The Best Ten Backend Languages
The backend has great importance in the development of any software application. Similarly, the role of backend languages couldn’t be denied in server-side programming. At the beginning of the software revolution, there were only a few backend languages, so it was easy for developers to choose them.
Nowadays, it has become strenuous to shortlist backend languages for businesses, development teams and startups for their projects. Therefore, this guide sets forth one of the best backend languages with their pros, features and limitations.
- 1 What is a Backend?
- 2 Types of Backend
- 3 The Top 10 Backend Languages
- 5 2. Python
- 6 3. Ruby
- 7 4. PHP
- 8 5. Java
- 9 6. C#
- 10 7. Perl
- 11 8. C++
- 12 9. Kotlin
- 13 10. Scala
- 14 Conclusion
What is a Backend?
The backend is a component of an application’s code that can only be administered by the development team. Yes, users are not allowed to approach and see this ‘data access layer’ of an application. A backend typically consists of two and more languages.
It also deals with servers, databases, authentication, APIs, frameworks and aids in running scripts.
Here are three common types of a backend:
Server-oriented is one of the most secure, reliable and old means to build and host a backend. This type of backend permits the developers to operate and script the code on the server. Hereof, development teams utilize on-premises servers so they would have more control.
Undoubtedly, a server-oriented backend is the prime choice of large enterprises because third parties are not involved. So, companies can get a complete grip over backups and security. Programmers also don’t need internet connectivity to access data while using server-oriented computing models.
Serverless is an advanced, highly scalable and inexpensive way to host and build the server-side of an application by using third-party cloud services. Yes, serverless computing methods allow businesses to emphasize core and client-side tasks because cloud providers take care of backend functions.
Indeed, fully administered and remote servers lower the cost of companies that they invest in server maintenance and upgrades. By the same token, employees can also approach the data anywhere in the world because of global access.
Decentralized is another type that relies on peer-to-peer computing to host and create the backend of an application. Hereof, it utilizes assorted servers rather than using a single server to perform backend functions. So, these servers perform freely and reduce vulnerabilities.
Decentralized architecture is considered a reliable choice for file sharing, blockchain storage, streaming, voice communication and instant messaging programs.
Netflix, PayPal, Uber, Twitter and NASA are renowned organizations benefiting from JS for various tech stacks.
Platform Independent — This backend language permits the developers to script the code once and operate it anywhere. Yes, JS is a portable programming language that can be added to a variety of browsers and platforms without any modification to the code.
It is not only a popular programming language, but most development teams also choose it because of its versatility. Primarily, its support for server-side development is out of the box. Likewise, businesses can utilize Node.js and Express.js. Similarly, the same language could also be used to build the frontend.
JS is also known to provide feature-rich interfaces for users. It comes with distinct properties, including slider, drag and drop components and much more. On the contrary, if we talk about updates, then JS is annually updated. ECMAScript 6 and ES7 are major revisions hereof.
Python is an excellent backend language that was initially introduced in 1991. This object-oriented, functional and dynamically-typed server-side language is famous among developers because of its highly readable nature. Yes, you can read this language just like English.
Correspondingly, if we talk about the usage and popularity of Python among programming communities, then it is a preferred choice. With 15.74% ratings, Python wins the first rank among the most popular programming languages as per TIOBE Index for 2022. According to Stack Overflow’s recent survey, it also acquired the 2nd position in the race of most wanted technologies.
The prominent tech giants that trust Python are Shopify, Spotify, Google, Uber and Instacart.
Portable — Businesses usually prefer portable backend languages to build mobile and web applications nowadays. These languages could be efficiently run on any machine without any changes in the script. Luckily, Python is also a portable language, and you can seamlessly use it on Mac, Linux or Windows.
Open-Source — Python is open-source and free to use, so startups love to pick this programming language. Even you can just visit the ‘Download’ page of its official site and get the latest version of Python for your operating system.
Procedure-Oriented & Object-Oriented — One of the best things about Python is its support for both procedure and object-oriented programming. With OOP property, you can emphasize tasks and architect around objects and data. However, you can concentrate on functions instead of objects with procedure-oriented programming.
