Choosing the right technology for future product implementation can have an important influence on both the working process and on the result which you will obtain.
It is common knowledge that choosing the right technology stack can be really problematic, particularly if you are a non-tech business owner or startup founder. Making the right choice depends on the product you are going to develop and other important factors.
That is why we have decided to write an article to try and consider this issue in more detail and help a non-technical person make decisions.
What is a TechStack?
A technology stack is a combination of programming languages, frameworks, and other tools used to create and support a product (a web, desktop, or mobile app).
Any given app consists of two main components: the client side (front-end) and the server side (back-end). To explain further, we can demonstrate it in this graphic form:
Infrastructure and scripts that ensure app operation are on the server side. The client’s side allows users to see the screen displaying the results of data processing and other results of user interaction with the software product.
You can read about this in more detail in our article “Front-end and back-end. Interaction in plain words”.
How to Choose the Right TechStack for Your Software Development Project
Before you opt in favor of a particular set of technologies, you have to think through everything. There are cases when a customer wants to do everything by using a specific technology. This is doable only if that person has understood all aspects and has weighted all of the pros and cons.
For a non-tech business owner, it is rather tempting to simply choose something popular. However, this is not the correct approach because it is better to choose based on the needs of your business, rather than just technical merit.
So, here are some features worth paying attention to.
Scale, Budget, and Project Type
Completely different solutions will be required for a customer who intends to create a small online T-shirt shop and for a customer who plans to develop a marketplace allowing customers to place thousands of orders daily.
At times, the project type and its scale are the key criteria necessary to determine the TechStack. It is best to implement an EdTech start-up, a big data analyzing AI platform, and an e-commerce platform using a certain combination of technologies and languages which are originally adapted to solve these particular problems.
The project budget is an important point as well. If it is small, it would be better to opt for simpler solutions based on ready-made frameworks. If you have sufficient financial resources, you can set sights on more complex technologies.
Who Is Backing the Technology?
Microsoft is backing .NET, Apple is developing Swift, and Facebook has created and is developing React. Non-profit companies, the community, and multiple sponsors are supporting some other technologies, like Node.JS.
Decent support from a large corporation or a substantial community provides confidence for the future development of the technology and guarantees its support.
Technology Ecosystem and Maturity
Each technology has an ecosystem consisting of a community of people, components, and tools that are designed to work with it. All these factors facilitate product development and drive down prices. It is better to use ready-made products, than to independently create them from scratch at your own expense.
The same applies to technology maturity. If it is at the initial stage of its life cycle, it is most likely not that reliable. The popularity dynamics is easy to trace using Google Trends, and at the same time, you can compare several solutions with each other:
A large number of available developers drives down market prices and makes product development more affordable, as well as minimizes dependence on a particular developer. You will have no problem finding a .NET or Java professional. However, doing so for Blockchain/Scala may prove to be more challenging.
If you use popular solutions, you can easily outsource the development, and in that case, the cost of the specialists’ work with similar resulting quality can differ substanially.
If you want to save, you should opt to use the more popular technologies because there is more access to talented, affordable developers on the market.
Available Ready-Made Solutions
In this case, we mean frameworks, component libraries, and various tools simplifying development and allowing you to use ready-made code fragments.
This will allow you to save time and money, which would have been spent on development from scratch and testing. This fact is especially true for large projects.
Flexibility and Scalability
The more reliable and larger the project you are developing, the higher the requirements for its scalability, fault tolerance, and flexibility in terms of improvements/integration will be. This is especially true if the product is developed for a company whose business requirements change with the developments on the market.
Regarding scalability, it is important to take into account these two types:
- Vertical: implies the integration of additional elements into an app (CRM and ERP);
- Horizontal: means the possibility of its operation on a large number of devices and with a large number of users simultaneously (a large e-commerce project).
One language is sometimes not enough. It is often necessary to use a combination of several languages, as each will solve a specific problem. In this case, we mean microservices architecture and we recommend that you read about it on our blog.
Service and Support
The development itself is not the only point. Any software product requires certain support and maintenance costs. Non-tech business owners often neglect this as a budget item, but any experienced developer is aware and will warn you about it.
Each technology has its own life cycle. Consequently, it is necessary to ask the vendor how they solve security issues, provide updates, and ensure other similar aspects.
It is also necessary to understand that different technologies require different resources to achieve normal performance. In some cases, simple shared-hosting will suffice and companies can safely employ people with the necessary expertise. Yet, in others, dedicated servers are required and it would be reasonable to outsource the development.
Popular Technology Stack Services
If you want to learn what well-known startups and other public companies use as their technology stack or to compare several options, you can visit dedicated websites.
It will be very useful if you want to create something similar or trace patterns. For example, Stackshare.io is useful. According to the service, the stack for Airbnb, Uber, and Dropbox is as follows:
This kind of data can also be useful to you in making a more realistic assessment.
When choosing a technological stack for your project, take the criteria listed in this article into consideration and you will be able to select the most suitable option for your needs. However, you have to remember that the product quality is ultimately determined not by the tools but by the quality of the work.
There are no perfect solutions and everything eventually boils down to putting together a good development team which will take care of all technical issues.
You can use almost any technology to implement your project. The most important thing is that the developers involved are able to deliver the result in compliance with the stated requirements (budget, deadlines, and functionality).