How to Choose a Technology Stack For Web Applications: Tips To Follow

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23 May 2019
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12 min
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Sergey L.
Copywriter

It is difficult to underestimate the impact of a properly chosen web tech stack on the project's general success. The technology stack that powers your product does 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 web tech stack and other web development services .

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 concerning on how to choose a web tech stack and what front-end and back-end tech stacks include.

What is a web development stack?

First of all, it is worth considering some basic notions. What are web development stacks? 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.

Front-end technology 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.

technology stack for web applications

Tech stack for front-end

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Talking about web dev stacks, 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:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • SCSS
  • SASS
  • LESS

In addition, these technologies have dozens of frameworks. Thus, one of the most popular CSS-based frameworks is Bootstrap.

Also, JS language includes such front-end frameworks and libraries like Angular, React, Vue, jQuery and many more. Our developers pay attention to these frameworks as they have all the necessary features to build front-end of web apps.

Also, for front-end building the following languages are used:

TypeScript. A language based on JavaScript. It simplifies and accelerates the development process. One of the most popular front-end frameworks Angular is built using TypeScript. By the way, almost each our web project at Cleveroad was built using Angular and TypeScript. By the way, you can find out how to hire Angular developer for your project. Here are a few examples of them:

  • AYIO (P2P marketplace for finding specialists);
  • Openmind (mentoring platform);
  • TrainAway (platform to find gyms around the world);
  • LetsSurf (a service to find a partner for surfing)

CoffeeScript. A language that is translated into JavaScript. it makes it possible to write more compact code.

Front-end web development includes tools for assembly. Our front-end developers prefer using JS tools for WebPack, Gulp, and Grunt. They help automate routine processes like compression and concatenation of images, JS files, and tables.

In fact, JavaScript language is the main technology of our web developers (both front-end and back-end) since this language has all necessary frameworks, libraries and other auxiliary tools to build full-fledged large websites. And it is included in almost each modern web development stack.

Back-end technology stack

The back-end technology stack for web applications 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.

web development stack

Tech stack for back-end

Back-end includes a server, an application, and a database. Server-side is the main side where developers build business logic, work with hostings, deploy their web app, work with databases as well. A web application is a term which includes operating system, web server, language, frameworks.

Let’s describe the whole back-end tech stack which includes the following elements with names of technologies:

Operating system

This is the first stage of back-end development - choose OS where developers will build a web app. Linux and Windows are the two main operating systems we work with.

Web server

The server is required to process HTTP requests sent from the browser and then return HTTP responses in the form of web pages. nginx and Apache are examples of the most popular servers.

Databases

An organized structure designed for storage and processing of large amount of interrelated information like figures, dates, geopositions. MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, ElasticSearch, DynamoDB, Firebase Database, Indexed DB 2.0 are databases our web developers prefer using.

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Storage

Services for objects storage where all large files like images are stored. AWS S3 and Firebase Storage are storages used more frequently due to their reliability and convenience.

Hosting

A service that makes it possible for website owners post their website onto the Internet. Our developers use Firebase Hosting, AWS S3 Bucket in hosting mode, Amazon EC2 (Linux), nginx as the most reliable hosting services.

Programming language

A language which is used to write code for back-end. There are many existing languages like PHP, Ruby, Java, C#, Python. Our developers focus on two following languages - JavaScript (Node.js platform) and C# (.Net). As for JS, many popular web development stacks include this language.

Web development frameworks

Frameworks are tools that enhance web apps and simplify the process of code writing. As programming languages, there are many back-end frameworks like Laravel, Yii2, Zend, but our back-end devs prefer using Express, Nest.js which they consider efficient enough to build stable back-end.

Now, when we have listed all main parts of back-end development, let’s pay some attention to a few most popular web stacks that include tools for front-end and back-end development, and these tools combine an optimal way to build a web app. Check them out!

  • LAMP. Its abbreviation stands for Linux (OS), Apache (server), MySQL (database), PHP or Perl (back-end language). This web application technology stack is an appropriate option if you need to build your app quickly since it allows you to deploy web app faster, it has flexibility during selections of the database. However, it is not scalable stack and has low performance due to the utilization of the same server resources.
  • Python-Django tech stack. Python language together with Django framework may be used for server-side development, and web developers often use Apache, MySQL or PostgreSQL to build web apps. Django is good of its security features (prevention of CSRF and SQL injections), own ORM layer for handling database access, but it is slow, lack convention, not appropriate for small websites.
  • .NET. Well, it is not a website technology stack, it is a framework written in C# programming language for server-side development and building desktop applications. But our full-stack .NET developers also use a certain range of technologies like ASP.NET MVC (a very powerful programming environment for the development of flexible and dynamic web app and services), .NET Razor Engine (for front-end building) or Angular framework (front-end), MS SQL or MySQL (database). We have a .Net department which includes 6 team members, and they permanently build server-side both for web and mobile apps. As for web apps, Openmind (mentoring platform), Fisheryreports (a service to find and book ponds for fishing), MetKnow (a service that connects people and helps build business relationships) are our latest projects.
  • MEAN. It usually stands for MongoDB (database), Express (back-end framework), Angular and Node.js (back-end platform). However, its technologies may vary, our web developers may use MySQL database instead of MongoDB, everything depends on which kind of DB is better to use for a specific project - a document-oriented or relational one. This modern web stack is very popular and it is used by our developers in most cases. By the way, it is one of the best web technology stack for eCommerce website. ShirtApp service to build custom T-shirts is one of eCommerce websites we have built recently.

