Ready to build a software product? Choosing the right tech stack could be the difference between developing a robust, scalable application and setting your business up for a lifetime of headaches.
The tech stack is the underlying set of tools and languages that power the software products that we use today. It has an impact on the mobile or web app’s design, functionality, and future ability to scale. To increase your chances of developing a software product that users will love, here’s an overview of the right tech stacks to use for your startup team.
What is a Tech Stack?
A tech stack refers to a set of tools, programming languages, and technologies that work together to build digital products or solutions such as websites, mobile, and web apps.
A tech stack consists of two equally important elements: the frontend (client-side) and backend (server-side). Both work together to create a working tech stack. This is also referred to as an application stack.
While there are different tech stacks for web development, not all of them are created equally. The choice of an applicable tech stack can be challenging, particularly for startups and small businesses. They have limited budget and resources, thus, choosing the right tech stack is crucial to mobilize their software projects.
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Tech Stack Components
To refresh your memory, a technology stack consists of two components—the frontend and backend stacks. These stacks also shape the role of the developer who builds the product.
Frontend Tech Stack
The frontend tech stack is the client’s side of the application. Client-side refers to anything that a user can see or engage with on a screen. The main concern of the frontend stack is to create a stellar user experience, smooth user interface, and straightforward internal structures. In other words, it is responsible for the design, format, and navigation of websites or web apps.
There are three principal elements of a frontend stack. These are:
- HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) – it’s a markup language for creating and displaying electronic documents (web pages). They are the backbone in the organization and placement of content on a web page.
- CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) – It is responsible for the format and layout of the web pages. It includes the font styles, sizes, layout, color, and other aspects of a web page. Developers commonly use frameworks like SASS and LESS to make CSS more manageable and more dynamic.
Backend Tech Stack
The server-side of software development is the backend tech stack. It refers to the inner workings of a website or app that users cannot see. Think of it as the electric power stations that generate electricity for your home. They may seem invisible in the background, but they are important to keep the operations running smoothly.
The backend stack includes these elements:
- Frameworks – it provides support of applications based on a single programming language. Laravel, Django, and Ruby on Rails are few of the popular frameworks. Most modern applications are built using an MVC style framework.
- Web Servers – You need backend servers to manage client requests. Apache, Nginx, and Microsoft’s Internet Information Server (IIS) are the most common web servers.
- Databases – Most applications require a SQL or NoSQL database. MongoDB, PostgreSQL, and MySQL are common databases.
These web development programming languages, frameworks, technologies, servers, databases are built on top of each other. Hence, the term tech stacks.
Top Tech Stack Models
To save you time and money, you can use proven tech stack models. Their components are regularly updated but their principles are the same. One of the advantages of using these popular tech stack examples is the available knowledge base.
Here are the top tech stacks to consider:
LAMP is an industry-standard when it comes to tech stack models. In web development, it delivers the best cost efficiency, flexibility, and performance. It is an acronym that stands for:
- Linux (operating system)
- Apache (HTTP server)
- MySQL (relational database management)
- PHP (programming language, it can also be Perl or Python)
All these stack layers are free and open source. Since this tech stack can run on any operating system, you can interchange or modify other components in the same stack. Use WAMP for Microsoft Windows or MAMP for MacOS.
Microsoft’s .NET Core has been growing in popularity in recent years. Modern .NET applications are very lightweight and can run on Windows and Linux. Microsoft’s embrace of open source technologies has caught the attention of developers all over the world. Now with .NET 5, you don’t have to think as much about .NET Framework vs .NET Core.
Applications built using .NET commonly use the following application tech stack:
- ASP.NET MVC – Standard model-view-controller framework
- IIS – Microsoft’s web server
- Angular frontend framework with TypeScript
- SQL Server – Microsoft’s enterprise database
- Microsoft Azure – A favorite of most .NET developers
It is also very common to also see .NET applications running on Linux with NGINX and open source databases like Postgresql or Mysql.
- MongoDB (NoSQL database)
- Express.js backend web framework
- Angular.js frontend framework
Essentially MERN is similar to MEAN. The difference is that you change Angular.js with React.
The key benefits of using MERN are the React integration, the ability to use code on browsers and servers simultaneously, powerful library, and full-stack development option (frontend and backend).
Additionally, React is known for its flexibility and performance in developing interactive user interfaces.
Another variation of MEAN, MEVN uses Vue.js as the frontend web framework instead of Angular.js. Over the years, Vue.js has grown in popularity. It incorporates the best features of Angular and React.
Vue.js is easy to learn, delivers a clear programming style, and provides superb performance for web applications.
6. Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails is a programming environment that uses Ruby, a dynamic programming language. With RoR, you can simplify the entire development process.
A server-side web app development written in the Ruby programming language requires less knowledge to work on. It allows the use of default structures for database management and web pages.
NOTE: While Ruby on Rails was extremely popular in the late 2010s, it has experienced a sharp decline in usage over the past three years. Fewer developers are choosing to specialize in this framework, which means finding Ruby on Rails developers has become increasingly difficult and expensive.
One of the fastest-growing languages is Python. It is easy to use and commonly taught to college students as a beginner development language. It has many modern and powerful features. Python has also become very popular because of its heavy usage for machine learning and data science. It can also be used for building web applications by using the popular Django web framework.
Java is not as popular as it once was. It is popular for enterprise applications, but new projects tend to gravitate to newer and lighter-weight application stacks like Node.js and Python. Java is still heavily used and there are lots of Java developers all over the world.
Choose the Right Tech Stack for your Development Project
As a final thought, it can be challenging to choose the right tech stacks. However, this idea should guide your decision; choose technologies and tools that parallel your project’s objectives.
Don’t depend on popular technologies just because they work for big and prominent companies. Weigh your options; consider all the pros and cons of your tech stacks. Remember, a wrong choice of technology stacks can end in financial disaster.
One of the biggest mistakes is picking a different tech stack because it seems new and exciting. If you and your team are already experts at LAMP, MEAN, or ASP.NET, stick with it. Betting on the hot new tech may leave you struggling to find the developers you need to hire later.
Get Expert Help
If you’re not trained in software development, then leave it to the experts. A team of experienced web developers can get the best use of a tech stack to produce top-tier web applications with outstanding design and functionality.
Here at Full Scale, we have a team of professional developers who are experts in mobile and web development. They are on standby to work with your software projects. From screening, recruitment, and onboarding, we provide first-rate support for our clients to get started. To learn more about building a software team, we’ll show you how. Contact us for a FREE consultation.