Why You as a Backend Developer Should Care about Frontend?

| 3 minutes read

If you're a backend developer writing servers in a different language than JavaScript, there is a high chance you stand really far from modern frontend development. And the frontend is more complicated than it ever was!

I want to show you the benefits of better understanding frontend developers work and how it can improve products you're creating!

As a backend developer, you should care about frontend because:

  • You will build better user experiences
  • You will have better team communication
  • You will be able to deliver features quicker

Let's dive in!

Benefit #1: Better user experiences

Do you even know how users interact with your backend? How do they create data you're handling on the backend side?

If you understand how users interact with the website or an app, you also understand what data they're providing. And that's incredibly important!

You can start building a backend that is expecting the data in the format that is actually being provided by the users. No more guessing, no more building something that half works and trying to glue it together with frontend developers building the UI to the designer's specification.

Furthermore, if you understand how the frontend works, you can start building better user experiences. Maybe there is a way to simplify data entry for your users? Perhaps there is a way to provide feedback that something is wrong before the user even tries to submit the data? All of that is possible if you understand how frontend works.

Benefit #2: Quicker development cycles

If you understand how the frontend works and what the trade-offs are, you can start making decisions that will have an impact on the development speed.

You can start optimizing your backend for the frontend. For example, if you know that the frontend is going to need data from three different backend services, it might make sense to create one endpoint that will aggregate that data instead of making three different network requests.

Of course, you need to be careful with those decisions because they might have an impact on the backend performance or scalability. But if you're working on a small feature that needs to be delivered quickly, those decisions can make a difference.

Benefit #3: Better team communication

Frontend is really demanding those days. The number of features modern web or mobile apps have, are a challenge on its own. Not even mentioning frontend tooling and learning new JS framework or a way style do CSS in your app every 6 weeks. I can't believe this joke is so old, but still true.

If you know what your frontend colleagues are up against, you will also be able to make their work easier by building backend in a certain way. Perhaps you can decouple some pieces so the frontend team can work on them in parallel? Or guide them on using the existing API and saving yourself some work!

Having compassion for frontend and providing guidance on how to query specific data or how to build certain API requests is invaluable to team building and overall trust.

If you remember nothing else from this article, remember this one.

Help others remember those points by sharing on Twitter!

Tomasz Cichociński
Written by Tomasz Cichociński

I'm a Software Engineer with over 7 years of experience. I wrote frontend, backend and mobile applications. During that time, I managed and mentored teams of software developers at different levels of experience, helping them grow in their software engineering careers.

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