Expressive & Dynamically Typed — Python assists the development teams to code in less time because of its expressive nature. Yes, programmers can perform a complicated coding task with few lines only with Python. Other languages like C and Java need multiple lines of code to perform such tasks. Similarly, its dynamic typing property keeps its code short, simple and reduces the compile time.
GUI — Graphical User Interface support is another exciting feature of Python. You can also benefit from Python’s toolsets like JPython, wxPython and Tkinter to use GUI in a better manner.
Python is easy to learn and understandable backend programming language. It takes a maximum of 5 to 10 weeks to learn Python if you have basic knowledge of coding. As a beginner-friendly language, novices can just install Python from its official site on their computer and start using it. Beginners can also learn this language from online courses only in 6–8 weeks.
Python owns a vast community of software engineers and coders as an old programming language. Indeed, it is the most used backend language for machine learning, task automation, data sensitive and AI-based projects. So, it is also seamless to find Python developers, resources and community support.
Hereof, the official site of Python presents a page with the name ‘community’ and a discussion section to assist. However, top-rated communities like Stack Overflow, GitHub, DEV, GitLab and Kaggle also confer colossal community support for Python projects.
With Python, developers and businesses don’t need to invest their time in understanding the behaviour and syntax of the language. Therefore, extensive and complicated tasks are done with concise code in less time. This property of Python makes it a very productive programming language compared to rivals.
Python is also considered a safe choice for data-sensitive applications. This language regularly sanitizes the data and disappears the delicate data from outer sources. Moreover, Python programmers also keep an eye on vulnerabilities and try to fix them as soon as possible.
Developers can easily use third-party libraries when they code with Python. The major libraries are Python Standard library, Python Package Index (PyPI), PyTorch, SciPy, TensorFlow and Pandas. Coders can use these libraries for automated testing, database administration, documentation, and thread handling.
- This backend language is more suitable for web applications instead of mobile applications. Python definitely needs much room for improvement when it comes to creating mobile apps.
- Python is also not an ideal programming language for memory-consuming apps. Memory management is arduous with Python. Furthermore, developers don’t choose it for client-side programming due to slow speed and high memory consumption problems.
- Runtime errors and incompatibility of various versions are also some limitations of Python.
Ruby is a general-purpose, interpreted and open-source backend language that was initially made public in 1995. This programming language is famous among the development community because of its simple syntax and concise code properties.
Although it is not counted in the most popular languages in different surveys but it is still a top-paying technology. A recent study by Stack Overflow ranks Ruby in 5th position among the highest paying scripting languages. According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a Ruby developer is $131,282/year in the United States.
Airbnb, Stripe, Twitch, and StackShare are leading businesses that use Ruby for their tech stacks.
Interpreted Language — Developers don’t need to take the tension of the compiler and its setting with Ruby. Yes, it is an interpreted programming language and confers cross-platform support with improved development speed.
OOP Support — Ruby comes with complete object-oriented programming support. In this regard, Ruby emphasizes tasks or objects instead of logic and functions. However, if you like procedure-oriented programming, then Ruby also permits you to follow it. Indeed, it doesn’t bind you with OOP only.
Mixins — It is a unique feature of Ruby that permits the developer to add scripts into a class. You can also call it a contained method of injecting functionality into a class or classes. In short, it enables the coders to get desired functionality through a mixin class.
Dynamic & Duck Typing — With dynamic typing functions, you can examine the type in runtime rather than while compiling. Dynamic typing also aids in reducing the Ruby scripting and compiling duration. By the same token, duck typing works under dynamic types. With this kind of typing, coders don’t really need to inspect the typing in any manner.
Garbage Collector — Ruby empowers developers with the property of garbage collectors to avoid the headache of memory management. Garbage collectors have the ability to operate in the background and perform their tasks when it is needed.
Ruby is considered one of the most secure backend technologies. This language has the ability to protect an application in case of attack. Hereof, it has built-in properties to safeguard applications from CSRF, SQL injection and XSS attacks. Ruby also secures all kinds of sensitive data when you combine it with the framework ‘Rails’.
Another benefit of using Ruby is its massive support in terms of libraries and gems. Ruby is an open-source programming language, so it is seamless to find third-party libraries and resources for projects. In this regard, development teams also benefit from gems to inject functionalities without scripting new codes.
