As the digital world continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace, the demand for efficient, powerful, and advanced backend technologies has never been greater. Backend languages can influence the project closure speed and make a difference in the success of your complex web or mobile application. So, you need to stay diligent and pay close attention to your project’s unique demands.

JavaScript, at 65.36%, ranks as the most commonly used programming language, followed by SQL at 49.43%, Python at 48.07%, Java at 33.27%, and so on – Stack Overflow Survey 2024

With so many options, selecting the best backend language can become daunting. That’s why we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide detailing the top 15 backend languages set to dominate in 2024.

Whether you’re a startup, a seasoned developer, or an established Enterprise, this blog will provide valuable insights to make informed decisions. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!

backend development languages - ISHIR

What Is Backend Development?

Backend development refers to server-side development, responsible for processing, storing, and retrieving data. Backend Development handles the logic of the server-side architecture, the integration of databases, and the development of APIs and web services to ensure the client side of the website/application functions properly.

Backend development utilizes programming languages, frameworks, and libraries to build, protect, and sustain the complex server-side architecture and protect the data from unauthorized access and attacks. It ensures the back end synchronizes correctly with the front end while handling requests, processing the data accurately & efficiently, and sending suitable responses back to the front end.

What are the benefits of using backend frameworks?

  • Provide pre-built components and tools to speed up the development process, enabling efficient processing and reducing development time and costs.
  • Provides the ability to scale. Crucial in handling high volumes of traffic and user requests.
  • Built-in security features to protect against SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and other vulnerabilities.
  • A consistent codebase eases development due to reduced errors and increased productivity.
  • Features built-in integrations with other tools and services; easily connect your apps to databases, payment gateways, email services, and other 3rd-party services.
  • A developer community provides ample support, ensures bug fixes, and provides updates to keep the framework relevant over time.

Back-end vs front-end development

Back-end development

• Deals with the database and server-side of the website or application
• Focuses on building the logic and functionality of the backend
• Concerned with data processing, storage, and management
• Involves working with APIs to connect different parts of the website/application
• Involves data security, testing, and debugging to ensure proper functioning and security
• Ensures scalability and performance of the backend

Front-end development

• Deals with the client-side of the website or application – visual design and layout
• Focuses on building the UI and UX
• Concerned with accessibility and usability
• Involves design tools like Sketch or Figma to design mockups and prototypes
• Ensures responsiveness and compatibility across different browsers and devices
• Ensures the front-end is visually appealing and easy to use

Top 15 Backend Languages

1. JavaScript:

The high-level, platform-independent, versatile, and lightweight qualities make it the most preferred backend programming language. Furthermore, JavaScript offers Multithreading for concurrent requests, Dynamic Typing, vast community support, client-side validation, stability, security, full-stack development, and much more.

• Object-oriented programming language makes it easy to reuse the code
• Interoperability means developers can integrate it with any other language
• Offers Asynchronous programming and easy scalability under tremendous load
• Gets compiled and executed on the server, leading to consistent top performance
• Popular backend frameworks include Node.js, Express.js, and Meteor.js

2. SQL:

SQL, as a query language, provides a reliable way to manipulate your backend for top-tier performance. The set of features and SQL syntax enable the optimal development of the backend and assists in handling large datasets. Working on the backend, you would need databases like PostgreSQL, SQLite, MySQL, etc., where SQL proves its usefulness.

• Ideal for ensuring scalability and handling large volumes of data and traffic
• Data stays consistent, accurate, & error-free – no integrity and duplication issues
• Syntax consistency, easily bridge with other relational databases
• Built-in security features like data encryption, user authentication, and access control
• Fast performance due to the ability to process complex queries swiftly

3. Python:

The free and open-source Python language is another familiar name in the backend development space. Python commands massive popularity, mainly due to its short learning curve, development tools, mature frameworks like Django, Robot, and Flask, and its universal nature, making it suitable for various use cases such as 3D modeling, image processing, cybersecurity, and more.

• Python is relatively easy to learn – clean syntax, readable, and intuitive
• An active developer, with extensive libraries, and frameworks
• It’s versatile, making it useful for scientific computing, data analysis, and ML
• Python is highly scalable, and that too without compromising performance
• Python integrates well with other languages and technologies

4. Java:

Java as a backend language never loses its sheen. The robustness, vast community support, and versatility make it suitable for developing Enterprise-level, reliable, and scalable backends. The flexibility, performance, range of free and open-source libraries, and ease of use make Java a reliable backend language.

• Fewer explicit pointers reduce the likelihood of a security breach
• Far less complex than C and C++. Easy to learn, develop, and maintain
• Multi-threading support leads to better efficiency and performance
• Platform independence means it can be used for application and web development
• Eclipse IDE, Maven, and Spring Framework help to create, test, and deploy the code easily

5. PHP:

The open-source server-side scripting language, cross-platform compatibility, and multiple enriching features make PHP suitable for backend development. Furthermore, swift loading speed, collection of add-ons, synergy with HTML, flexibility, and affordable hosting services make it a popular choice to develop, deploy, and maintain your backend.

• PHP has built-in support for databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle
• PHP is platform-independent – can run on any operating system
• PHP is a server-side scripting language, allowing more security and control
• PHP is easy to read and learn, making it a popular choice for amateurs
• Several frameworks like Laravel, Symfony, CodeIgniter, and CodeIgniter

6. Golang:

The open-source, statically-typed, and easy-to-use GoLang with explicit error handling and a simple learning curve makes it a reliable choice for backend development. The safer memory usage, better garbage collection, computational power, object management, and vast community support mean GoLang also figures as a go-to backend language.

