When the three kinds of web development are discussed, full-stack web development’s contribution to the build process is sometimes underestimated. Because it’s not simply one developer fulfilling both the front-end web development and the back-end web development roles on a smaller project where teams need to stay small. Instead, full-stack web development is the architectural bridge between the technical needs of a user and system, to the operational, functional, financial, structural and strategic needs of a business. This article provides an in-depth exploration of how full-stack web development extends well beyond the tactical considerations of the front-end and back-end to deliver enterprise-level website performance.
To start, full-stack web development considers a website’s end game at the onset of a project. There is a strategic emphasis on building system architecture that aligns front-end and back-end output to drive the desired business results. A helpful analogy is the way a house or building is made.
Whether you are constructing a dwelling or place of business, the process remains the same: define the objective. Is it to house a family? Or multiple families? Is it for providing modular leased commercial space? Or for manufacturing and distribution? An architect considers the purpose of the structure, then explores the functional needs for the space, the materials that are most suitable to those needs, and finally creates a plan.
That plan is iterated and applied across each building phase. It covers the foundation, the base structure, the walls and cladding, the entryways, the roof, the electrical service, the water service, the ventilation system, and even the landscaping. Then specialists apply their skills to construct the building according to the architect’s specification. And this is the same idea, whether you’re building a physical structure or a website. The architect is continuously engaged with all contributors and stakeholders to keep the project on course.
Because user interaction will fundamentally drive any substantial activity within the site or app, the system architect has a thorough knowledge of front-end web development. This helps them make sure that the system will fulfill all user needs as intended. Full-stack developers are very familiar with both the creative and the technical strengths of the front-end team. Additionally, full-stack development leaders possess the vocabulary and language for this functional area, so that they can ensure the tools, processes, and capacity are calibrated to the needs of the client.
System architects also know back-end web development like the back of their hand. Full-stack developers typically have strong back-end programming chops and can debug with the best of them. Because of this deep understanding of how computer technology works and has changed over time, full-stack teams are adept at connecting the technical concepts with the creative concepts, and translating across the functional areas so that both teams have what they need to deliver the technology aspect of a project.
Finally, the unique role of system and software architecture lies in deeply connecting the business needs of a client with the development teams. We’ve talked about the communication part of that, but there is also the perspective part. Like being able to evaluate how a certain approach for delivering content to users will be executed on-page, in-system, then what that means for revenue generation. And being able to explain it in each direction so that everyone is on the same page. It’s about making sure the website or app looks as intended, works as intended, and produces value as intended. Full-stack developers bridge these areas to one another, continuously monitoring and ensuring the functional pathways and layered activity achieves success for the client.
As you might imagine, bridging these distinctive areas means a system architect must maintain voluminous familiarity of many different things. The range is constantly changing, because the pace of technology innovation is ever increasing. Therefore, enterprise full-stack development requires constant engagement with the technology industry, so that market trends are considered, new solutions are incorporated in projects, and best practices are applied in each area. Full-stack developers incorporate these elements into their plans:
Although there are even more things that system architects consider, these are the big ones. And to make sense of so many potentially conflicting priorities, full-stack developers practice a three-way balancing act. Canadian computer scientist Dr. Bill Buxton has described it before, by explaining that full-stack development in every software project has three sides:
Like a spinning tetrahedron, each side must maintain equal priority and scale to the others, or it will topple. As a project scales larger in scope or funding level, each of the areas is impacted equally. And the same follows if a project has a smaller budget – everything is still equally weighed.
When all is said and done, the focus of full-stack web development is to double down on helping companies do whatever they do better. Whether that means bringing in more customers, closing more sales, or helping employees be more efficient. A system architect considers the project successful when the company has saved money or made money. And they always make sure everything is in balance. If you would like to discuss a particular system's problem for our full-stack development team to tackle, contact us today to schedule a call.
Published on: September 14, 2022 by William Jerla, Software Architecture Director