |
|Java||Object-Oriented Language |
Requires large memory space
|Rust||Clear error messages|
Needs a compiler
String & Hash Types
|Young programming language|
Hard to fix issues
A little bit slow
|Perl||Powerful Text Manipulation|
|Readability and Maintainability|
Modern Web Management
This article presents one of the top server-side programming languages with their overview, core features and limitations.
Indeed, this guide shares the top options, but it depends on your project’s requirements when it comes to the most suitable language.
Hopefully, you would pick the right and compatible backend programming language for your project.
What is Backend Development?
All server-side operations and interactions between the browser and database are referred to as backend development.
What are the types of backend programming languages?
– Object-Oriented Programming
– Functional Programming
What are the best ten backend programming languages?
– Node JS