When it comes to developing a digital product, be it a mobile app or web app, the most important thing to decide is the technology stack your app will be built upon.
Reason? – Because the technology stack directly influences the performance of your application.
And similarly, the type of application you’re building also influences the technology stack selection.
In fact, the selection of right technology stack is one of the keys to every digital product’s success.
But, if you don’t have a team of full stack web developers, you cannot identify the right technology stack for your web application development.
This is where we come…
We’ve been observing for quite some time that entrepreneurs struggle the most when it comes to choosing a tech stack.
Therefore, we’ve decided to share the process of what actually needs to be considered when selecting a technology stack.
In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know, from what is a technology stack to its structure, what factors to consider and what not to do while making the selection.
Let’s dive right in.
What is a technology stack?
Technically, a tech stack is a combination of components like tools, frameworks, programming languages, and technologies used for software development.
In layman’s terms, web development requires a front-end, a back-end, and a database. All these layers form a technology stack.
Structure of a technology stack
As mentioned above, the technology stack has three components:
But what are they? What do they do? And why are they needed?
Let’s dig deeper and understand each component thoroughly.
In simplest terms, front-end is where all the user interactions happen. In a web app, users can only see and interact with this part of the app.
For a web application, this user interaction is carried out in a web browser such as Safari, Chrome, or Internet Explorer.
For front-end development, there are following three technologies used.
HTML is a Hypertext Markup Language used for describing the structure of content presented on a webpage.
CSS is called Cascading Style Sheet which is mainly used for formatting the content written in HTML language.
Read More: How AngularJS extends HTML?
The back-end component basically powers the front-end and allows users to perform certain actions. Unlike front-end, the back-end part in a web app is not visible to the users.
When choosing a technology stack, the biggest challenge lies in choosing the back-end technologies.
Back-end is basically used for creating logic around the entire web application using server-side programming languages.
The middleware layer in a technology stack consists of content management systems, web servers, and other similar tools that support the web application development.
These middleware’s are written in languages like C# or Java which facilitates data management and communication between the front-end and the back-end.
In simple terms, middleware enables communication between data and database.
For instance, when a user submits a registration form, it is through the middleware which creates a profile of the user and stores the data into the database.
So, now that you have a general understanding of what a technology stack is, let’s take a look at 4 common practices that may sound reasonable but can fail your entire project.
Don’ts of technology stack research process
Most entrepreneurs fail because they make one or more of these following mistakes when choosing technology stack for their web app.
If you’ve knowledge and experience in application development, you can probably choose the technology stack on your own.
But if you don’t have appropriate amount of knowledge and still decide to choose the technology stack on your own, then you are definitely going to fail.
Reason? – There is a high possibility of you choosing the wrong components in your technology stack.
So, unless you’ve a solid background, don’t hesitate to ask for suggestion while choosing a technology stack for your web app.
Analyzing the competitor’s product is, to a great extent, the right strategy. But when it comes to technology stack, you just cannot copy their entire tech stack.
You see, every product is unique. And if you want to beat your competitors, you need to make a better product than your competitors.
And you can’t possibly build a better product if you build it on the same technology stack your competitors have built.
Only internet research
Internet can be confusing. For instance, even though there are countless studies, reports, surveys, and comparisons available on the internet, you can’t really rely on them.
The reason is that you’re likely to find many resources who present completely opposite opinion, leading you towards making a wrong choice as a result. So, it is better to ask an expert than rely on Internet research.
Choosing tech stack you used in your previous project
As we mentioned earlier, every product is unique. Therefore, you shouldn’t just use the technology stack you previously used, even though how successful your last project turned out.
Remember, the technology stack that you used for your last project is probably inappropriate for the current project.
That being said, here are the main factors you need to consider, if you want to create a web app successfully.
Factors to consider while selecting the tech stack
By far, we’ve seen what technology stack means and what NOT to do while selecting a technology stack for your web development.
It’s finally time to discuss the factors that you should keep in mind.
Size of web app
The size of your web app project affects the technology stack selection process. For instance, as your web app grows, the complexity increases as well.
