How to Choose a Technology Stack Meeting All the Project's Peculiarities
It is difficult to underestimate the impact of a properly chosen tech stack on the project's general success. Technology stack that powers your product do not only bring it to life but stand for its further maintainability, scalability, and many other factors. However, a lot of things should be taken into account before getting a perfect tech stack.
It is worth noting that the impact of your choice can be seen from the very beginning and covers almost all the layers of the project, from its management to marketing.
Here at Cleveroad, we deal with a technology stack selection for our projects regularly. In this article, we are going to share some thoughts and our experience with you.
What is technology stack?
First of all, it is worth considering some basic notions. What is a stack? It is a combination of tools such as programming languages, frameworks and so one, that were used while building a mobile or web solution. In turn, these tools are divided into the front-end and back-end.
The difference between the front-end and back-end
Front-end tech stack
The front-end is a visual part of your product. In other words, everything your customers can see and interact with while using your solution is built with the help of different sets of front-end stack.
Talking about web solutions, there are some basic technologies having a variety of frameworks that under certain circumstances make the coding process faster, easier, and more flexible.
The core web technologies list includes:
However, they have dozens of frameworks. Thus, one of the most popular CSS-based frameworks is Bootstrap. The world of JS is also full of popular alternatives to pure language such as Angular, React, Vue, jQuery and many more.
Cannot decide on a front-end framework? Read our Research Related to Angular and React Performance
Talking about mobile app development, its programming stack is restricted by the platform's language. Accordingly, iOS uses Objective-C or Swift, while Android applies Java for this purpose. Nevertheless, both platforms have some frameworks such as Ionic, React Native etc. not to mention a hybrid app development.
The back-end dev stack is always behind the scene since users cannot interact with them directly. They serve for business logic creation. To clear it up, when you are filling in a form to enter some service and press a button - you interact with the front-end stack technologies, while back-end gives you access to further use by checking if the information you entered is valid.
So, convenient interaction without any back-end components is impossible in some cases. Underneath, you can see a list of the most popular languages that developers use for the back-end works.
There are a number of other popular frameworks based on pure languages from the list above. For instance, Python-based Django, Laravel that is based on PHP, and of course .NET written in C#.
it is worth mentioning that both pure language and its back-end oriented frameworks may serve for building the server-side of your product. It is all up to you and your developers what to apply in your technology stack.
How to choose the best web development stack?
It is vital for young and promising startups to get their ideas realized in a short period of time and with minimum expenses.This way, many startupers are trying to start implementing projects on their own.
So, how to reach the best web development stack? If you have a simple web project, it is reasonable to use the easiest of the existing web development tools. For this purpose, WordPress and PHP are best suited since they are easy to understand and do not require any special technical skills.
However, if your web-based project is something more complicated than a static website, you should try to apply Ruby on Rails or Django in your web stack. These frameworks are quite flexible, so you will be able to add new features easily. Plus, they are widely known so that makes it easier and cheaper to hire talent who will continue developing your initiatives.
Are you looking for an appropriate technology? Learn the Top 20 Most Popular Programming Languages of 2017
You may have noticed that I haven't touched on mobile development. That's because it is not as easy as desired. There are no simple solutions to apply in your technology stack for mobile application. The creation of Android or an iOS-based app requires a deep knowledge of technology and the development process in general.
Nevertheless, the world wide web is still friendly towards beginners. That is the reason why a variety of startups all over the world start this way - it's cheaper and easier.
So, before you will make your final decision, let's dive deeper into the details connected with software development stack selection.
When choosing the right web development stack, it is extremely important to set priorities. In case you dispose of enough resources - think about whether your product will be optimized first for mobile platforms or either for the web. To find out, you have to conduct a proper analysis of your target audience. Statistics show that 25% of Americans use only mobile phones to reach the Internet. Let's consider several adaptation strategies.
Mobile first means that you are going to create a web application that is able to adjust all screen resolutions. Search engines are friendly to such apps, so good SEO is guaranteed. Besides, mobile first solutions are much cheaper when it comes to the realization of chosen web application stack into life and maintenance expenses.
This strategy makes sense if your audience uses different devices than tablets and phones to desktops and laptops.
Companies that followed this strategy: Scribd, Vimeo
Mobile only strategy means that your product will be created exclusively for mobile platforms. It is better to start the development of your native app from Apple's iOS platform. That's because numerous Android-powered devices will make the development last longer.
