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Front End vs Back End Code

Hey everyone! As we start talking more about the technical aspects of your website, I figured that this week, it would be good to go over the difference between front end code and back end code and how they relate to your website. Knowing the difference is a fundamental step toward understanding the ins and outs of your website.

Front end code runs everything that you see and interact with. The structure of the page, the fonts, the animations – these are all part of the front end. The languages that we use on the front end are:

  • HTML (Hypertext Markup Language): this gives the page structure. The layout and flow of the page is all defined in the markup. Paragraphs, images, links, and more are all part of the HTML.

  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): this makes your site look good. CSS takes the HTML structure of the page and defines variables such as fonts, colors, the size of elements, etc. Without CSS, all webpages would look like they were straight out of 1992.

  • Javascript: this handles most of the dynamic content on the page, and communicates with the back end code. Anything that loads new data, handles special actions when clicking buttons, etc. is run through the Javascript.

Our main front end developers are Dan and Kyle. They’re experts at taking designs from Mike and Sarah and bringing them to life in the code.

Back end code runs behind the scenes. Any time you’re updating your site, grabbing or saving data, that’s the back end code at work. The languages we use on the back end are:

  • MySQL (SQL stands for Structured Query Language): this is what we use to store, organize, and grab data. MySQL is what’s known as a relational database system – you can create tables for different parts of the site (items, categories, etc) that are somewhat similar to Excel tables, but you can also link the tables using queries to grab data in very dynamic ways.

  • PHP (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor): this language does the heavy lifting on the back end of the site. PHP is responsible for getting everything together, including the HTML, CSS, Javascript, and data from MySQL and passing it back to your browser.

Bryan, Ross, Sean, and I are the main back end developers at Punchmark. Our job is to get all of the data together, then pass it to Dan and Kyle to make it pop.

Hopefully this helps you understand a bit more about front and back end code and what they’re useful for. If you have any questions about this, feel free to ask!

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