Probably many of us know Ruby by the name of Ruby on Rails. Ruby is basically the language, and Rails is a prevalent framework. According to a recent survey of Statistics and Data, Ruby on Rails is the 5th most popular backend framework with 51k+ repository stars on GitHub.
If you don’t like restrictions while coding, then you must try Ruby. Yes, it is a super flexible programming language that allows you to script distinct sections of your application freely. Likewise, you can use the symbol ‘+’ and the readable word ‘plus’ to perform the function of addition. In this regard, you just need to make a few modifications in the numeric class of Ruby.
- Although Ruby is a popular backend language but it doesn’t have much community support. Especially when we compare Ruby with PHP, Python, JS and C#, it has limited online resources and community support.
- Similarly, Ruby doesn’t confer proper documentation updates for most of Ruby Gems. Due to the unavailability of documentation for nerdy Gems and Ruby libraries, developers usually depend on popular toolsets only.
- It is also hard to sort out the structural deficiencies of Ruby. Any incorrect decision can turn into a severe drawback.
PHP is also another solid general-purpose backend programming language for web applications. This programming language is typically used to build the server-side of interactive and dynamic websites. According to W3Techs, 77.3% of live websites use PHP in their backend development. Similarly, TIOBE Index includes PHP in its list of top 20 programming languages.
Around 45649 businesses claimed to use PHP on StackShare. In this regard, the major tech giants that are benefiting from PHP are Facebook, WhatsApp, Slack, Lyft, Stack and MasterCard.
Web Servers & Database Support — PHP shows harmony for almost all kinds of local web servers. Hereof, it supports numerous open-source servers, including Netscape, Apache HTTP Server, Lighttpd, Internet Information Services and much more. By the same token, PHP also confers unconditional backing for famous databases like MySQL and SQLite.
Understandable Syntax — The syntax of PHP is very simple and understandable. Its file typically consists of scripting codes and HTML tags. The simplicity of syntax also keeps developers very comfortable while PHP coding.
Control — PHP is a perfect backend language for businesses that want complete control of their websites. This language doesn’t only perform complex tasks with a short code, but it also permits utmost control to development teams. Indeed, teams or businesses can make changes within code anytime seamlessly.
Error Handling — With built-in error constants and functions, PHP has the ability to examine errors in runtime. Hereof, the elementary methods to deal with errors in PHP 5 are try, catch and throw. By the way, developers can also utilize the feature of error_reporting() according to the level of glitch.
Platform-Independent — To save time, money and energy for development teams, PHP has the ability to work with all operating systems, including Windows, Unix, Mac and Linux.
Another appealing advantage of PHP is its cost-efficient property. PHP is an open-source and entirely free-to-use backend programming language. Even it is inexpensive to hire a PHP developer for a web project compared to Ruby, Java and Scala. Uniformly, this language is compatible with numerous web servers and databases that keep the PHP development cost minimal.
PHP code execution is rapid compared to other languages because it utilizes memory. Therefore, it fastens the loading time and reduces the load over servers. This situation leads to improvement in performance and processing speed. Moreover, the use of functions to monitor and optimize memory also helps developers to enhance the performance of apps.
PHP provides massive community support to developers. It is seamless to find PHP tutorials, updated documentation, resources and FAQs online. Hereof, PHP has 34.3k repository stars and 7.3k forks only on GitHub, and around 1,445,172 questions are available on Stack Overflow with the PHP tag.
- PHP is not considered a secure backend programming language because of its open-source nature. Moreover, smooth access to ASCII text files of PHP apps makes them more vulnerable to various security breaches and cyber threats.
- If we compare PHP with other server-side languages, it lacks advanced error handling and debugging tools. Additionally, the quality of available error handling tools of PHP is still questionable.
- PHP is not an advisable programming language if you are building a large web application. Also, this scripting technology confers limited opportunities to alter the conduct of frameworks.
Java is an object-oriented, fast and open-source backend language that was made public in 1995. Although Java is famous for constructing desktop applications but it is good at building IoT, Big Data, gaming consoles, Android and web applications.
TIOBE Index for 2022 lists Java at 3rd rank among the most popular programming languages with 11.72% ratings. In addition, it also owns 6th rank when it comes to most popular technologies as per a recent Survey of Stack Overflow.