This strategy makes sense if your audience is primarily focused around mobile devices.
Companies that followed this strategy: Instagram, WhatsApp
Mobile later strategy implies that your web app should not be somehow optimized only for mobile devices. This strategy is cost-effective but provides your customers with a good user experience only in case they are focused more around desktops and laptops. By choosing this strategy, you may not worry that your web application technology stack should be flexible when it comes to mobile versions.
Companies that followed this strategy: Xero, MailChimp
Types of adaptation strategies
Define your goals
Before you have made your final decision - let's answer several questions to make it clear what exactly you expect from the chosen stack technology.
Again, they will be rather helpful for web-oriented products since in the mobile sphere this list is relatively small compared with web development. Thus, your developer whether they prefer using Java/Kotlin for Android or either Objective-C/Swift for iOS.
How much time will it last? That's an obvious question to ask yourself before making a decision. Having a restricted budget, it makes sense to cut on development expenses in case your project's lifetime is confined. I mean, that is applicable for some temporary landing pages, websites selling seasonal goods etc. Such solutions do not require great flexibility or a serious focus towards long-term maintenance. Node.js, PHP, and WordPress can be applied in the web technology stack.
How secure should it be? The matter of security is vital for modern users. So, think through whether you need high-end security for a project or general protection methods will handle this task since the more complicated your protection is, the more human resources and investments it requires.
It is worth mentioning that a high-security level is basically widespread among resources operating a lot with personal data or credit cards. For this purpose, you may apply HTTPS encryption.
Do you want to be aware of mobile security? Read our related article What Keeps Your Android Apps Secure
In case you do not see any threats for your users and the product itself, a variety of security methods can be applied. Everything depends on the kind of project and the goals you want to achieve.
How hard to find developers working with my stack? You should always look one step forward to reach success in the digital world. In case you are developing a project on your own, you should understand that it will not last forever since you are growing. The time to hire coders who are able to cope with your web or mobile technology stack is close.
If you have been working with hired developers initially, you should remember that people come and go. So, make sure the chosen tech stack is more or less widespread among the developers' community.
Technology stack example on practice
It is high time to practice a little and consider the core server-side technologies that are chosen by the world's most recognizable brands.
PHP coding language
Facebook technology stack. This giant social network with its 1 billion daily users has chosen PHP as a core technology. It is worth mentioning that Facebook creation dates back to 2004. At that time there were not as many technical solutions as we have nowadays.
Nevertheless, PHP definitely has its advantages. For example, an automated backup feature for such a gigantic social network really matters. Moreover, PHP-based solutions are quick to develop and that means you may cut on some expenses.
Not to mention that this language is open source, absolutely free, and has a huge developers community all over the world. So, you do not have to worry about searching for a PHP developer.
C# coding language
Among industry giants, we can point out StackOverflow and Guru that are using C# as a core language.
Probably the biggest plus of this technology is its cross-platform capabilities since C# is used in many areas including mobile, desktop, and web applications. So, in case you decide to broaden the number of platforms your product is present on, it will be easier if you have initially chosen a cross-platform language. By the way, the cross-platform factor is one of the must-have components present in a modern web development stack.
The main reason for choosing this technology for projects that are aimed to gain over 1 million users is that C# is able to efficiently handle a big scope of data flow, has a big community, and the technology itself is evolving and becoming more popular.
Java coding language
This programming language is not only about mobile development. It is applied practically everywhere nowadays, from websites and apps to the gaming industry. Java is considered to be one of the most popular programming languages in the world several years in a row. That is why its community is huge and the language itself continue developing all the time.
It is not surprising that such big projects like LinkedIn and Walmart are using Java. Although LinkedIn technology stack includes some other technologies, the majority of its code lines are written exactly in Java. It is rich in libraries and frameworks when it comes to web development. In some cases, this fact may influence the project's delivery time a lot, especially if the project is as big as LinkedIn or eBay, that also uses Java.
For web applications and complicated websites, it is a common thing that 90% of the time is spent within the database. This fact is able to greatly influence on the general app's speed, because Java handles this task pretty well. That's the main reason why big companies choose this language to build their products.
Find the right talent
Human resource is the most important factor in the IT industry. Since only coders and other qualified staff could help you to handle with the development process, whatever stage it is.
Let's consider the salary rate at a medium-sized Ukrainian company like Cleveroad, in comparison with American companies.
Annual salary rate comparison