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Web Design Tools 101: Front End Tools vs Back End Tools.

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So you're a business owner in Port Macquarie and you need to revamp your business’s website. Do you know where to start?

Maybe you've tried to do some research online but only end up frustrated and confused, especially when it comes to which web design tools should be used for different needs.

You know you need to hire a web design agency – you’ve barely got spare time for a lunch break, let alone learning how to code.

Well, we're going to cut through the jargon and BS and explain the web design tools used by professional web developers (and DIY business owners) to build and why they choose these specific tools.

First Things First… What is Front-End And Back-End Web Development?

A web development team is split into two sides, front-end developers and back-end developers and we're not talking about Sir-Mix-A-lot lyrics so get your head out of the gutter.

Let me explain.

Front-end developers are more visual thinkers who build and focus on how the website looks.

Front end developers are responsible for everything the viewer interacts with and everything you're seeing on the screen right now and always. It's the text, where the videos are placed, the ads, the content, etc.

Frontend developers need to work closely with the UI or user interface team to ensure that the display that was agreed upon is the display on the web page. The front end devs are continually paying attention to be sure the project is on point and following the client's guidelines.

Both front and backend developers create by using a mix of these programming languages they just use different web languages to express them.

  • HTML - makes what you see on a webpage
  • Javascript - communication between the frontend and backend of a project.
  • CSS - adds style, colour, and font to the website

Front and backend developers know the same languages but will use different tools to express them.

Backend developers are more rational and abstract. They build how the website works.

Backend developers are responsible for the way the website functions. They usually have critical thinking skills and attention to detail. Backend developers know how data is stored and if it's stored securely.

Backend Developers are the backbone of the application or website, and they need to be versed in programming languages like

  • Python, and
  • Cloudflare

Backend developers use these to create a server, storing all of the data and code so that the website performs well.

Now that we’ve covered what front-end and back-end development means (and doesn’t mean), let’s dive into the different web design tools used by these two types of web development.


3 Front-End Developer Tools

  • Bootstrap
  • Tailwind CSS
  • Sketch
  • Sanity

Bootstrap

Bootstrap is a popular CSS framework utilized to make responsive and mobile-first websites.

What is a CSS framework you ask? CSS stands for cascading style sheets, which are a set of rules dictating how the website looks.

CSS frameworks are valuable to developers because they don’t have to reinvest the wheel every time they approach a new project. A CSS framework like Bootstrap has pre-prepped stylesheets for setting up standard web pages.

What is a responsive website, you say?

A responsive website is one that automatically proportions a webpage when the browser box changes sizes.

Bootstrap is a great web design tool that makes it effortless to build a responsive website.

Having a mobile responsive website is crucial to making a good first impression with customers (most of whom will be on their smartphones). Further, Google will actually penalise your website if it’s not mobile-optimised, so ticking that essential box guides you in the direction of a successful website.

Tailwind CSS

Tailwind CSS is a utility-based framework that can help customise your website, making this web design tool totally unique. It allows the web developer to create specific add-ons just for your website!

Tailwind writes code using the three languages we spoke of earlier. HTML, Javascript and CSS. The software has a toolbox of "utilities" developers use to shape your website in a completely original way.

Did you ever play with those 3D puzzle balls with the pieces shaped like stars, squares and triangles that fit only in the hole of the same shape? Well, traditional CSS is like that.

CSS like that of WordPress where there are hundreds of themes available, but you've seen them all before. The result will always be the same, which is fine (I guess), but with Tailwind CSS, you get so much more, which is the best!

Tailwind uses Headless CSS which might sound creepy, but it's basically like having infinite shapes of all types and sizes at the tips of your (or in this case your web designer's fingers) to mould into an authentic website.

At Phiranno Designs, we use Tailwind CSS to create a distinctly rare website for your business that is genuinely yours.

Cool, right? No one else will call you a poser or anything.

Sketch

Sketch is a collaborative web design tool from Mac that has been very popular, not just for web developers, but for social media and YouTube influencers.

Sketch is very easy to use – kind of like Photoshop for dummies – which is what makes it so accessible to users outside the web development and graphic design space.

It uses vector design. Vector design allows images to be resized to any dimension without losing their shape or sharpness, which is a huge positive for achieving a responsive web design that works on all screens.

The downside? Well, Sketch is great if you’re attempting DIY because it’s so accessible. But, for most professional web developers, it’s just too basic.

Sanity

The speed of Sanity is...insane.

Sanity is a CMS or content management system and trusted web builder used by several big brands and experienced web designers. Content management systems allow you to edit, add, or remove content on your website – such as your blogs or web pages – without disturbing the back-end workings.

Sanity offers the versatility to flow through APIs easily, treating all UI or the stuff on your screen as data, so it's not doing all this extra work to show you a blog post or video.

Sanity is a headless CMS which I realise sounds crazy but it really just means that the user interfaces allow front and back end developers to separate the content (front end) from the presentation (back end). This makes everything more straightforward for everyone involved.

Lucky for you, the team at Phiranno Designs live and breathe web design tools like this. With Sanity alongside other incredibly powerful tools and software, they deliver fast and attractive websites fully customised to suit your business.


Backend Developer Tools

  • Python
  • Cloudflare
  • React

Python

Python has become outrageously popular in recent years. You can't see a web development tutorial on youtube without a mention of Python.

The name makes it sound dangerous, but it's just another language for back end developers building applications.

Python is known for its speed and ease of use. It has even become the best language for educational purposes and is used in 69% of programming classrooms in the US.

This trending language has been sought after by web programmers, engineers and data scientists alike.

The downside to Python is that it can be slow, because it’s a language, which basically means it requires more instructions to achieve a certain task, whereas other programming languages are more direct.

Cloudflare

Cloudflare is a DNS or Domain Name System. Remember phone books? Well, DNS is like a giant digital phone book of every website in existence.

Whenever you open an app, or send an email, you are using DNS. It is the directory of the internet. It's starting to sound like the Matrix, and it's freaking me out.

Cloudflare runs the fastest DNS in the world, so tell your global clients to get ready for quicker loading times when you design your website with Phiranno!

Cloudflare emphasises a quality product with a privacy-first mission to protect consumers from lending their browsing data to every site they visit.

Most consumers don't realise that as they roam around the internet, their data is being stored and then used for marketing and any monetisation opportunity.

At PhirannoDesigns, we use Cloudflare because we take out jobs seriously and our client's satisfaction, protection, and privacy is our job.

React

React is a relatively new web design tool developed by Facebook for web and mobile applications. React is a Javascript library. This might mean nothing to you, but it makes web pages more exciting and responsive to input.


React can be updated and re-tested quickly, that's why it's increasing in popularity, as well as it's the ability to reuse code components. This is super advantageous to developers since they're always reusing logos and designs throughout a website.

React is also an open-source community and is constantly updating and changing. Change can be good, but in this case, there are some complaints.

Users say that the platform changes so often that they are re-learning almost daily. I don't know about you, but I can't imagine almost getting something down and then having it flipped on its head. We deal with that enough in life, do we need it in technology too?

Conclusion

Don't worry; you don't have to choose between front-end and back-end development, it's not a contest – all websites consist of a front-end and a back-end. There wouldn't be one without the other and there would be no website without either.

If you're looking into creating a website, a full stack web developer is the jack of all (web development) trades and takes your website from non-existent to magnificent.

A full-stack developer knows coding to content, and everything in between and at Port Macquarie happens to have a team of them.

At Phiranno Designs, we have tested and "tried on" several different development tools in an effort to find the best combination of front and back end software to make beautiful, classy, fast, websites.

Give us a call and let take your business to the next level with web design.