The 8 Most Popular Backend Frameworks for Web Development

Originally posted on makeuseof.

Want to choose a backend framework for your application? Make sure you select the right one.

Building the backend of a website is much easier these days, thanks to the plethora of web frameworks that make it super easy to create API routes, apply middleware, integrate databases, and add other backend features.

This article covers what a backend framework is, the benefits of using a backend framework, and a list of popular backend frameworks for web development.

What Is a Backend Framework and What Are Its Benefits?

Backend frameworks are libraries of server-side programming languages designed to help you build the backend of a website. These frameworks provide a set of tools and components for building dynamic web applications.

There are several benefits of using a backend framework rather than coding the server from scratch. Here are some of the most important ones:

  • Increased productivity: Backend frameworks help you quickly create web applications with high-level programming languages. This reduces the amount of coding and simplifies complex development tasks. For example, the Laravel framework provides its own set of models and middleware classes that you can include in your code to add extra functionality without having to code the functionality from scratch.
  • Improved security: Backend frameworks come with built-in features that help to prevent the security risks of your backend application. Of course, you, the developer, might have to enable or activate these features during development for them to take effect.
  • Scalability of end application: Some backend frameworks are structured such that the end applications can scale up or down depending on the user demand. However, if you built the web application from scratch without using a framework, it might be hard for you to structure code in a way that makes the application scalable and efficient.
  • Easy to learn: Popular backend frameworks are well-documented and have a large community of developers that can provide help when needed.

To help you choose the best backend framework for web development, we’ve compiled a list of the eight most popular and widely used options in the industry:

1. Express.js

Express.js is a framework used to create web applications that run on Node.js. It’s designed to be minimal, flexible, and easy to use. It also runs on multithreaded Node.js, enhancing the performance of end applications.

The framework provides several features and tools that make it easier to develop web applications. These include template engines, routing, and support for the most popular web servers. It also provides robust functionalities for designing RESTful APIs and libraries for adding extra features such as sessions and logging.

2. Laravel

Laravel website interface

Laravel is an open-source web application framework written in PHP. It is based on the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architectural pattern and includes features that make it easier to develop web applications.

One of its most popular features is the built-in authentication system, which allows you to quickly create registration and login forms without writing the code yourself. Another outstanding feature of Laravel is its powerful routing system that allows you to define custom routes for your application.

Laravel also provides a templating engine called Blade. Blade is very similar to HTML, but has some extra features. For example, you can use PHP code inside your Blade templates that simplify building dynamic views and web pages.

Another feature of Laravel is its powerful ORM called Eloquent. This is used to interact with databases and perform complex queries without having to write SQL code.

3. ASP.NET Core

ASP.NET official website screenshot

ASP.NET Core is an open-source and cross-platform framework for building cloud-based web applications using .NET. It is an extension of the ASP.NET framework that combines the best features of the .NET framework with new technologies for building modern web applications.

ASP.NET Core offers several advantages, including:

  • Cross-platform support: ASP.NET Core runs on Windows, Linux, and macOS. You can deploy your apps to any of the major cloud platforms, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.
  • High performance and scalability: The framework has been optimized for performance and scalability, making it an excellent choice for modern web applications.
  • Modular design: Its modular design makes it easy to add and remove features as needed, without having to rewrite the entire application.
  • Security: ASP.NET Core includes several security features, such as built-in authentication, authorization, and support for encrypting data.

Overall, ASP.NET Core is a powerful and modern framework for building web applications. At the same time, it’s easy to use and is highly performant.

4. Spring Boot

spring boot official website screenshot

Spring Boot is an open-source, Java-based framework used to create stand-alone, production-grade applications. It simplifies the development process by providing a set of tools that can be used to quickly create and deploy applications.

The framework is built on the popular Spring Framework, which enables developers to quickly create robust and secure applications with minimal coding. The framework provides autoconfiguration, command-line tools, embedded servers (Tomcat or Jetty), starters, and actuators.

5. Django

django official website screenshot

Django is an open-source web framework written in Python. It is based on the Model-View-Controller (MVC) software architectural pattern and is designed to enable the rapid development of secure and maintainable websites.

The framework focuses on reusability, pluggability, low coupling, rapid development, and the principle of don’t repeat yourself. It provides an object-relational mapper (ORM), a templating language, an authentication system, and many other features.

6. Flask

flask official website screenshot

Flask is a Python-based micro web framework used for developing web applications. It is lightweight but also very extensible and supports several libraries and tools.

The framework is easy to learn and use. You can use Flask to create any backend application ranging from simple APIs to powerful backend applications with databases and other advanced features. Because the framework is flexible, you can easily add features and functionality on top of your web applications, typically via other libraries.

Overall, Flask is a powerful and flexible web framework that makes creating web applications fast and easy. Its wide range of features makes it an ideal choice if you’re familiar with Python.

7. Ruby on Rails

Ruby on rails official website screenshot

Ruby on Rails (or simply Rails) is an open-source web application framework written in the Ruby programming language. It also follows the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture, which greatly simplifies development if you’re familiar with that paradigm.

Rails is popularly known for its convention over configuration approach which means that you can quickly create an application without having to configure too much. Rails also include a wide variety of features such as full-stack support, Rails plugins, and the ability to quickly create a basic website.

You also get a powerful set of tools for creating web applications, including Action Pack which provides a set of helper methods for creating HTML, XML, and JavaScript views; Active Support which provides a set of utility classes and standard library extensions; and Action Mailer that adds an easy-to-use interface for sending emails from your application.

8. Next.js

nextjs official website screenshot

Next.js is a popular React-based framework used to create fast and feature-rich web applications. It’s not a full-blown backend web framework like the other options in this list. Rather, it allows you to build server-side applications, which are faster to load and more SEO-friendly.

The framework also provides hot reloading, which allows developers to quickly see changes they make to the code without reloading the page. Other features include serverless functions and APIs, built-in routing, and built-in static site generation.

Which Is the Best Backend Framework?

No particular framework is the best for all scenarios, as each has its pros and cons. Some frameworks may be better suited to certain types of projects, depending on the features and requirements needed.

For example, some frameworks may offer more flexibility and scalability, while others may be more suitable for rapid development and deployment. Ultimately, the best framework will depend on the specific requirements and preferences of the project as well as how easy it is to integrate with frontend frameworks.

Source: makeuseof