Choosing the right tech stack for web application development will help you meet your goals and the users’ expectations, ensure powerful performance of your application, outperform your competitors, and avoid numerous problems in the future.
However, what is a tech stack? A tech stack, or a set of technologies used for development of a software, is a bridge between an idea and a ready-made product. The term encompasses everything from backend and frontend tools to third-party integrations used to make user interface sleeker, convenient and more familiar to the users.
However, how to choose technology stack that will be the most appropriate for your project? You can make a choice by approaching software product development services or software development consulting services that will help you with that as quickly and effectively as possible. But, if you have decided to do this alone, with your co-founder, or with your team, we will share some effective tips on how to choose tech stack for your project.
Tech stacks behind world-recognized tech companies
Successful marketing and up-to-date design are not the only reasons that lie behind the incredible success of such super-popular products as Snapchat, Netflix, Uber, and others. The painstaking selection of technologies used for development of these apps make them as convenient, fast and user-friendly as we know them now.
Of course, tech market leaders use very extensive tech stacks that include dozens of technologies and tools for software development and support. We will take a glance at some of these technologies.
Airbnb is the most widely-used online accommodation marketplace. It enables users to rent their properties and rooms to other people. In 2021, the company’s value was estimated at an incredible $113 billion.
Airbnb tech stack includes:
- Amazon CloudFront, a content delivery network operated by Amazon Web Services, helps Airbnb website load quickly in all parts of the world where it operates.
- An integration with Google Analytics is used by the Airbnb team to monitor analytics and metrics of the website.
- Braintree, a web payment system, enables the Airbnb users to pay for the booking services within the platform.
- Twilio API is used as a mean of communication.
Netflix is among the world’s leading streaming platforms nowadays that offers a wide variety of films and television series. As per October 2022, it has around 223 million paid subscribers around the world.
Let’s take a look at technologies used by Netflix:
- Netflix frontend is written in ReactJS which contributed to speed and friendly user interface.
- Thanks to Python, Netflix remains scalable and has a high level of security.
- For mobile app development, Netflix used Kotlin (for both iOS and Android versions).
- Netflix uses Amazon SES (an email sending service) for marketing purposes.
Snapchat is an instant messaging application that allows users to share pictures and videos that are available for recipients for a short term. The user base of Snapchat grows very intensively with each year. As per Q3 2022, the application has 363 million daily active users worldwide (compared to 306 million daily active users in Q3 2021).
Let’s look deeper at the technologies that allowed Snapchat to archive such a remarkable success:
- For hosting, Snapchat uses Amazon Web Services (AWS).
- NoSQL is used as the main database that is capable of managing a high number of data while still staying flexible.
- Python and PHP are used to create the back-end architecture of Snapchat.
Slack is a messenger, designed for corporate communication. It was created with an intention to increase productivity within teams and make communication between team members more efficient. As per 2022, Slack has more than $12 million users.
Let’s dive into Slack's technology stack:
- Thanks to Electron (an open-source framework developed by GitHub), Slack is available on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
- Apache Kafka is used to archive scalability.
- Slack Android application is built using Java and Kotlin.
- A mix of Objective-C and Swift were used for creation of Slack iOS application.
Uber is a platform that provides ridesharing and delivery services. It’s one of the world leaders in its sphere that is available in 70 countries around the globe. No wonder, it has around 124 million active consumers per month. Over 21 million trips per day happen via Uber application.
Uber’s technology stack includes:
- Twilio API that enables communication between Uber clients and the drivers.
- PayPal is integrated with Uber and is used as a main payment system that accepts payments from riders.
- Uber uses Optimizely to optimize its website and application.
- MixPanel is used by Uber to monitor important metrics.
Note that copying an app development stack of some world-famous product doesn’t guarantee the success of your startup. Of course, if you are about to build an app like Snapchat, for example, you definitely should lean on its tech stack. But the right tech stack choice should depend on the specific needs of your project.
Choosing technologies for your next project. Tech stack structure
Imagine you are given a stack of technologies and told to make an app out of it. Of course, you will be limited in the kinds of apps you can build. The same thing works in reverse. If you want to create a custom software product, you can’t just randomly choose technologies based on their trendiness, price, etc. So, as you can guess, the software development tech stack regulates the type of product you can develop. You need to consider the type, specifics, and complexity of the product to be built, as well as your goals and requirements.
A typical web development stack is usually a mix of front-end and back-end technologies. Let’s take a closer look at them.
Front-end tech stack
Front-end, or client-side, is a part of a product that the users can see and interact with. Some of the most widely used front-end technologies in 2022 include:
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). It’s a standard system for structuring web pages and their content.
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). It’s a style sheet language used to style an HTML document. CSS is responsible for the pages’ elements (fonts, design, sizes, etc.), format, and layout.
Backend technology stack
Back-end is a part of the web development tech stack responsible for data storage, processing, etc. The back-end includes programming languages, frameworks and libraries, databases, and web services.
The most popular back-end programming languages nowadays are:
The top backend frameworks are as follows:
- Django (Python)
- Laravel (PHP)
- ASP.NET Core (C#)
- Spring Framework (Java)
When choosing a database for your software project, you have a choice between relational and non-relational databases. In relational databases, information is organized in tables of columns and rows.
The most popular relational databases on the current market are:
- Oracle Database
Non-relational databases store data in non-tabular, more flexible ways. They use several models of data arrangement, optimized for the specific requirements of the data that is being stored.
The most widely used non-relational databases are:
- Apache Cassandra
Things to consider when choosing a tech stack: our tips
In previous paragraphs, we listed popular tech stacks of some successful apps. But what should you do to choose the right technology stack for web development or mobile app creation and ensure success of your project? To make a right choice, you have to take into account such factors:
1- Type of your project
Simple and complicated projects require different tech stacks. For example, if you are planning to build a simple mobile app, or a progressive web app, you can use Ionic - an open-source SDK that works great for building MVPs and basic cross-platform mobile apps. But if you want to create a social media like Facebook, for example, you will probably have to use dozens of technologies, combine several programming languages, use APIs, and resort to many other tools.
2- High-level security system
The users need to be sure that their personal data will be safe before entrusting it to your app. That is why you have to choose technologies that will allow you to make your app immune to cyber attacks and other threats. For example, Python is considered as a programming language that allows creating a strong security system; Node.js is a framework that contains security guidelines.
3- Maintenance, upgrade, and support
If you create a successful product, you will definitely have to deal with the growing number of users and be adding new functionality to meet the upcoming needs of your audience. That is why you should choose scalable, flexible technologies (for example, React, Rust, Node.js, Ruby on Rails, etc. They are considered as technologies with excellent scalability). This way, you will prevent issues associated with scalability in the future.
What else matters?
- Establish a budget. Consider that not all the technologies are open-source. That is why you should keep in mind your financial capacity when choosing a set of technologies for your project. We recommend outlining a budget that you are ready to spend on the tech stack. This way, you will avoid financial issues.
- Ask your team about their challenges, gaps, and needs. Before you start a new project and choose a tech stack, survey your team members. This way, you’ll be able to choose technologies that your engineers are well-familiar with, or resort to staff augmentation services or hire an additional programer on freelance to fill the gap in expertise.
There are a lot of programming languages, frameworks, APIs, and other tools that helped world-known apps and services achieve mind-blowing success and earn tens of billions of dollars. Still, there is no one-size-fits-all solutions. When choosing the best tech stack for your project, you need to make a choice in favor of flexible and scalable technologies that are compliant with your project’s goals and requirements.