The Guide on How to Choose a Web Development Tech Stack
Modern-day web applications are beaming with robust functionality, cutting-edge features, and user-friendly design elements that convert target audiences faster than you blink. What unites them is the perfect translation of the initial non-technical requirements into a fully functional piece of software based on appropriate toolchains.
No matter how hard you try to compete in the market, all roads will lead to choosing the right tech stack or its combination. After all, it will determine the final quality of the software, its performance, and its attractiveness for end-users.
As a company specializing in tailoring top-notch web app development services to the individual needs of our clientele, we know how to choose the most optimal combination of tools and technologies for each case. For you not to end up selecting the inappropriate technology stack, we've collected the most crucial information regarding the web development process, its building blocks, and the factors affecting your choice.
What Is a Tech Stack in Web Development?
The web development process relies heavily on two basic concepts: front-end (a client-facing part) and back-end (server-side) development. Together, they bring the desired functionality to life, functioning as a cohesive whole in the form of a developed web application.
How do they achieve that? In this case, a web development tech stack comes into play to address the needs of both the client-side and server-side layers of your web application.
In simple terms, a technology stack for web development can be defined as a combination of tools, frameworks, libraries, programming languages, and other technologies. They function in unison to synchronize every aspect of a web application. However, we can easily deconstruct each element of a web tech stack and determine its strong and weak sides, as well as the overall impact on the performance or security.
Let's explore the core components of a client-side development toolkit in the first place. That will give you an idea of what to look for in the next software development project.
Web Development Tech Stack: Client-Side
The client-facing side of web development is also known as the front-end part. It comprises all the elements available to an end-user via the browser or an application. Any user can interact with the software and its graphical interface, layout, and other elements of the UI.
To develop this part of a web-based product, specialists resort to the technologies and tools that can accomplish their goals. Some of the commonly used web technology stack elements belong to that group. Let's ramp up their quick overview.
HTML is a basic markup language for creating web pages and establishing their cohesive structure. It dictates the proper way for the data to be represented on the web and takes care of tagging.
CSS determines the style of the static elements of the front-end, including font styles, color palette, graphic elements, and hyperlink attributes.
It is worth mentioning that client-side programming is also powered by well-established frameworks that form a core part of the toolkit. The most popular CSS and HTML frameworks include:
Popular front-end web development frameworks and libraries include Angular, React, and Vue as well. These technologies provide ready-made structure and additional functionality that enable developers to streamline the delivery of compelling UIs.
Web Development Tech Stack: Server-Side
The server-side (back-end) tech stack for web development encompasses the functionality that powers the client-facing part of the software. Developers make use of popular programming languages, databases, servers, and other components on the back-end part. Each server-side technology stack works in the background of a web solution but has an instrumental meaning for its overall functioning. It typically includes programming languages, databases, servers.
To create the code that supports each action on the server and build the required business logic, developers resort to different approaches. Some programming languages have complex syntax and dependency rules that enable specialists to create custom logic from scratch. Other options don't require numerous lines of code and come with easy readability.
Additionally, programming languages are paired with specialized instruments called back-end frameworks. When combined, they enable developers to use the best tech stack to meet the project's objectives. The commonly used server-side languages with their respective frameworks include:
- PHP (Laravel)
- Python (Django)
- Scala (Play)
- Java (Spring)
- Ruby (Ruby on Rails)
A database contains structured data that is used for further manipulation, processing, querying, and other activities. It allows multiple users to access and utilize massive amounts of related data and apply complex logic to it. Top mentions that power the best technology stack for web application development include MySQL, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, and Oracle.
When app users send their requests to the server-side, web servers come into play to synchronize each communication attempt. They receive information and forward it to the back-end hosting for further actions as defined by the business logic. Popular choices for hosting a web application are Apache and Nginx.
To choose the best tech stack for web app development, it is necessary to consider your options in the majority of back-end tools. With front-end development, there are indispensable building blocks like HTML or CSS. But things tend to be more complicated when you need to create and architect internal mechanisms for smooth operations.
The Technology Stack at Upsilon
Vast experience with a wide range of projects enables us to come up with a preferred technology stack for web applications of any complexity. Through the years of practice, we strive to grasp the best of the changing web development trends and translate these innovations into what fits our clients. We apply the best practices of building high-performing and scalable web applications that deliver value. Let's take a look at what technologies power our projects:
Things to Consider When Choosing a Tech Stack for Web Development
As no modern-day project is the same, it is necessary to approach the question of how to choose the best technology stack for web development with a bit of preparation, especially during the project discovery phase. Let's dig deeper into what guidelines you need to consider in order to turn your idea into competitive software.