Thus, this is what front-end and back-end tech stacks may include and what particularities they have. Now, let’s proceed to not a less important section on how to choose a web tech stack for your project.

7 tips to choose a perfect web technology stack for web application

For a start, you need to keep up with the following tips to make the right choice if you want to choose the best technology stack for web development.

Choose web stack

Tips to choose your web stack

Your experience should come first

That means you need to use the experience and skills you already have. For example, if your team includes Node.js developers and specialists experienced in other JavaScript technologies, use them to build a web application. Of course, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to learn something new, but it is always better to apply strong skills that you already used many times. Besides that, if it is a typical web app, you probably already have a set of tools that may be integrated faster and let you build a website or web app with fewer efforts.

Define the requirements of your project

First, you need to determine your target audience and who you build a project for. Their age, their interests, it will help you think through UX of the project to meet all expectations of potential customers. Then, you need to define the complexity of the project - will it be a simple landing page or a complex eCommerce website? When you will answer these questions, you will be able to understand better what web application stack you’d better select in this specific case. Angular framework is a good choice for a single-page web app, whereas complex websites will require you and your team use .Net, JS frameworks and libraries along with databases and storages.

Keep up with scalability

The architecture of your web app should be as simple as possible, however, mind that you need to make it scalable. Perhaps, you will need to add something in the future or during the development process, and you shouldn’t ignore this fact. In addition, scalability means that your web app will be able to respond to load increase and an unexpected amount of possible users. You should choose horizontal or vertical scalability, depending on your requirements. To achieve scalability, it is recommended to use powerful programming languages like JavaScript that come along with libraries and frameworks that enhance the language and make it more flexible.

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Don’t ignore trends as well

As we noted above, it is recommended to use well-tried tools for web apps building, however, make sure that technologies you use will be as trendy in the future as they are nowadays. Because it is much easier and more reliable to use tools that are accepted by large developers’ communities, you can always find a solution on the web because there are many specialists that work with these technologies. That is why we recommend you to keep up with trendy technologies but don’t forget about the future.

Pay attention to secure tools

Any customer wants the product to be secure and reliable to make sure that all users will apply it calmly, without any worries about the security of their data. Thus, you need to use technologies that are encrypted and protected to provide future users with a good service especially if it concerns financial data processing . Mind to learn all security issues before you start using any technologies - you should be confident in a tool you plan to integrate.

Evaluate your skills clearly

If you choose a certain technology, be sure that you will be able to implement everything you need due to this technology and you won’t fail halfway through software development. You need to think ahead, then you won’t face any troubles related to challenges with skills you are not good at or budget issues. Simply put - don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Think about expediency

Don’t chase latest technology stack for web development if you and your team are good at old-school but still topical tech stacks. If you think that it is not expedient to use new tech stack only because it became popular month ago, but it doesn’t mean that it will remain the same one year later, you’d better use well-tried technologies and select a similar but time-tested tech stack. For example, our web development team always keep up with all novelties in the web development world, however, they keep on using MEAN stack along with .Net stack because they know the tools are included in these stacks will remain reliable and tested even a few years later.

These tips will help you choose your tech stack and avoid any failures.

Tech stack of famous projects

Finally, let’s take a look at the tech stack that was used by famous companies.

YouTube

A video-sharing service that allows users to upload their videos, leave comments, share videos, make playlists, and so on. YouTube became the most popular platform for video blogging.

modern web technology stack

YouTube website tech stack

Uber

A transportation network company that offers taxi service in a way different from a conventional one. Uber connects usual drivers that may share a ride with passengers. By the way, as official Uber website says, 14 million trips completed each day. See also what you need to build a Uber-like app .

modern web application stack

Uber website tech stack

Netflix

On-demand video streaming service that hosts a wide range of content - TV shows, TV series, movies, cartoons, and so on. It works on a paid subscription model. This detailed guide will help you create an app similar to Netflix.

netflix tech stack

Tech stack of Netflix streaming service

Slack

A corporate messenger built for enterprises to let teams communicate with each other easily. It is a communication hub that has many useful features like organized conversations, searchable history, integration with third-party apps, etc.

Slack tech stack

Tech stack of Slack corporate messenger

Instagram

A photo and video-sharing social network that is connected to Facebook. Users can follow each other not to miss new pictures of their friends. As of 2018, Instagram is the second most engaged social network, according to eMarketer . By the way, Facebook is the first one. Anyway, you can still be interested in the development of Instagram app clone , check it out.

Instagram web stack

Instagram social network and its tech stack

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Wrapping up, I would like to add that choosing the best web technology stack for web application a serious challenge that you should be prepared to. But if you will follow all tips and mind to use proven technologies, you will have more chances to succeed. Anyway, if you still hesitate and don’t know what tech stack is more appropriate for you, drop us a line - our specialists will always help you! Stay tuned and don’t miss our next articles!

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