Top 10 Backend Programming Languages

Modern application development depends on backend technologies to build, run, and manage applications. Backends are so critical to app development projects that selecting the wrong one can cause bottlenecks in development assignments. Therefore, business owners and developers must take the time to choose the appropriate backend technology to enhance seamless project execution. 

Selecting the right backend technology allows developers to work faster, scale apps quickly, and create quality applications.  Researching the suitable backend can be challenging because there are lots of options in the market. This article helps you explore the suitable backend options faster by reviewing the leading ten backend programming languages.

Before we start reviewing these technologies, let’s take a brief overview of app backends. 

Introducing App Backends

The set of programs that takes care of operations on the server, like database and server logic, are backend programs/functions. Whenever you run an app, the services in the app are managed by backend apps. While these programs are not visible to the user, they make the apps functional.

Overview of Programming Languages

The programming language consists of commands and functions for creating computer programs. They are classified as follows:

  • High-Level Programming Language

Programmers can use language similar to words used in everyday conversations to write programs. That is why the codes of high-level programming languages are easy to read.

  • Low-Level Programming Language

These are instructions written in machine language and assembly languages.  The code here is written for machines, so they are difficult to read. Programs known as Assemblers convert assembly language to machine language, which the CPU can interpret. However, humans cannot read machine codes. 

The Top 10 Backend Programming Languages

The top backend programming languages do excellent jobs of powering apps. However, each of them has its peculiar strengths and weaknesses, which are discussed briefly below.

JavaScript

JavaScript has consistently maintained the first position as the most adopted programming language over the last ten years. The 2020 Stack Overflow annual survey shows that about 70% of developers worldwide use JavaScript. 

Today, JavaScript had evolved from a client-side programming language to perform server-side programming functions as well. Platforms like Node.js and Express.js allow developers to write server-side codes with JavaScript. In essence, developers can use JavaScript to write both the backend and frontend codes of an app.   Node.js and Express.Js also provide APIs for creating apps such as web, mobile and hybrid apps.

Features of JavaScript

  • Expedites Development: JavaScript can accelerate the delivery of app development projects because the same language is used to create the backend and frontend codes of the app.
  • Minimal Scripting Overhead: JavaScript offers the advantage of creating high-performance scripts with lesser scripting overhead. Thanks to features such as DOMs and hoops. 
  • Lean Technology: Technologies like Express.js provide middleware service that powers JavaScript backend development. With less strict coding rules and features like POST data, headers, HTTP requests, and the likes, developers can create robust programs with this minimalist technology.
  • Lowers Development Costs: With JavaScript, the app development cost reduces significantly because it can be used exclusively to handle the frontend and backend development assignments. 
  • Open-source Benefits: One of the factors that enhances the growth of a programming language is the support of an active community.  The opensource community consisting of developers and enterprise organizations that provides support and drives continuous JavaScript innovations is massive.

I/O Functions: Node.js and Express.js offer features that handle I/O requests and app notifications. 

Drawbacks of JavaScript

  • The event-driven functions of JavaScript backend are complex, leading to misinterpretation of callbacks by developers. However, the recent version has resolved these challenges.
  • Many JavaScript backend developers have little or no understanding of middleware operations. 
  • The procedure for making JavaScript backend work with MySQL database is complex.
  • Many developers think that the conventional mode of app development is better than the unopinionated approach of JavaScript backend frameworks. 

Python

After Guido van Rossum invented the Python programming language in 2021, the programming language has grown and evolved to become one of the leading all-purpose programming languages globally.  It’s clean and easy-to-read code makes it a viable option for creating backend scripts.

A Stack Overview survey rates Python 3rd most loved programming language, and the loading language developers look forward to adding to their programming language arsenal.

The Features of Python

  • Short Learning Curve: The highly-readable coding style of Python makes it easy to learn. New and experienced developers can learn Python quickly.
  • Massive Library: The need to write manual codes for Python development is reduced significantly by the presence of a massive library. These codes can perform assignments relating to email, database, browsing, and many more. 
  • Inexpensive: Python is free and also provides many free tools and resources for app development. 
  • IoT Support: Python has modern features that handle the development of Raspberry Pi objects. 
  • Code Embedding: The Write Once Run Anywhere (WORA) feature allows the embedding of Python code in other languages like C++.

Drawbacks of Python

  • When a Python code is interrupted, it continues execution slowly. This flaw is a drawback for Python development. 
  • The database access layer of Python is not as developed as other languages. 
  • The presence of bugs and errors in Python codes is difficult to debug.
  • Depends heavily on third-party frameworks and library. 

Ruby

The Japanese computer scientist Yukihiro Matsumoto developed the Ruby programming language in 1990 and has since evolved into one of the leading backend technologies today.  It is also commonly used for prototyping and building web apps.  The language’s syntax is similar to Java and Perl. 

