Understanding Tech Stacks


One way to understand tech stacks is to ask the question, “How do you run your app?” All mobile or web applications need a digital backbone, a robust central technology to drive the functions forward.

Tech Stacks: The Basic Foundation of your App

This is where understanding technology stacks is so important for the success of your application.

What is a Tech Stack?

A technology stack is the foundation of your web or mobile application, consisting of all the underlying elements, including frameworks, languages and software that it is built on.

Tech StackServer-side Stack

Your server-side or back-end stack will include stack tools such as the language and framework to create the web application, a database system and server to host it all on.The most well-known server-side is the LAMP stack ((Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP).

Client-side Stack

The client-side or front-end stack will include the tools that translates your applications to a readable format for the user, e.g. HTML, CSS and JavaScript.
Front-end frameworks are optional, but recommended.

JavaScript frameworks include tools for building rich, interactive web experiences, such as AngularJS, Backbone.js, ReactJS.

Presentation frameworks provide a standardized format for creating responsive web pages with clean aesthetics, such as Bootstrap.

Of course, if your app runs well, your user will have no idea what’s in your tech.

Why is your Tech Stack Important?

For those of us who aren’t developers, understanding tech stacks can be somewhat intimidating, but they play an important role in how your app works and will behave in the future, so choosing the right stack before starting to build your app is vital.

Tech stacks influence the scalability of projects and because there are so many different combinations of tools for your stack, it’s important to become acquainted with the strengths and weaknesses of your particular stack before starting to build. Whilst making any major changes to your stack should you realize you need something different is certainly possible, it is difficult and may event cost a large amount of time and money.

How to Choose the Right Tech Stack?

As the ideas person, it’s unlikely you would know how to choose a suitable tech stack. Luckily, you won’t have to go into any code on the server or client sides, but if you’re driving the product creation, there are still some decisions you will need to make.

You will need to work closely with developers to decide on the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), which is the very basic version of your application, released to the market to validate the whole idea.

Our advice: work with developers who have experience in your area, who have built similar apps and can provide expertise on which stack tools to include in your stack.

But even before starting to work with expert developers, you will need to put a few guidelines in place. For example:

  • Mobile or web? Keep in mind that 60% of web traffic comes from mobile traffic and 25% of Americans are using mobile devices to access the internet. Incorporating responsive, mobile design into your application is a must, as these trends will continue to grow.
  • Time to market (TTM) is extremely important when choosing a tech. The faster you develop and release your app, the more ahead of competitors you’ll be.
  • Do you want something scalable or something that can be deployed quickly?
  • Do you want to use client-side programs that are familiar to many people (e.g. WordPress/HTML) or is your target market more technologically proficient?
  • Is price a factor? While PHP is free, many similar solutions aren’t.
  • Certain systems also require more upkeep, which will in turn increase your financial commitment over time.
  • Flexibility is also often overlooked. If you believe the app’s functionality may eventually change over time, you may prefer to use a language designed to easily accommodate these to make that process easier. However, it may result in your app needing more maintenance.

Make a list of the features important to you and keep it handy throughout the entire process. This will be helpful to both you and your developer.

Communicating with your developer is important at all times. If resources are limited, the recreation of your entire stack may be inevitable a few years down the line and you may need to completely recreate your product. If you can squeeze out a few more dollars for your budget, it may make this process easier later on. Your developer may be able to help you make this process smoother from the outset.

How NOT to Choose your Tech Stack?

  • Don’t choose based on your competitors’ experience, as your project is unique and your ultimate goal is to be better.
  • Don’t choose by personal preference unless you have a solid background in web or app development.
  • Don’t base your choice on previous projects. Again, this project is unique and the technology you used previously may be outdated.
  • Don’t make a choice through online research. The internet is full of comparisons, reviews and surveys which often offer totally contradictory opinions. Your best bet would be the advice of the developers working on your project.

Tech Stack ToolsOur advice on choosing the best tech stack for your app is to be as realistic as possible and consider all pros and cons. Communicate clearly with your developer and, unless you’re an experienced developer yourself, leave it up to them to choose the right stack tools for a first-rate app with all the functionality you require.

 Make the right choice:

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