According to StackShare, eBay, LinkedIn, Amazon, Snapchat, and Pinterest are prominent companies that use Java for distinct tech stacks.
Platform-Independent — With the functioning of WORA (write once, run anywhere), Java developers can execute the script on multiple operating systems, including Windows, Mac and Linux. It is not only easy to build and operate platform-independent apps, but they also provide excellent market reach.
Polyglot — It is a dominating feature of Java 8. It is basically a program that permits developers to execute scripts in various languages. Yes, this script has the ability to perform similar functions in different languages.
Multithreading — Multithreading in Java inflates CPU usage by carrying out two or more threads at the same time. This lightweight Java function doesn’t only reduce the development time but also safeguards the users from any kind of restrictions when they conduct numerous operations spontaneously. This feature also saves memory because it depends on shared memory.
Static & Dynamic Binding — Java grants both kinds of static and dynamic binding to its users. In static binding, it is the compiler that decides the class of an object. Howbeit, the object is verified at runtime in dynamic binding. By the way, dynamic binding is considered more helpful and advanced. It also creates an adaptive environment for coders.
Java is a simple, stable, easy-to-learn and understandable programming language. Especially if we talk about its syntax and debugging codes, they are super easy to utilize. Another reason for the simple nature of Java is the removal of complicated properties. Yes, Java has nullified its perplexing functions, including operator overloading, explicit pointers and storage classes.
Similarly, the removal of explicit pointers also makes Java a more secure backend language. Indeed, the absence of explicit pointers overcomes the security risks such as wrongful access to the app’s memory. By the way, Java also confers a Security Manager feature to determine the ways to approach classes.
The programming cost of Java applications is also very economical. You don’t need any particular hardware to execute Java codes. Indeed, you can simply build and run Java applications on any machine. This property of Java definitely lowers the development costs.
If you are searching for a stable, portable and platform-independent backend language for your enterprise application, then you should trust Java. In this regard, you will find Java a scalable language that allows you to extend resources smoothly. The tremendous library support of Java also makes it a powerful programming language for enterprises.
Java provides huge community support to its users. It has 47.6k repository stars and 15.6 forks on GitHub, which means you will find several projects and resources. Correspondingly, several Java discussion forums like Stack Overflow, Reddit, Oracle Java Forum, JavaRanch and Java Programming Forums are also available to address Java-centric questions of novices and fellow developers.
- The unavailability of data backup functions is a core disadvantage of using Java. Though you find data storage here but backup service is absent here.
- The graphical user interface builder of Java looks complicated when you compare it with other popular languages.
- Due to garbage collection and JVM functions, Java also consumes more CPU and memory. These problems also lead to sluggish performance of apps.
C# or C Sharp is a backend programming technology that affiliates with a family of ‘C’ languages. This modern, functional, object-oriented language is relatively new compared to other programming technologies. Yes, it was launched in 2000 to build highly portable gaming apps, enterprise solutions and desktop programs with robust internationalization backing.
According to the TIOBE index 2022, C# is the 5th most popular scripting technology with a rating of 4.88%. Furthermore, C# also got 29.72% votes from professional developers in a recent Stack Overflow survey.
The prominent apps that are scripted in C# are Paint.NET, FoxSports, KeePass, Tableau and Microsoft Visual Studio.
Component-Oriented — C# utilizes advanced technology to create applications that are component-oriented. This highly scalable approach uses the combination of both contemporary and already existing components.
Interoperability — This feature of C# permits the developers to retain and get the benefit of current contributions in unmanaged code. The script that is executed outside of common language runtime is known as unmanaged code.
Object-Oriented — C# is an object-oriented backend language that provides complete support for Data Encapsulation, Inheritance and Polymorphism. This property of C# also makes scripting very convenient for coders.
Type-Safe — Developers can spontaneously examine the arrays and build error-prone codes with the Type-Safe feature of C#. Fast development is an alternate advantage of Type-Safe.
Probably, many of you take C# as a difficult programming language, but in actuality, C# is very simple to code, understand and learn. It allows the developers to halt coding before any error. So programmers can analyze and fix the problem. Furthermore, you also wouldn’t find multiplex operators in C#.
With various built-in functions, C# facilitates the backend developers with massive libraries. The significant libraries that C Sharp offers are NUnit, dnSpy, Newtonsoft, Abp and Cake. Luckily, hundreds of C# libraries are also available on GitHub.
