Like most entrepreneurs, your business-driven vision might seem far from being technical and of course, you don’t have to be an expert in tech. But you might want to know a little bit of intro to the basic tech concepts in order to make wiser business decisions that are actually technical commitments.
You might not understand clearly and completely the language of your tech partner and perhaps a small percentage of around 20% may ring a bell due to the jargon and technical terms, but we are here to help you understand that you can acknowledge the fact that you can feel a little underprivileged because of the technical terms used in a meeting or read in an offer for your business sent by a tech company, and this is natural for a non-tech entrepreneur. You can always choose to learn and grow the information and knowledge that you own. Or you can always play your part like you understand the tech language, and accept whatever tech people say because compared to you, they are geniuses of the industry and it’s too complicated for you to catch up anyway. This way you won’t look stupid but you might lose control by giving them full power since 80% of what they are talking about doesn’t make sense to you. But remember that this applies in every domain if you are not aware of the basic concepts that help you use your own mind in a productive way during a conversation, a meeting, a negotiation or planning.
So don’t lose hope, there is still a viable option that most probably will suit you best, and that is learning the basics of the tech industry to help yourself become able to make the right business decisions that are tech related while also participating in a discussion with tech stakeholders as you understand what they are saying, where the conversation is heading, how the business processes will evolve thanks to the technological progress and so on.
After reading this blog article, you should have an improved overall understanding of the terms your tech partner may discuss with you over meetings, so allow yourself a little bit of time and openness to apprehend these basic software concepts:
- Web vs Mobile
- Backend vs Frontend
- Basic web concepts (HTTP, IP, DNS & URL)
- Authorisation & Authentication
Web Development Vs Mobile Development
First of all, let’s tackle the usual misinterpretations around the concepts of Web development and Mobile development. There aren’t huge differences between the possibilities offered by a Web application and a Mobile application, their purposes are mutual since they target mobile users as well as desktop/laptop/tablet users. If the project that you’re working on is an AR (augmented reality) app or a game, then there will be some more impactful differences, but in most cases, they just do the same on different devices, so the big difference will be the User Experience (UE).
Responsive web design made it possible to have comparable interfaces for Mobile apps and Web apps, while the method of accessing it is the primary difference between them. You access a web app through a URL that runs on your computer’s browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox), while the mobile app needs to be downloaded from Google Play ( for Android) or App Store ( for IOS) and it’s easy to use since you have it on your phone screen, you just tap it and enjoy.
If you’re a non-technical entrepreneur it’s an important business decision to choose between mobile development and web development, it’s not only a tech decision since you have to take into consideration the people you target (employees, clients) with the type of app you want to acquire. Mobile and Desktop apps can be used to do the same thing and if you have to choose between these two ( we recommend choosing both of them) pick one that is aligned with the purposes of your business.
Backend vs. Frontend
For a much easier understanding of these two concepts of Backend (BE) and Frontend (FE), look at them as the mind and the body of an application where the backend is the mind and the frontend is the body. Since they are interdependent and they can’t exist one without the other, backend and frontend development have to coexist in order to have a viable software product.
When you daily use apps you will only experience the interface at the beginning and at the end of using it, that’s the only thing you can see. Since you use a device connected to the internet, seeing the interface is actually experiencing the frontend’s code that runs on your device and is accountable for several things like:
- Requesting information from servers
- Showing the information in a User Interface (UI)
- Getting User interactions
Half of the story is reduced to this. In fact, beneath the frontend which is only the surface, there lies an entire universe called the backend and it stands for all the code that runs on the servers of the app. As well as the frontend, the backend is accountable for important things like:
- Talking with other machines
- Storing data
- Serving data when requested
The backend commonly referred to as The Cloud is an immense set of servers, as you might know, that the web server is that real-life computer system that saves information in order to process requests, including the app by its very nature containing our code files and the databases needed for the proper working of that app. It’s as simple as can be.
