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Backend development - what is it?

Posted by Joe Tsui on Oct 25, 2017 10:13:00 PM

You may feel confused what is a Backend system, but you must understand its role in the big picture. They are the backbone everything.

Backend systems are where you get your user's contact information, online orders, provide raw data for analytics and most of the time, also a content management system.

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Backend system might be invisible to users most of the time, but they are the backbone, and also the fire service - they do preventional measures in peace time, but in war time, they are the hero.

And in some cases, fireman failed to save lifes, which is the same as backend systems.

Information storage

A basic contact us form contains contact information need to be stored for later use. A shopping cart stores the order information, the item's pricing information, delivery addresses, payment details etc. Each of these have another layer of details linkage, so a returning customer can re-use their previously used delivery address.

Storage also includes backup plans. Computer and disks do fail from time to time, so it is important to backup just in case your computer catch fire, electrity went out or storm flood etc.

Information retrieve

Example: Sum of today's order to retrieve today's revenue, compare to yesterday's orders sum and revenue. Retrieve all user's email to send newsletter. These are some example of information retrieve.

"Big data" is a special niche when the information stored exceed 100GB. By that time, retrieving any information will take huge time and need special technology to handle the data.

Security

Backend systems also act as a gatekeeper for security. Backend systems should prevent hackers stealing information from it, and also only allow valid data saved in the system.

The security can be offload to dedicated security team, but backend systems should always aware of security measures.

Search

Search can be seen as a special niche of information retrieve. Most of the time, search systems are separated from the remaining backend systems because of its complexity.

Faceted search, content suggestions, relativity scores etc are very specific domain knowledge. 

Artificial intelligence ( AI )

Artificial intelligence had slowly become a separate part for backend systems. For example retrieve most related products using AI, or a conversational UI that need a chatbot support. 

Like search systems, they are separated most of the time because of its complexity.

Building model, provide training data, 

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