To understand better, check the simple diagram below:
According to the diagram, the level of complexity will increase parallely as your web app grows.
So, you need to select a technology stack that can handle the complexity over time.
If you’re not sure in which category your web application project falls into, check the below explanation to classify your web application size.
Small-size web app
Small size web apps are like 1 to 3 web page sites, portfolios, and other small web solutions which can be easily designed using Webflow or Readymag tool.
Medium-size web app
Medium-size web apps are basically financial apps, online stores, or enterprise applications which usually require more complex technology stack than the small-size category.
These kinds of projects have more features and are usually developed using frameworks like Node JS, Angular, and so on.
Large-size web app
On-demand marketplaces and social networks fall into the large-size category. These web apps require higher performance, better serviceability, and top-notch scalability.
In large-size web apps, the complexity is higher as it requires more tech layers and needs third-party tools to develop individual parts of the project.
In addition, it is also recommended to have written functional as well as non-functional requirements due to its complexity.
Time to market is also one of the important factors to consider. If your web app needs to be developed and launched quickly, it’s best to go for MVP development.
MVP means minimum viable product and it shortens the time-to-market drastically.
Not only it will help you launch your web app quickly, but the faster time to market will also help you collect feedback from early adopters and suggest important changes in features of your web app.
However, just MVP development approach is just one part of the battle. The other part, the important one, is the developer expertise.
But, if you have planned to partner with a modern web development company having years of experience, then release your web app on time will be easy.
Scalability in web app usually refers to the ability of a web application to handle load.
For instance, if the number of users goes up, your technology stack should allow your web app to handle the growth.
Therefore, your web developers must choose best technology for web development which could support both horizontal growth as well as vertical growth.
Horizontal growth basically means the ability of your web application to handle user growth.
Vertical growth, on the other hand, means the ability to add new features & functionalities as your users demand.
Maintainability is a crucial factor when building web applications. To put it simply, the maintenance of your web application should be able to done effortlessly even when you scale.
Specifically, there are two factors on which your web app maintainability depends on.
The architecture of your web app must support reusability, portability, and scalability.
In layman’s terms, your technology stack should allow including additional tools and frameworks when the time comes for growth.
Read More: Fundamentals of web application architecture
The codebase of your web application should neither be too lengthy nor too concise.
The reason is that the lengthy code would require more time to process, while the concise code might create debugging errors.
Therefore, it’s critical to choose a programming language that is neither lengthy nor too concise and is easy to maintain and reusable.
While deciding on a tech stack, keep in mind that you implement solutions that are open source. Selecting open source technologies assures less initial development costs and availability to use with endless modifications.
Broken or untested codes can develop the biggest mistakes while working on a web app project. So include technologies where testing is easier and use a test automation framework for the speedy delivery of quality web applications.
It is important to decide beforehand how much you are willing to spend on to create a web app of your own.
Though most technologies, tools, and frameworks used in web development are open-source and free-to-use.
But you may have to buy subscription plans for get access to their advanced features.
In addition to subscriptions, one more important and major cost would be paying the invoice to your web development partner.
Therefore, it’s necessary to weigh the balance of cost before finalizing a technology stack.
Of course, you want your web application to be secure at all costs. After all, you’ve probably spent a fortune on building it.
Moreover, the number of cyberattacks is rising every year. For instance, according to Jupiter Research’s forecast, the financial losses due to data breaches and cyberattacks will reach $2.1 trillion by the end of 2019.
That data alone should make you consider security among top-most factors.
Now, when it comes to the security of your web app, you must follow security guidelines while developing your web app.
Most web development technologies have comprehensive security guidelines documents that can help you prevent cyber-attack threats.
In short, you need to make sure that all security guidelines have been followed by your development team.
These are the essential factors you need to consider if you want your web app to be successful.
However, technology isn’t the only thing that matters. Overall quality of your web app is equally important for build successful web application.
Quality means you need the right design that would appeal your target audience.
So, make sure you don’t limit your web app to technology stack. Pay equal attention to the user experience of your web app. Because at the end, you’re developing the web app for them.