The Top 10 Backend Technologies in 2022

There are more backend technologies out there than ever before – but which are worth your while? 

It’s fair to say that the answer to this question will partly depend on your specific situation. What are you trying to build? Where do you want it to run? Would you prefer a fast development speed or the freedom to experiment creatively? 

Equally, some backend technologies do offer more benefits than others, objectively speaking. These could include: 

  • Development speed – how many lines of code do you need to write to perform a specific function, and how easy is it for developers to learn? 
  • Security – how safe is the technology to use, and how much time will you need to dedicate to fixing security issues or debugging? 
  • Flexibility – does the language support multiple paradigms, for example, or offer uses beyond building a backend database? 
  • Backend developer availability – is the technology widespread enough that you can find a developer with the skills that you need?

We’ve selected our top 10 backend technologies based on their ability to meet some or all of these criteria. Use this guide to get a basic understanding of which programming language will suit your project the most. 

1. Javascript 

What is it? 

Traditionally a frontend programming language, Javascript can now be used to build your app or website’s backend, thanks to node.js. This provides a backend runtime environment for Javascript code.

Why is it so useful? 

Using JS for your backend as well as your frontend saves hiring two sets of developers – and the costs, inefficiencies and communications issues this creates. It’s also pretty flexible as a development tool, so it’s a good bet if creativity is the order of the day.  

Anything to be aware of?

The usual Javascript caveats – node.js offers fantastic performance for anything that isn’t CPU heavy, and you’ll need to take extra care around security (third-party add-ons in particular). 

2. Python

What is it? 

A high-level object-oriented programming language that’s used for a range of purposes, including web development, data science and AI programming. 

Why is it so useful? 

Python offers fast development speed, good security and an extensive selection of libraries and development frameworks – what’s not to like?! As one of the most widespread development languages, you won’t have issues finding Python coders, and its favored position among machine learning developers make it a great choice for projects with AI components too.

Anything to be aware of? 

Python is (in)famous for channeling developers into a specific way of doing things. If you’d like the freedom to experiment, you might feel hemmed in by Python. 

3. Ruby 

What is it? 

A traditional object-oriented programming language that’s explicitly designed for web development. 

Why is it so useful? 

Ruby does one thing, and does it well. If you need fast, clean web development technology with a strong community behind it, you won’t go wrong with Ruby. Use the web development framework Ruby on Rails to speed things up even further with a library precoded modules (or ‘gems’ in Rails-speak) and other useful tools.  

Anything to be aware of? 

As a backend technology, Ruby may have passed its Web 2.0 heyday. Usage is dropping off, and Ruby struggles with compatibility with future-facing technologies like machine learning. 

4. PHP

What is it? 

A stalwart scripting language for backend web development which remains consistently popular. 

Why is it so useful? 

PHP is a great building block for dynamic web content with HTML, with a great range of frameworks to work with (e.g. Laravel, Slim). As the language has been around since 1995, you won’t have any issue finding backend developers experienced with PHP. 

Anything to be aware of? 

PHP code is comparatively difficult to maintain (especially when compared to Python), and newcomers might get stung by the language’s unusual syntax. 

5. Java 

What is it? 

A high level, object oriented development language that writes clean, easy to follow code for a variety of uses. 

Why is it so useful?

Java is focused around a ‘write once, run anywhere’ philosophy – you can write it on one OS and it will run on any device that is equipped with the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Combined with a gentle learning curve, easily scalability and fuss free maintenance, this makes Java a flexible and cost-effective backend development tool. 

Anything to be aware of? 

Java is memory heavy, which can affect performance significantly. There’s also a marked difference between the ‘look’ of GUI applications built with Java and native applications.

6. C#

What is it? 

A multi paradigm language originally developed by Microsoft which sits in the .NET framework (though you can use C# without .NET if you use an open source version of the CLR). 

Why is it so useful?

Fast and flexible with inbuilt security features, there’s little you can’t do with C# – think backend databases, blockchain and distributed ledger technology, video games and more. The C# .NET ecosystem and its concise vocabulary cut down the amount of from-scratch code you write, and there’s strong support for asynchronous programming. 

Anything to be aware of? 

As C# is a .NET language, the server you use to run your application must be Windows-based. This isn’t a disadvantage per se, but it may be limiting depending on your hardware setup.

7. Perl 

What is it? 

A flexible programming language packed with features, suitable for quick prototyping, extensive development and anything in between. 

Why is it so useful? 

Based around C and simplified, Perl puts usability at the forefront of everything. Developers can do a lot with just a few lines of code. There’s also a large amount of flexibility over how you code – Perl can be imperative, procedural, functional or object oriented depending on need. 

Anything to be aware of? 

Bugs are difficult to find thanks to text manipulation – and when you find them, they can be really tricky to fix. In other words, Perl can be fun to build with, but a nightmare to maintain. 

8. C++ 

What is it? 

Created as ‘C with classes’, C++ is a multipurpose extension of the C programming language. C++ is a multi paradigm language, so can be used for generic, imperative and object oriented programming.  

Why is it so useful? 

C++ gives developers a huge amount of control over resource and memory allocation, which is a useful level of flexibility to have when building high-performance applications. It’s also portable – you can write code anywhere without worrying about hardware compatibility. 

Anything to be aware of? 

Keep a close eye on security issues. C++ is known for system failure and corruption caused by incorrect configuration of pointers. 

9. Scala 

What is it? 

Scala is a high-level, general purpose programming language based on Java. Its main selling point is that it combines object oriented and functional programming, with a focus on usability.

Why is it so useful? 

Scala’s static types help create clean, bug-free code at scale. Designed to shed the more restrictive and time-consuming aspects of Java, Scala offers extraordinary performance once you get the hang of it, thanks to the access to the JVM and JavaScript runtimes it offers. 

Anything to be aware of?

Scala is a relatively small language with a steep learning curve. Whilst there are indications it is growing in popularity, you might have some issues finding experienced Scala developers for your project. 

10. Kotlin

What is it? 

A statically typed, general purpose programming language that’s designed to be fully interoperable with Java. 

Why is it so useful? 

Type inference means that Kotlin is more concise than Java, its parent language. Designed as a truly modern development language, Kotlin can also compile to JavaScript for frontend development (for example via React) or to native code via LLVM. Over 60% of Android developers use Kotlin for safety, efficiency and Java interoperability. 

Anything to be aware of? 

Compilation speed can be slower than Java. Since 2017, when Google announced Kotlin as one of its go-to programming languages, demand for Kotlin developers has been sky high. 

Are you struggling to find the right backend developers? 

You’ve got a project you want to build. You’re pretty certain you’ve identified the backend technologies you want to use to build it. But wait – finding backend developers that have the skills, cultural fit and availability your business needs is proving nigh-on impossible. 

If you see in-house development as a key strategic priority moving forward, all we can say is ‘keep trying’. It’s tough out there, but you will find those perfect hires eventually!

But what about if time is of the essence and you can be a little more flexible when it comes to team structure? 

Outsourcing to software development agencies like Tivix is a fast, cost-effective way to access an entire global network of backend development experts that you might struggle to attract on your own terms. 

With over a decade of experience working for Fortune 500s and early-stage startups alike, we offer comprehensive backend development services – and UX, frontend development and outsourced project management too, if needed. Check out some of our previous work here – the proof is in the pudding, after all. 

Want to find out more about what we’re about? Get in touch today – we’d love to geek out over your project and figure out how we can help further. 

Contact Tivix