Three-Tier Architecture & Full-Stack Development

August 10, 2020 | 2 minute read

We often hear people talking about the three tier architecture for web development…while these tiers often have different languages, there are systems that implement a single language for all tiers

Three-Tier Architecture & Full-Stack Development

We often hear people talking about the three tier architecture for web development. In this approach, the entire web application is organized into three different layers.

  1. The presentation layer which is concerned with delivering the information to the user. So, those are usually the UI related concerns that are dealt with at the presentation layer. Here we usually have HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
  2. The business logic layer on the other hand is concerned more about the data, the data validation, the dynamic content processing, and generating the content to be delivered to the user. Here we usually have, Node, Ruby, Python, Java, C++ or PHP.
  3. This is backed up behind the scenes with the data persistence layer or the data access layer. So, this is concerned with how we store and interact with the data, typically in the form of a database and access this data through an API. So business logic layer interacts with the database like MongoDB or PostgreSQL.

Today, we could have an specialist in one of these layers.

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Also, while these tiers often have different languages, there are systems that implement a single language for all tiers.

Frontend vs Backend

Front End

Typically, in a browser where the user can access the information, and this is where we use technologies like HTML, CSS and JavaScript are used to render content for the user.

Backend

This information delivery is managed behind the scenes by a back end support which is typically implemented nowadays using technologies like PHP, Java, ASP.NET, Ruby, Python or Node.

Unifying a Single Language

There’s a trend in using one language for all three tiers. This will make one more prone to specialize as full-stack web developer. This is what Javascript tries to do by implementing for example React presentation, Node business logic and MongoDB for data access.

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So, you could have the front end implemented as a single page application using frameworks like Angular or React. You have the server side or the business logic layer being implemented using technologies like Node, which is also dependent on JavaScript, and then you have the data storage itself being implemented using technologies like Mongo DB, which stores data in the form of JSON documents. The information exchange between the server-side and the client-side is usually done using JSON as the format, and the server-side supports a REST API endpoint.

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