Code execution and its compilation are also agile with C Sharp. This fast development doesn’t only save time but also reduces the time to market and programming costs. On the contrary, it is also seamless to scale and update data of C Sharp applications. It allows businesses to update apps with new data and remove old data.
As we know, C# is a product of Microsoft, so it is obvious to have great community support while using this language. Businesses get frequent updates, several helpful resources and discussion forums in this regard.
- C# is a tough language contrasted to Python, Java, PHP and JS. Developers need to understand several .NET libraries before using this scripting language.
- By the same token, the dependence of C Sharp on .NET is a core drawback of using this server-side language.
- It is also unimaginable to script low-level solutions with C Sharp. Yes, you can’t connect with hardware promptly by using drivers etc.
Perl is a cross-platform, functional and high-level programming language that was initially introduced in 1987. In the beginning, Perl was designed to conduct text manipulation tasks, but nowadays, this technology is used for network programming, system administration, GUI and web development.
Howbeit, Perl is not included in the category of popular languages like Java, Ruby, PHP, JS and Python. Perl 5 has only 1.4k repository stars on GitHub.
The leading tech giants that still use Perl for various tech stacks are Venmo, Amazon and Booking.com.
Object-Oriented & Procedural — Whether you want object-oriented or procedural programming, you can find both properties in Perl. It is totally your choice to pick a top-down or bottom-up programming approach for your application.
Functional Programming — Perl also allows developers to build applications using pure functions. With this property of Perl, it becomes easy for coders to create a highly maintainable program.
Database Support — The Database Interface (DBI) of Perl backs third-party databases. It permits coders to integrate popular databases like MySQL, Oracle and Postgres. Perl also uses object rational mapper ‘DBIx::Class’ to make connectivity of web-based databases smooth.
Text Manipulation — This language also provides robust toolsets to process text. You can also utilize this feature of Perl with natural languages, XML and HTML.
Perl is an entirely free, open-source backend programming language that works under the Artistic and GNU General Public License. Similarly, it is not only compatible with different file format genres but also provides cross-platform support. Yes, Perl confers backing for more than 100 platforms hereof.
This programming language is widely used for web applications. Its model–view–controller web framework and good management of text processing make it an ideal choice for web development. The use of web application frameworks like Catalyst could be a worthy option in this regard.
If you know C language, then it is very easy for you to learn and code Perl. In this regard, Perl also grants similar to C technology properties, including LISP, Shell Script, Sed Command and much more.
- It is not hard to learn Perl, but it is also challenging to read this language. In addition, if you are a newbie or don’t have much experience with programming, you should avoid learning Perl.
- The lack of debugging toolsets is another drawback of using Perl. Indeed, it is difficult to catch and fix errors with Perl.
- The unavailability of resources, libraries and community support is another disadvantage of using Perl. Languages like Python, Java, PHP and JS provide more community support than Perl. By the same token, it is also problematic to find Perl developers.
- The absence of portability functions, slow scripting and lousy performance are also primary reasons behind not using Perl for backend development.
C++ is an imperative, strong-typed, functional and robust backend language that was made public in 1985. This written in C programming language is best for developing 3D games, operating systems, cloud storage systems, banking and GUI applications.
As a widely used language, it acquired 22.55% of votes among the most popular technologies in a recent Stack Overflow survey. Correspondingly, C++ also won 4th rank in the TIOBE Index with 9.76% ratings.
Leading technology companies that are using C++ for distinct stacks are Google, Telegram, Twitch and Roblox.
Mid-Level Programming — Whether you want high-level coding or looking for low-level programming, C++ helps you in both. That is why it is also known as a mid-level programming language.
Portable — C++ is known as a highly portable programming language. It means C++ allows businesses to compile the source code on different platforms and distinct versions of compilers without any amendment in the script.
Compiler-Based Programming Language — Interpreted languages are typically operated through direct and line-by-line executions. However, compiler-based languages are faster because they straightforwardly translate the source code in the machine. As a compiler-based language, C++ is not only fast, but it also has more control over CPU and memory consumption.