Consider Project Requirements and Goals
The starting point for web app tech stack considerations is identifying the scope of functions, the size, and complexity of an application. When the goal is to test or validate the idea, then MVP development makes sense. This could be a small MVP version of the web application based on open-source CMS technology can be an efficient option. You may even apply MVP tools at the early stage to test feasibility.
But for more challenging goals, a combination of cutting-edge components of a time-tested and emerging web app technology stack is required to ensure the necessary level of performance and scalability. For example, a social media platform like Facebook relies on multiple frameworks and tools to ensure the highest level of security, interoperability, and user experience.
Assess Future Scalability Demands
If you start with a small feature set but keep in mind the prospective growth plans, then it is viable to opt for tech stack that can align with your expansion. Usually, the hired CTO has to make such important calls. Depending on your vision, there are two paths to achieving the necessary scalability level:
- Horizontal scaling (adding new computational power to handle the rising amount of requests);
- Vertical scaling (developing new features on top of existing functionality without disrupting the overall architecture).
Your web application tech stack should be capable of scaling alongside your business necessities without exhausting internal resources and the company or startup budget.
Identify the Time Frames of Product Development and Launch
To outpace the competition, it is necessary to minimize the time required to implement the idea. This is especially important for new market players willing to enter the desired niche without delay. To overcome time constraints, developers can resort to technologies that facilitate the right implementation speed. Plus, having a clear app or website development timeline can help keep everyone on track.
You can assess the chosen tech stack for web app or MVP launch from the following perspectives:
- scarcity/availability of developers proficient in the technology;
- availability of well-written documentation;
- ease of integration with third-party software;
- support from the developer community, as it helps to save time on resolving issues.
Consider the Ease of Maintenance and Study Its Restrictions
When your web app goes live, too many things can go wrong and spoil the user experience and performance. That is why it is important to assess the level of maintainability in the chosen technology stack for web application development.
In case you plan to adjust the developed software over time or change its functionality to meet user expectations, developers need to modify and upgrade the architecture and codebase without restrictions. Another point to consider is to ensure that new developers can easily maintain the existing solution. Therefore, it is a good idea to remove entry barriers for specialists who didn't participate in the development from scratch.
Check the Security Measures in a Tech Stack
It is hard to find a business that doesn't focus on the proper security measures to protect sensitive company data, user information, and transactional details. While there is no antidote to all security threats, you can pick the web application tech stack that follows established guidelines and practices. And if you don't have enough expertise in a given area, there's always an option of turning to an outsourced CTO for a consultation.
How NOT to Choose a Web Development Tech Stack
Some first-time entrepreneurs have little to no in-house technical expertise or can't see the whole picture before the project's launch. For them, it is necessary not to jump to conclusions early, but rather to take a step back and reflect on the below considerations.
The things to avoid when choosing a tech stack for web development include:
Don't copy the tech stack from your competitors
Even if you have insider information concerning the tools and technologies that power the project, you can hardly access the entire background data. Remember that the proper composition of your tech stack should correspond to the needs and requirements of your particular project.
Don't rely on sentiments
Your personal preferences should be powered by a strong knowledge of the software development process. For instance, if you prefer one tool over another based on your likes and dislikes, you can end up with a failed project. Only a solid background in technologies can be a good advisory point. In this way, personal preferences can accompany your choice and pave the way for success.
Don't judge only by information collected online
It is a good idea to verify all sources of information before collecting the data from them. Online research of viable tech options is full of contradictory and questionable opinions and beliefs, which can waste time and do harm to the project. To overcome this challenge, turn to reputable tech authors with a vibrant community of supporters.
Another idea is to study the case history of reliable software development companies. There you can find first-hand information regarding the appropriate tech stacks used in real-life projects. This approach works best for first-time entrepreneurs and those lacking experience in web development.
Choosing a Web Tech Stack: Final Word
The search for the right tech stack to power the web development project can take you on different paths before you end up with the right choice. Modern-day software developers have a lot of options as the web development sphere is constantly evolving and welcoming new tools and frameworks.
It is hard to deny that the challenge of picking the right tech stack can overwhelm business owners and make them spend more time than their tech-savvy counterparts. Hopefully, our guide will help you navigate the complexity and eliminate unnecessary steps and wrong choices based on personal preferences. If you still have questions regarding the best tech stack for your future project, don't hesitate to contact us. We use sprint-based pricing and provide web development services for early-stage startups and growth-stage businesses, helping them to achieve goals important for their specific case.