Ruby has been used to build successful apps such as Etsy, Airbnb, and Shopify. Developers love it for it’s object-oriented coding model, automation, flexibility, and scalability. 

Features of Ruby

  • Productivity: Ruby’s massive third-party libraries make it a highly productive language. It offers almost all the tools required to perform development assignments. 
  • Meta-Programming Support:  This feature allows an app to request data from another application and change its code while running. This feature with other scripts and macro makes Ruby development fast.
  • Massive Library: RubyGems is a repository of massive third-party libraries for Ruby.
  • Testing Support: Developers can access several third-party testing tools that help them develop high-quality apps. 
  • Fast and Highly Reliable: Developers can write backend scripts faster with Ruby. It’s object-oriented coding method makes it excellent for developing backend queries. Code development in Ruby is about 40% faster than other scripting technologies.

Drawbacks of Ruby

  • The Runtime of Ruby is slow compared to other development technologies.
  • The source and libraries of Ruby are limited compared to other open-source platforms.
  • Ruby is a relatively new and experienced backend developer who thinks it difficult to learn.
  • The codes are difficult to debug.

PHP

Rasmus Lerdorf invented PHP in 1994; over the last four decades, the technology has evolved to become the leading programming language for the web. Data from W3Tech shows that 79% of websites use PHP technology. 

PHP is a multi-purpose development technology that supports a wide array of databases.  Some of the factors that drive PHP’s popularity are its massive codebase, modern frameworks, and active opensource community. 

Features of PHP

  • Versatile: Developers can access several PHP libraries online that enhance development assignments.  Almost all operating systems support PHP, and the Apps built with this programming language can run on a web browser. 
  • Cost-Efficient: PHP is an opensource project available for free download and enjoys the support of an active opensource community.  PHP developers are readily available and inexpensive to hire . In fact. A recent survey by Stack Overflow rates PHP as one of the lowest-paying development technologies. 
  • Easy to Use:  Developers can access many PHP-based frameworks that use Object-Relational mapping (ORM) similar to the model-view-controller style in other frameworks. It enhances the development of server-side functions. 
  • Newbie Friendly: PHP is simple to learn. The programming language is recommended for new developers because the learning curve is short.
  • Automation: The language offers excellent options for creating automation such as authentication, URL mapping, session management, and lots more. 
  • Security Features:  PHP has several security features that allow developers to prevent app exploits. 

Drawbacks of PHP

  • The prestige of PHP has reduced significantly over the years. Today. People would hardly flaunt PHP development skills. 
  • The features of PHP are incomparable with modern development technologies such as Python and Ruby that have extensive libraries. 
  • The opensource nature of PHP makes it prone to abuse and buggy coding.

Java

Java was developed by James Gosling in 1991 and officially published by Sun Microsystems in 1995. The TIOBE 2021 Ranking lists Java as the second most powerful backend development programming language. This ranking proves its wide adoption and influence among developers. 

The ability to create web apps with unique and innovative features is one of the selling points of Java. It can develop mobile apps and programs for embedded devices

The Benefits of Java4

  •  Simple and Scalable: Developers can use Java Enterprise Edition to create scalable apps that can run several instances. Java components are easily accessible, and the syntax easy to understand.
  • Multi-Threading Feature: Java can manage requests from independent threads on a server that supports multiple threads. It’s no surprise that even the resource-intensive Java apps perform excellently.
  • Opensource Advantage:  The Massive opensource libraries such as excel, messaging, JSON Parsing, testing, and any others help developers expedite backend development projects. 
  • Top-Notch Security: Java has a reputation as a highly secure programming language because it prevents several security exploits out-of-the-box. Some security features include checking bytecodes for exploits, testing reusable code.

Drawbacks of Java 

  • Java development is cost-intensive and time-consuming. 
  • Does not support low-level programming and garbage collection.
  • Java backend required high-end hardware, making it too expensive for some businesses. 
  • The Java GUI and Swing toolkit lack the aesthetics of modern GUI tools. 

C# .NET

C# is one of the most widely used technologies for backend development because of its excellent automation features on Windows servers and other web platforms.  It leverages the .Net framework to deploy many features. 

This technology is used extensively for embedded devices and desktop app development. It has a reputation for executing codes faster than most backend technologies. Developers have used it to create game development platforms and command-line tools. 

Features of C#

  • Cross-Platform Development: C# can create apps for many platforms, including Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, and many more. 
  • Object-Oriented Development: Makes use of classes and relationship that enhances code reusability and easy troubleshooting. 
  • Backward Compatibility: It works excellently with older and legacy systems. Developers using older frameworks will be delighted with C#.
  • Garbage Collection: C# can run programs faster because it removes all system garbage in a process called garbage collection. Moreover, the system continues to function optimally during garbage collection.

