When it comes to developing a digital product, you should be aware of the primary tools used by developers in such apps. Tech stack is one of those expressions that is frequently referred to. It’s what gives a new breath to the software applications we are using today. At some point, you will need to select certain technologies that will be vital to you in the long run. It’s worth leaning into this as application efficiency depends on choosing the right technology stack.
What is a tech stack?
A technology stack is the set of technologies that software development teams use to create and maintain an application or project. This solution refers to all of the primary technologies that make up the software that your company uses. It has an impact on the application’s performance (and hence on the user experience), which can be an element of success or failure. The tech stack is divided into two halves in terms of structure. The front-end, or client-side, is one, while the server-side, or back-end, is the other.
Front-end tech stacks (client-side)
The client-side of the software is represented by the frontend tech stack. It’s the component of the application that may be seen and communicated with directly by users. As a result, the main concern is a pleasant user experience, as it is presenting your final product to the consumer.
A front-end stack is made up of these main components:
- HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) – a markup language for creating an electronic document. In other words, HTML is a kind of programming language that can make a new webpage. It is in charge of the data’s structure and placement.
- CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) – a style sheet language for describing the appearance of a document written in a markup language like HTML. It is responsible for the formatting and layout.
- Frameworks – a set of components whose purpose is to simplify the development process. There are many options to choose from when building visually appealing apps based on user experience. An example could be Vue.js or Angular.
Back-end tech stacks (server-side)
The backend tech stack is the server-side of software development. The backend works behind the scenes but is crucial for handling most of the application logic, security, processes, and rules. All of the work is done on the server, and users should interact with the backend side only through the UI layer (frontend).
The back-end is made up of the following components:
- Programming languages – a type of written language that tells computers what to do. The code establishes a connection between the web and a database. Examples are PHP, Python, or C++.
- Frameworks – as mentioned before, it’s a set of components for development. It supports applications written in a certain programming language and some examples are ReactJS, Express.js, Ruby on Rails.
- Databases – a system for storing and taking care of data. This is where users and app data are kept and updated. Examples of popular database engines are MongoDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL.
- Web servers – a program or physical machine that serves many kinds of information to a user or client devices. It handles requests coming from an application. The main types are Apache, Nginx, LiteSpeed.
The difference between web and mobile app tech stacks
Web apps are usually connected to the internet. These web tech stacks make advantage of resources found in a web browser. As a result, apps are widely available (because it only requires a web browser) and users do not need to download apps to use them.
Mobile apps are made for a specific platform. It means that mobile tech stacks use platform-oriented technologies like Kotlin for Android or Swift for iOS, and developers must create a mobile app for certain mobile platforms. The exception is cross-platform mobile apps developed with technologies like Flutter. However, a user must first download an application on their device before using it.
An alternative solution could be so-called PWAs (Progressive Web Apps) based entirely on the web experience. The purpose of PWA is to have the best possible web page across all systems. PWA apps do not require their distribution. Users can add the app to their mobile device’s home screen, and developers can publish the web application online. For more information, you can go to a post about the best examples of PWA applications.
Why is the right technology important for a digital product?
Each technology stack has its advantages and disadvantages so it’s important to make sure to select the right tools for your project. . The quality and functionality requirements you seek in your app or website should guide your technology stack selection. It determines what sort of software you can design and impacts the decision of what type of engineers you should look forward to.
Popular tech stack solutions
Many distinct tech stacks are available, some of which generate complete ecosystems that aid programmers in software development. Some components of an overall system are chosen together frequently enough that the specific combination is referred to by a term that represents the entire system.
The LAMP stack is a standard in PHP applications and is one of the most common solutions for many of the web’s most popular applications. Its scalability, security, and customization possibilities are appealing to developers. All these stack layers are free and open source.
- Linux for the operating system,
- Apache HTTP Server,
- MySQL for the database management,
- PHP programming language.
- MongoDB for NoSQL database,
- Express.js back-end framework,
- AngularJS front-end framework,
- Node.js web server.
There is also a MEAN variant known as MERN stack, in which the React/Redux frontend replaces Angular. The main advantages of utilizing MERN are the React integration and the possibility of utilizing codes on both browsers and servers simultaneously.
Things to consider when you choose a tech stack
Before starting with the technology selection, it is vital to thoroughly examine the project and take into account the type, project needs, expertise, and resources of a team. Below are listed factors that should be considered while selecting a technology stack.
1. Complexity of the project
The scale of your project is an important consideration. Some technologies may be more suited to certain use cases than others. The tech stack required for a medium-sized or even big project will differ from that required for a small one. It’s also good to watch out for the size of your project, as with larger projects, you may need multiple technologies for different pieces.
Your budget will typically decide the tech stack you can utilize. More modern and complex technology, in general, comes at a greater expense. However, you should take into consideration other expenses like server architecture, tool licensing, frameworks (paid or open-source), the cost of growing the app infrastructure, and so on. If you are curious how expensive is the development of digital products, check out our blog posts on the cost to design an application and the cost of developing a web application.
3. Time to market
Your choice of tech stack will be influenced by how fast you want to start with a digital product. Time restrictions might drive the team to come up with creative solutions to expedite the process. There’s also scalability that is essential for future development, hence the scalability of your application decides whether it can manage the demand.
4. Recent trends
Technologies come and go, and it may be unwise to make a long-term commitment to one that is being phased out. While considering the stack for your project, you should be foresighted and analyze if the technology you are considering is an established trend. You can read more about application development trends on Applover’s blog.
5. Requirements for MVP
MVP is often intended to provide experimental proof of a product’s competitiveness and usefulness in a real-world market environment. The analytics tools give you valuable insight. If you need to develop an MVP quickly, you can select a tech stack that aids in rapid development. It is critical to establish what is important to an app from the beginning.
Do you want to find out more about choosing a technology stack?
Seek out professional guidance
These are the essential things that can help you with choosing the stack. Observing how software organizations do this may be a good way to learn more about tech stack trends. When in doubt, rely on specialists to assist you in selecting the best technology. If you don’t have the resources to explore all of your alternatives, you can always seek out IT consultancy. You don’t have to participate in the selection of technologies and tools when outsourcing a digital product to another development team.