Case Sensitive — C++ is a case-sensitive backend scripting technology that changes the meaning of a keyword when you write it in upper and lower case. Likewise, the meaning of ‘age’ will be taken differently when you write it with lowercase ‘age’ and uppercase ‘AGE’.
C++ is one of the highly extensible backend languages. It permits the developers to enhance resources with the passage of time to deal with large applications. Or even you can smoothly reduce the resources according to the need of your program. Similarly, you can also utilize this platform for both small or enterprise-level applications.
C++ is not only an ideal choice for building modern video games but is also highly demanded in online banking, database management, web browsers and the cloud market. Therefore, the demand for C++ developers is high in the market. Or in other words, C++ engineers can surely get employed.
C++ is an established programming language, so it is seamless to find related resources, online tutorials, scripts, libraries and communities for it. You will find around 775,707 questions with C++ tags on Stack Overflow. Correspondingly, it also owns 20k+ repository stars on GitHub.
If you are familiar with popular languages like Java, C and C Sharp, then it is handy for you to understand and learn C++. Yes, the syntax of C++ is familiar to these languages. Moreover, the compatibility of C++ with C is another attractive advantage of using this backend technology.
- It is really difficult to deal with pointers in C++. The use of pointers doesn’t only consume more memory, but its misuse can lead to a system crash as well.
- The absence of garbage collectors is also a major drawback of C++.
- Similarly, the lack of built-in thread, security, custom operators and algebraic data types are also disadvantages of this language.
Kotlin is another reliable cross-platform programming language that is usually used to build client and server-side of Android applications. Although Kotlin was introduced in 2011 as an advanced alternative to Java, but you can interwork with Java.
Google, Pinterest, Trello and Zomato are prominent companies that use Kotlin for tech stacks of Android versions of their applications.
Interoperability with Java — It has vast interoperability with Java. Yes, Kotlin supports Java libraries, tools and JVM. It could be a great alternative to Java, mainly if you want to update an old Java-based system with new technologies.
Lazy Loading — With this interesting property of Java, Android engineers can carry the resources in the core memory. This feature is really beneficial for coders to overcome startup time.
Smart Cast — This feature empowers the compiler of this language to monitor the inside situation of an expression. Although it lowers the app’s speed but is also known for better performance.
Kotlin is a low-cost programming language. It is open-source and fermium, which means businesses don’t need to spend anything for its licensing. Its compatibility with Java makes it an inexpensive choice to switch from Java to Kotlin.
Easy to understand and clean syntax is also an appealing advantage of Kotlin. The lines of its script are not only short but also written with great clarity. Especially if you switch from Java, you will have to write less code.
Kotlin is considered a relatively safe backend scripting language. Likewise, it provides several tools like NullPointException to avoid errors and bugs.
- The unavailability of Kotlin professionals in the programming market is a big drawback of using this language.
- Insufficient community support, resources and slow compilation speed are also disadvantages of Kotlin.
If you are in search of an object-oriented and statically typed programming language, then you should consider Scala. This scripting technology depends on JVM to construct bytecode. Furthermore, developers utilize this backend language for web development, data processing and computing tasks.
Interoperability with Java — JVM is used to operate Scala. That is why it is seamless to utilize the libraries of Java while using Scala. It also enables programmers to benefit from scripting code in Scala and Java at the same time.
Statically Typed — Although this language gives a feeling of dynamic typing, but its static typing property avoids code errors. This typing approach also backs generic classes and polymorphic methods.
Highly Functional — Functions could be taken as variables in Scala, and developers can script the code through both function or object-oriented programming. Later, they can go with a hybrid method.
It is not only easy to choose Scala if you have knowledge of Java, but it is also a very productive language. Indeed, you just need to write a short code with Scala. Probably, you just need to script three lines of code for Scala, but for Java, you will possibly have to write a code of 9 lines.
Scala is a highly extensible language that gives a free hand to businesses and developers to use it for growing programs. Hereof, this language keeps this scaling process fault-tolerant.
- Scala has limited community support, and it is hard to find reliable resources and libraries.
- It is also complicated to understand Scala because of its hybrid nature.
- Limited availability of expert developers is a drawback of using Scala.
We designed this guide to provide all necessary backend languages’ insights, including their benefits, features and limitations. Hopefully, it will help all sizes of businesses, startups and programming communities in finding reliable backend technologies for their projects.