Now that you understand the meaning of a server and its basic functions, you can get a deeper knowledge of the backend and frontend. There’s a huge internet activity around the world, so we need to discover how the frontend communicates with the backend. The servers can manage a big amount of requests while always being in charge of serving accurate information to the right devices. So this next concept is the answer:
The internet was founded on the concept of HTTP which is a set of rules or a protocol created to determine how devices communicate with each other. HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) created the concept of hyperlinks from the user’s point of view, so it’s the main reason why today you can navigate the internet. The founder of HTTP was Tim Berners-Lee and we are thankful that because of his work, people like yourself are able to read this article here, today.
Just like a telephone number, the IP address calls the server to access the information stored that you need. Picture yourself accessing an image in the cloud, then you will:
- Have to know on which server it is located
- Let the server search for the specific item, it will look and work like a folder system
- Enjoy having the image served back to you after it finds it
As simple as it may look, the only difference from phone numbers is the low probability to memorize all the IP addresses from millions of servers connected to the internet and accessed every day, every week, every month, and every year. Since it’s almost impossible to memorize all of them, the following concepts called URL & DNS were created to help ease this process.
URL & DNS
The IP matches with a readable address and that is the URL and the DNS is that essential part of the internet infrastructure that makes everything match together. URL stands for Uniform Resource Locators and is made of the domain name + domain category + subdomain or path (which only applies sometimes) while DNS stands for Domain Name System and it’s used to identify servers, computers, resources or services that can be reached through the IP (Internet Protocol).
Jon Postel and Paul Mockapetris invented the DNS services and they hold the responsibility for matching IPs with URLs. All the URLs worldwide that match the right IPs is like an immense phone register and just like that, sometimes it can become out of date or even corrupt without a periodic clearing and updating.
Storage & Database
The concepts of Storage and Database get confused quite often but they are not the same thing.
We keep our files, photos, videos, documents, backups, video games, work tools, databases and more on the storage which can be a hard drive or server. Storing everything we need at a certain time is necessary and this includes databases where we keep information and organized data to make our lives easier.
So the database essentially is the memory behind all that we do that knows everything and stores what we need in the right places, while storage is the place where we keep our things, including apps, code files and the list can go on.
A set of connected spreadsheets built with several (or many) tables that can be connected is basically a classic database.
NoSQL = Non Sequel = Non Relational
All these terms refer to the same thing. In the startup world, NoSQL became very famous over the years and even though it’s also called non relational, you can still create relations with it.
Relational Databases have interconnected tables with data while Non-Relational Databases include collections of documents, still connected with each other.
The differences between them from a tech point of view are multiple,but as a non-tech entrepreneur you need to understand this big difference:
- Relational databases have structures that are rigid, but also have a tendency of being faster, meaning that the possibility of breaking the data consistency can happen at any moment you decide to change the structure.
- Non-relational databases have a higher flexibility, making it possible to keep the structure unbroken even if you decide to change the relations daily. This is the main reason why they became popular in the first place and loved by many startups, allowing daily changes of the database structures in the minimum viable product (MVP).
We advise you to choose a flexible structure that allows you frequent changes whenever you might need them if you are not entirely certain from the first day which database structure fits your business purposes better. You can also contact HyperSense Software for professional consultancy and powerful ideas that can help your business grow through digitalisation. Custom app & software development will make your company thrive.
Requesting data from databases is the process of query. This means that if you want to find something in a huge database consisting of 11 million entries, it will be exhausting trying to find the specific name you are looking for by searching one by one. What you really want and certainly need is the simplicity of finding what you’re looking for rapidly, like looking at this immense database by user which is also a type of query.
But Search really is the most easy way to help you understand what database queries are. With Search you can filter by location, age, year, month and more, having multiple query criterias on which you are able to go in detail with what you’re looking for.
The process is as follows:
First, the query begins with selecting what we want to see, by asking a name, a job position and an image without saying from whom.
Then the table we want to query is being selected by us, let’s say “employees”
“Where” becomes our next step, being the query criteria when we’re searching for the location of our specific search.
And the last part which is very simple, like the steps above are too, is the pagination, where we don’t want to see thousands of users on a single page but we prefer to see 50 at a time so we ask for this.
Now that you have the power and the knowledge to understand and face most of the tech meetings that you used to avoid, we hope that we encouraged you enough to go make your business thrive!
Contact us to find out more about what we do and how we can help you!