• Fast load and response time results in top-tier performance
• Supports concurrency – runs multi-thread functions via GoRoutines on low RAM
• Gin, Web.go, Revel, GORM, Gorilla, and a host of other valuable libraries
• Built-in lightweight tools for running tests and reporting errors
• Clean syntax – forgoes features like classes, annotations, and inheritance

7. Kotlin:

Kotlin’s small runtime, simple learning curve, vast community support, interoperability with Java, and scalability help build robust backends. The lightweight, static typing, coroutines for concurrency, object-oriented & functional programming, and ability to integrate with other frameworks like Spring and Micronaut make kotlin ideal for backend development.

• Compact and expressive syntax significantly reduces boilerplate code
• Add functionality to existing classes using extension functions without subclassing
• Supports lambdas, higher-order functions, and immutability – making code tighter
• Built-in null safety features prevent null pointer exceptions
• Cross-platform, compatible with multiple operating systems

8. Ruby:

The dynamically-typed language comes with a clean & concise syntax, fast development cycles, and a large active community. The combination of flexibility, support for database integration, excellent performance, asynchronous I/O, and the ability to run multiple threads (concurrency) makes it a reliable backend language.

• Strong emphasis on testing, with tools like RSpec, Capybara, and Factory Bot
• The object-oriented nature means you can write modular and reusable code
• Comes with robust testing frameworks – RSpec and Cucumber
• Ruby on Rail framework conventions make quick backend development likely
• Mature ecosystem of libraries, adding new functionalities becomes easy

9. Rust:

Rust programming language performance, safety, concurrency, better generics & build tools, and expressiveness enable efficient and fast backend development. Furthermore, the absence of garbage collection, robust type system, presence of Cargo (Package Manager), memory safety, and lack of null pointers & buffer overflows optimizes backend development.

• Low-level control, efficient memory usage, high throughput, & low latency
• Valuable frameworks, Hyper, Actix, Rocket, and Warp
• Provides great integration with C, C++, and Python codebases
• Offers a rich ecosystem of quality libraries, global developers, and tools
• Concise and expressive syntax makes it easier to read and write code

10. Node.js:

The ability to code faster and easier with the vast community support and ready-to-use tools makes Node.js a popular choice for backend development. The non-blocking & Asynchronous nature, extensibility, security, efficiency, performance, and real-time responsiveness help it stand apart while building microservice (REST APIs) and serverless apps.

• Throw-catch error handling, meaning issues are caught and resolved immediately
• Handles simultaneous requests with APIs like clusters, worker_thread, and child_process
• Integrates well with C++ and scales up well to support a large number of users
• Express, NestJS, Electron, and Deno are some popular frameworks on Node.js
• GoDaddy, LinkedIn, eBay, and Trello trust Node.js

11. C#:

C# is an object-oriented and synchronous programming language with good flexibility, a friendly community, Just-on-time (JIT) compilation, and user-friendly frameworks such as ASP.NET and Blazor. C# contains Entity Framework for working with databases, besides supporting interoperability, easy integration, and high performance.

• Type-safe code and managed execution provide better security to your source-code
• Garbage collector makes memory allocation and deallocation better
• Strong typing, catch errors in compilation
• Cross-functional development supports multiple backend systems
• Support for ML and data science, thorough ML.NET and NumSharp libraries

12. Perl:

Perl is a powerful and flexible backend development language with strong support for text processing and rapid development. Supports several libraries and modules for building scalable, secure, modular, maintainable, and reliable backend systems that guarantee top performance. Perl also has strong community support and easy availability of developers.

• Perl can easily integrate with apps running on legacy code
• Ease of Testing and debugging in Perl
• Use the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network library of packages to add more functionalities
• Comes with advanced text processing and pattern-matching capabilities
• Regular expression support helps to search, replace, and manipulate text easily

13. Express.js:

Express.js is a lightweight, open-source, customizable, scalable, cross-platform, and flexible framework with a large ecosystem of expert developers, libraries, tutorials, and detailed documentation to ease your backend development process. It also features robust security capabilities such as HTTPS support, XSS protection, and CSRF prevention.

• Supports a range of template engines, easy to generate dynamic HTML content
• Compatible with databases like MongoDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and more
• Features a powerful middleware system – add authentication, logging, & error-handling
• Asynchronous programming and event-driven architecture ensure fast performance
• Supports parameter parsing, templating, and complex routing patterns

14. C++:

C++ is a powerful, efficient, and popular choice for its high performance, memory management, range of libraries & frameworks, and ability to deflect threats from a highly secure codebase. Furthermore, strong type-checking, exception handling, and support for operator overloading, inheritance, and preprocessor commands make it one of the best choices.

• Supports multi-threading and efficient use of system resources
• Interoperability makes it compatible with Python, Java, and C
• Community of seasoned developers, extensive documentation, and libraries
• Supports template metaprogramming – read, generate, and analyze code at compile-time
• Standard Template Library (STL) containing data structures, algorithms, and containers

15. Scala:

Scala, as a functional, concise, and object-oriented programming language, running on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), is a powerful resource for backend development. The diverse build tools like SBT and Maven, IDEs like IntelliJ IDEA and Eclipse, and extensive community support make Scala a preferred choice for an efficient and scalable backend.

• Multi-core processors for concurrency to handle multiple requests
• immutable data structures and values – number types, strings, and tuples
• Type inference means developers won’t need to specify the types of variables
• Use the Akka toolkit and Play framework to build scalable backends of large data volumes
• Build real-time processing systems using Apache Kafka and Akka Streams libraries

Wrapping Up

Each backend language has its set of pros and cons. Ultimately, the best language supports your project specs, timeline, cost spread, and in-house skills. A fit-for-purpose language ties into your project’s demands and delivers closures on time and within budget. Strategize in detail before selecting a language. If you are struggling to pick the right language, contact the experts in ISHIR; we’ll guide you and help arrange the best developers for your unique needs.

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