Difference between Front-end, Back-End, and Middleware developers

Front-end, Back-End, and Middleware developers

In a software creation process, the person that has to handle the different aspects of the software development is a developer. The different software aspect could include designing, testing of the software, research and programming. Developers are also called software analysts or software engineers.

However, there are basically three types of developers who use their skills to develop the design, database and in-between functionalities of a software. These developers are respectively known as front-end, back-end and middleware developers.

To build or create a software, all three separate processes must combine. All three of these developers must work together to form the whole system. If a person can do the work of all three developers he/she can be called as a full-stack developer.

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Front-end Developer

This is the presentation layer or the layer that the end user will interact with most of the time, if not all the time. This layer is basically the user interface layer as it presents what elements of the software or system will be visible and how the end user will interact with the system.

As the front end needs to be visible to the end user, the front end developer would have to be proficient in web design and graphics editing software like photoshop. Normally, the code used at the front end stage includes HTML, CSS, and Javascript. This code helps the developer build the parts that will be visible to the end user. These parts include menu, folders, buttons and screen layouts. A common job that would relate to this front end layer would be a web designer.

The web designer may not know why some commands give the required answer but the web designer will be proficient in designing the look of the website. The web designer will work with the tools that are already there.

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Back-end Developer

This is the part of the layer that is not presented to the end user. Most times, this layer consists of the database(s) that controls the software and is not shown to the end user. Changes in this layer will affect the overall look and function of the software or system. This is the layer that supports actions like the end user clicking on a button, requesting data or information, or issuing a command for execution. This is the layer that responds to the action or command of the end user and submits the required information.

The codes used at the back end include PHP, Python, C++ and.Net. There will also be a need for a tool that will be able to communicate with the database. The aim of this is to help developers create applications that will be quick in searching and presenting data. The jobs available for back-end layer development are programmers.

Taking the creation of the website as an example, the back end job would be a web programmer or developer. The web developer would have to handle things like database security, content management, and website structure. What we have for websites most times are webmasters who act as both the web designer and web developer.

Middleware Developer

This is the middle layer of the application, software or system. This part of the layer functions basically as a bridge linking or tying the front end and the back end together. It can also be said to be the glue that holds the user interface and data together. Typically, this layer is where the logic layer resides. The codes used in this middleware include Java and C# and the communication tools used throughout the application are SOAP and JSON.

As the middleware layer is basically a software within a software, Middleware jobs would mostly be middleware analysts who would be able to manage systems and automated backup. Middleware analysts have to be very knowledgeable about middleware technologies.


These three layers or aspects are essential to building an application, software or system. Commonly, most software developers specialize in only one aspect of the development layer but will have a fair knowledge of the other two layers and their workings. The type of developers that are proficient in all three areas or layers of development is called ‘full stack’ developers.

Though sometimes, the layer blurs and there may not be a clear-cut differentiation between layers, especially between the front end and the back end, the three layers are still the combination of any software or system.