Tech Stacks: What They Are and How to Choose One

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Choosing tech stacks are the first step to web or app development. Before any other progress can be made, developers must plan their tech stack. It can positively or negatively impact how the site or app functions in the future. But first, what exactly are tech stacks?

A tech stack consists of all the technology needed for developers to make a website or app. Things that make up a tech stack are:

  • Frameworks
  • Servers
  • Programming Languages
  • Libraries
  • UI and/or UX solutions

Building a Tech Stack

All tech stacks include front-end tools, middleware, and back-end tools.

  1. Front-end

This is the part of a site or app that users can see. It’s what they interact with and what can lead to a pleasant or disappointing user experience. When creating a website, HTML code organizes the site’s data while CSS formats it. JavaScript comes in to improve interactivity through libraries (i.e. Slick, Bootstrap, JQuery, etc) and frameworks (i.e. React.js, Vue.js, Angular, etc).

Apps on the front-end encompass one of three categories—native, hybrid, and cross-platform. Native apps rely on programming languages like Java, Swift, and Objective-C. Hybrid apps use JavaScript, Cordova, HTML, and other similar technologies. Flutter and React Native are software used in the front-end of cross-platform apps.

  1. Middleware

Essentially invisible, this part of a tech stack bridges the front- and back-end elements. It consists of app and web servers, as well as management processes.

  1. Back-end

This is everything users can’t see that makes websites and apps function properly. Things like frameworks, databases, programming languages, and operating systems are a part of the back-end. Some popular languages and frameworks include:

  • Ruby on Rails (RoR)
  • Python
  • C++
  • PHP
  • and more

Things to Consider When Choosing a Tech Stack

  1. The Best Fit (Project-Based)

Different programming languages, for example, are better fits for certain kinds of projects. Deciding on a tech stack should be based on the project itself and what’s best for it.

  1. Size and Complexity of the Project

Larger projects will contain more data and be more complicated. This can impact things like loading speed, which could hinder user experiences.

  1. Time to Complete the Project

Some software was created to make coding easier and quicker. The grand scope of the project, combined with the software a developer is considering, will factor into the time it takes to complete the project. Whether an individual or development team is working on the project would also affect this.

  1. Level of Scalability

The chosen software and future potential intricacy may impact the functionality of the site or app that is being developed. If it grows significantly but the software used to build it can’t keep up with that growth, or scalability, user experiences (among other things) will be impacted.

  1. Data Security

The protection of data is crucial to any website or app, particularly if it collects sensitive information such as credit card numbers, addresses, and so on. Not all software (on the front- or back-end) will contain good security for data. Developers should be aware of this and incorporate alternatives if necessary.