Frontend vs Backend Development: What Comes First When Building a Web App? [2023 Update]

XB Software
3 min readJan 31, 2022

The question of whether you should handle the frontend or backend part of a web application first may sound pretty easy. Nevertheless, answering it may require more effort than you think and often depends on the project’s purpose and requirements. Various starting conditions don’t allow developers to follow the same pattern in all possible scenarios and create too many ifs and buts.

What if we want to build a website? Or, a web application? What if it’s a high load system? Where should we start when our task is to modernize a legacy software solution? And this is just the beginning. For example, what if a desktop application has a perfect look and feel, but we need to migrate it to the web? Also, if we want to find a sponsor, what’s the best approach to giving a proper embodiment to our startup idea? And finally, what should be the decision path in all these cases if there’s no silver bullet out there? Let’s find out.

Step 1. Deal with Documentation

Despite all the differences between the mentioned web development projects, you should start with documentation in all scenarios. Thanks to the documentation and subsequent discussion, all project participants will have the same understanding of major goals, requirements, and challenges that may appear during the project implementation.

Otherwise, by the time the project starts, one or more of them may have their own vision of the final result or requirements for achieving it. Here’s how Omar Khayyam talked about people seeing and understanding the same thing differently:

In one window looked two. One saw the rain and mud.

Other — green foliage ligature, spring and the sky is blue.

In one window looked two.

Also, for better understanding, it is advisable to visualize the documentation with some screenshots, which can help reduce the likelihood of misunderstanding between involved parties.

Step 2. Classify Challenges and Eliminate Them Where It’s Possible

Whether challenges are related to backend or frontend development, you must classify them according to how critical they are for the project and how difficult they are to overcome. Next, you should prioritize challenges to determine in what order they will be dealt with. If your list has an insurmountable challenge, you’ll need to revise the project’s requirements or goals. In some cases, project implementation may be considered impractical, so you can honestly tell yourself that it’s not worth even starting. In other cases, introduсing changes to the project requirements can give it the green light.

Sometimes, to understand if the goal is reachable, you need to build a small prototype. Suppose the key feature of your product is the interactivity of the product UI, provided by quick search through a vast database. In this case, the prototype will include the frontend, generating user requests, and the backend that has a database and processes these requests.

If there are challenges, you should start by resolving them according to priority, regardless of which side, frontend or backend, they belong to.

Do you want to know more? We covered the further steps in detail in our article here: https://xbsoftware.com/blog/front-end-or-back-end-development/

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XB Software

#Outsourcing IT company with a focus on #web and #mobile app development in #ReactJS, #NodeJS, #JavaScript, and more. xbsoftware.com