How to Choose the Right Technology Stack for Web App Development
A good tech stack is the one that makes the product development cycle easier and faster and can resolve coding challenges adequately. They determine how your app will function in the future and mitigate any development risks in the future. Some of the most popular tech stacks in 2020 were MongoDB (NoSQL database), Express. js (backend web framework), Angular (js frontend framework) and NodeJS (open-source, cross-platform server). If you choose the right tech stack, the software’s codebase will be easy to maintain, and your developers would be able to code, debug, test and deploy faster.
What is a technology stack?
A tech stack is a system of programming languages, software products, server infrastructure, and frameworks, all a collection of technologies that work together to create a web/mobile application, website, or digital products. Think of the product/service as the bridge or a building that people use, but do not necessarily know the technology, tools, and materials that go into making it. A technology stack is exactly that, the underlying structure that builds the final product for customers to use.
Why should a company care about a technology stack?
Choosing the right technology stack is necessary to produce a digital product of the highest quality and efficiency so that it reaches the markets far and wide and earns good ROI for the client. The product needs to perform well, be secure and stable, and provide a good UX/UI to users. This can be accomplished by putting together the technology stack that meets every specific requirement to reach business goals and doesn’t compromise on quality.
What are the components of a technology stack?
Two sides are known as the front-end which is the client-side or the server-side back-end.
Backend or the server-side includes operating systems and web servers along with language. can be built with full development programming languages like Node.js, Python, Ruby, Golang, PHP, etc. which come equipped with universal frameworks of libraries and tools to create the logic of the backend. These two components combined are called a tech stack.
Also, you’ll need databases for the app to store data. There are two types of databases: relational and non-relational. Databases that are currently popular are MySQL, SQLite, MongoDB, Firebase, etc. The backend also contains server providers – Apache, Nginx, etc.
Companies should not pick a tech stack based on only primary Google search, peer recommendation, competition analysis, and personal choice, although these factors are important too. What is needed most is to consider the types of project/s you’re about to venture into: Complex, simple, permanent, temporary, or something in between. Budget and business goals play a role too. Let’s understand this in detail.
What’s the type and size of your app/website? Is it a small project with only three or four pages? Does it require real-time features and chat function?
A medium-sized project like an e-commerce site that needs more time and works? Or is it a large scale project that’s at an enterprise level? A tech stack that fits one, won’t fit another. A large project will require several layers of tech architecture and third-party integrations. For small projects, you can go with Python Django, Node.js, or React. For other projects, LAMP, Winstacks, and MEAN are good choices. For a large project, it’s better to start with an MVP before moving to full development. Front-end and back-end for such projects are built separately.
This is important when your product takes off and you need to add more to your plate. If you have more numbers of users growing day by day, you need a tech stack that supports growth. You can choose horizontal scaling by adding processing units or vertical scaling and add more software and functionalities. But ensure that the stack you choose has scalable tools for quick additions. MEAN stack (MongoDB, Express. js, AngularJS, and Node. js), Golang, Ruby on Rails are highly scalable. Going serverless can also make managing projects easier. However, the tech stack can accommodate vertical and horizontal scaling both.
Cost of development
One good thing about most tech stacks is that they’re open source and free to use. But you may want to invest in a subscription plan if you need access to advanced features based on project needs. LAMP Stack (Linux – operating system, Apache -HTTP server, MySQL – relational database management, PHP) is known to be cost-effective. Another cost will be that of maintenance. Open source platforms are more affordable as there are no restrictions to upgrade and modify the apps.
The foremost priority for a business is to build a secure application that can withstand breaches and cyberattacks. While no stack is 100% secure, you’d best bet on those that come with a solid reputation. If your digital product is of the type that stores sensitive information and client/ customer data, you’d need to have extensive authentication and authorisation best practices for maximum security. Your choice should entail that your tech stack follows compliance and security guidelines documents that can help you prevent cyber-attack threats. The development team should be made to attend to every security guideline strictly while developing the app and access authorization must be carried out for each request and backups are carried out regularly.
Time to market
If you need to enter the market quickly, you’d need to build an MVP- Minimum Viable Product before creating a full development cycle. This can be done on a basic stack and released so that you can collect feedback from the customers, and debug, rewrite code if need be. Ruby frameworks and React Native are popular stacks for building MVPs, however, there are many other options in the stack ecosystem.
Extensive Documentation should be available for the tech stack you’re choosing so that the developers can learn and build faster from community support and solutions. If your programmers are facing issues, they shouldn’t be required to reinvent the wheel. Instead, they should be able to rely on solutions, quick fixes, and useful hacks that already exist in the form of community-built libraries or third-party integrations.
Last but not least, choose tech stacks that allow for unlimited changes and upgrades so that no part of the development cycle is hampered.