Choosing The Right Tech Stack For Your Web Apps [A How-To Guide]

April 16th 2020
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@hiren-dhadukHiren Dhaduk

A versatile leader with experience in assisting successful companies extend their tech capabilities.

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Building a web app is not just about rolling out an app that is aesthetically beautiful with a good user interface. It’s just one aspect of it. What’s equally important is the app’s security, stability, scalability and other such factors which only comes with meticulous planning and development.

As a business owner, it’s obvious that your hands would be tied working on the monetary and operations sides of your company. However, what you need to also include in your to-do lists is to monitor and assist with the technology stack that is chosen for your web application.
Having an idea would help you make informed decisions and give you an avenue to explore what’s not just good for your product but what’s better. To help you with the latter part, we’ve created this beginners guide from our development experience. 

The Anatomy of a Tech Stack

For the uninitiated, technology stack is a set of tools, resources, frameworks technologies and programming languages used to develop your product. At this stage, it is important to understand that the technology stack you choose directly influences the performance of your app. 
Conversely, the type of application you intend to develop also determines the tech stack you choose. The structure of a tech stack has three essential components –
  • Frontend
  • Backend
  • Middleware

Frontend

Frontend is the side visible to your end-user. It is where all interactions and engagement happen and users can only see this side of the entire app’s structural and functional components. Web browsers are crucial elements of this structure because they are the ones that make this interaction possible.
When it comes to front-end development, technologies like JavaScript, HTML and CSS are used. Some of the widely used frontend frameworks are Angular and React for developing a world-class web application.

Middleware

This layer comprises all the essential tools utilized for the development process of the web apps. To make things simpler, understand that middleware drives the communication between database and data. It features web servers and content management systems.
The programming languages used to develop middleware include Java or C#.

Backend

Also referred to as the server side, this is the element that powers the frontend and lets users perform specific actions on the app. All the processing happens at the backend but none of the functions are visible to users.
Because backend is complex and involves the logic for the seamless operation and functioning of the app, the challenge lies in selecting the most ideal backend tools for development.

How to Choose the Right Tech Stack for your Web App?

Now that you have a basic understanding of what a technology stack is and its components, it’s time to consider the factors to choose the right tech stack for your web app development.

Your Web Application

Like we mentioned earlier, the type of application you intend to develop influences the technology stack you choose. Because it’s a bunch of resources that make the development process simpler and easier, it is good to have a clear understanding of your web application.
Is it going to be an on-demand service? Is your app into the fintech sector? Or, is it an enterprise app intended to be used within a large organization?
When you clearly define your web app and its purpose, choosing the right tech stack becomes easy. Answering questions like the ones we’ve pointed out above will help you realize the class of app your app would fall under. It could be one of the three –
Simple
Web apps that could be developed with readily available tools like content management systems. These could be working apps for eCommerce purposes or landing pages.
Mid-range
Apps that need more features and functionalities than simple apps, these are developed with the help of frameworks.
Complex
Like the name suggests, they are designed for complex purposes and feature tons of logic, integrations and implementations. Usually, diverse web development frameworks, technologies and programming languages are deployed for their development. Fintech applications are an ideal example of a complex web app.

The Development Time

The total time required to develop your app is a crucial factor when it comes to choosing your tech stack. This determines your time-to-market and helps you launch your app within your set time frame.
If you’ve identified a unique concern unaddressed in the market, your time-to-market should be short and hence a corresponding tech stack. If your intention is to release a breakthrough app in an existing market, the time-to-market is comparatively long and so a suitable tech stack. 
The size of your business and its visions are also influential at this stage.

Security

Security is one of the most crucial aspects of developing a web app. As a business owner, it’s on us to release an app that is not just stable but completely secure as well. With the number of online threats and attacks increasing by the day, your web application should be as airtight and unique as possible to prevent such attacks.
That’s why the tech stack you choose has a direct impact on tightening the security of your web app. Depending on your app, choose a programming language that offers optimum security and follow industry-specific security standards to ensure a safe environment your users can work in.

Development Expenses and Budget

This aspect is subjective but is inevitable. Depending on the size of your company and funding, you could either dedicate a good chunk of your budget on this or adjust with what you can afford.
Regardless of your stand, app development comes with a price tag but that’s why you have the liberty to choose a stack that falls in line with your budget.
When you’re working on the budget, consider the payouts to developers (salaried or freelancers) and the costs of maintaining your app. App maintenance is an integral part of rolling out an app and it attracts a significant investment. That’s why, it is best to go with open-source tools to minimize the expenses on this.

Scalability

Your business is not going to remain the same way it is today. One of the reasons you are into business is because you want to expand and make it big at one point or another. Your web app should be able to complement your vision by making it easier for you to scale up or down its features and functionalities.
That’s why you should factor in the scalability aspect when you’re choosing the tech stack. Your tech stack must power two kinds of scalability aspects – the ability of your web app to handle more requests and traffic and the ability of your app to include more features and functionalities. No matter what the case is, your app should be stable at all times.

Factors To Not Consider While Choosing Tech Stack

Like there are factors to consider, there are a few factors you should overlook when you’re choosing your tech stack.
Never choose a tech stack that you deployed for your previous projects. All projects are unique in terms of requirements. The more individualistic your approach, the better the output.
Stay away from online results because the opinions are usually generic and one-size-fits-all.
Do not try to replicate what your competitor has done to choose the tech stack as it’s not necessary that what worked for them has to work for you as well.
So, this was the comprehensive guide to understanding what a tech stack is and how to choose one for your web app. We believe you now have a fair understanding of this.
However, this was just the tip of the techberg. When it comes to choosing a tech stack,  what way do you approach? Mention in the comments section.
(Disclaimer: The author is the VP of Technology at Simform)

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