Drawbacks of C#

  • It cannot communicate with system hardware directly because it’s a high-level programming language. 
  • Programming rules are rigid compared to other programming languages
  • Runs only on Windows due to its .Net Framework dependency.

Perl

Larry Wall developed this general-purpose scripting language in the 1990s.   The programming language is deemed as one of the highest paying technologies in the world today.  Another survey ranked it as one of the top three most feared programming languages in the same vein. 

Although the language looks old, Perl-5 is still commonly used for prototyping and automation. 

Features of Perl

  • Supports Multiple platforms: Perl supports many operating systems, including Linux, Unix, Windows, and Mac.
  • Opensource: As an open-source programming language, Perl offers several libraries for handling development assignments. However, the platform does charge nominal fees for copying charges for library access. 
  • Extensible and Embeddable: The codes can be embedded in C++ and C apps. It uses TWIG and XS to offer support for C++ and C external libraries. 
  • Test Processing: Perl is POSIX complaint and offers top-notch text processing functions. The socket processing features are outstanding too. 

Drawbacks of Perl

  • The procedure identifying infectious data and resolving bugs is challenging.
  • Perl processing performance is not the best among other alternatives.
  • Perl libraries do not have advanced features.
  • Extensive code processing is challenging with Perl.
  • Not the best option for speed and scalability.
  • It’s costly to hire a Perl developer because they are scarce. 

C++

C++ offers all the features of the C language in addition to object-oriented programming features and other functions. All modern programming languages follow the object-oriented programming style because it delivers superior relationship-based codes.

C++ is a low-level programming language, one of the oldest in existence today that communicates directly with system hardware. This feature makes it a viable language for creating apps for gaming platforms, embedded devices, databases, operating systems, and many more. 

Features of C++

  • Portable: Developers can use C++ to develop apps for any operating system, platform, or embedded device. 
  • Object-Oriented Programming: Developer can leverage the object-oriented coding functions to create superior codes that deliver more value. 
  • Outstanding Memory Management: This allows for the excellent management of memory as it gives the developer absolute control over memory allocation.
  • Low-Level Language: As a low-level programming language, it interacts with system devices. That is why it is helpful for programming for embedded devices. 

Drawbacks of C++

  • Since C++ can interact with the hardware, the feature t=could be exploited to create malicious code that executes the hardware.
  • The automatic garbage collection feature is missing. 

Kotlin

JetBrain and Android’s adoption of Kotlin for creating apps in 2011 gave the programming language massive publicity. Today, Kotlin is gradually replacing Java for Android app development. A recent study shows that 60% of Android apps in existence were made with Kotlin.  It is arguable the most dominant mobile development platform.

The Features of Kotlin

  • Less Coding:  Kotlin uses less code to perform tasks compared to other development platforms.
  • Easy Code Maintenance: Kotlin codes are highly readable, thereby enhance code maintenance assignments. 
  • Interoperability: Kotlin is interoperable with Java.  You can execute Java code from Kotlin or Kotlin from Java and create more functions. 

Limitations of Kotlin

  • Primitive types are missing from Kotlin variables and functions; this can be a bottleneck for programmers with development experience on other platforms.
  • Variable and function management is complicated without primitive types.
  • The procedure for compiling code in Kotlin is slower. 

Scala

Scala combines functional and object-oriented programming to create concise code. Scala also offers several JVM and JavaScript runtime that helps developers create excellent apps. Since JVM powers scala, it works seamlessly with Java.  Some developers ever leverage Scala and Java languages in codes to deliver custom solutions.  Scala offers top-notch static types that make life easier for developers.

Features of Scala

  • Concise Code: The codes of Scala are single and easy to maintain due to its object-oriented nature. 
  • Java Compatibility: Codes written in Java or Scala delivers the same results since Scala uses the same JVMhi; this allows Java developers to use Scala for backed development without hassles. 
  • Simple Code Management: The concise and highly readable Scala codes make it easy to manage codes written in the language.

Drawbacks of Scala

  • Scala coding methods differ from the conventional Java programming principles.
  • The combination of functional and object-oriented programming can be confusing.

A Final Note

This article relied on authorities like Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2020, W3Techs, and the TIOBE Index 2021 to list the top backend programming languages in 2021.  This article is a reliable authority for people to research backend development technologies.

FAQ

What are backends?

The computer programs that execute backend operations such as database and server logics are referred to as backends.

What are the best backend programming languages?

– Javascript
– Python
– Ruby
– Java
– Scala
– Kotlin
– Perl
– C
– C++
– PHP


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