How to Choose Tech Stack for Your Project

Once you have the concept of a software solution completed you start thinking about its practical implementation. And it’s the point where things become even more difficult especially if you don’t have a tech knowledge basis.

9 min read, Oct 8
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You’re a part of an ambitious startup and have a unique idea in mind? Or perhaps you’re leading digital transformation in your enterprise and require the automation tools with proven efficiency? Even if one of these is your situation each project is specific to simply rely on similarities. Besides the list of features, there are other factors to consider like funding, perspectives, etc.

That’s why building a tech stack it’s not about selecting trended or the best programming languages, environments, libraries or frameworks. It implies the suitable combination namely for your project implementation that will allow achieving the set goals.

How to create a tech stack: step by step

Any web application formula is design + frontend (client-side) + backend (server-side) combined by the certain structure. Each addendum has own specifics that should be considered with integration issues so the total will be a functioned product - whether MVP or ready for distribution.

Architecture

There are three main structure types of web app development: Monolithic that combines different elements in a single app for a certain platform, microservices enabling single functionality and serverless (stored-on-cloud) architecture.

Web App Cloud Architecture example

The appropriate type is defined by the project type. For instance, for some SaaS serverless is a good fit while for content-based websites the better choice will be SPA. The choice will limit the number of technologies suitable for web app building.

Design

Design allows giving the concept a visual interpretation (UI) and ensure its usability and efficiency (UX). Here the most challenging part is usually not the implementation but the research and analysis to ensure the reasoning for the existing interface vision.

Design can be static or dynamic, responsive or adaptive, animated or interactive. Not to mention the graphic aspects. The chosen approach should be based on the project type (SaaS, MS, etc.) and purpose as well as required units like dashboards.

UI/UX design

For its implementation is used the appropriate tools like Figma, Sketch, Invision, Adobe products, etc.. An experienced designer shouldn’t master all of them but should be able to ensure the design quality, efficiency and conformity with the concept.

Frontend

UI/UX design is sometimes associated with frontend however it doesn’t imply coding and ergo isn’t a part of the tech stack. But it outlines the user interaction possibilities within the website to develop and should be reasonable and intuitive.

The main technologies that define the development of the client-side are the basis of the modern web:

  • HTML (data structure characteristics),
  • CSS (styles, designs, and layouts),
  • JS (web page intelligence).


Javascript (browser scripting language) or its modifications (Typescript or Nativescript) are the core of widely used UI toolkits.

Frontend development

The most trended nowadays are constant rivals React and Angular and ambitious forerunner Vue. One of their main advantages is that they don’t set any additional requirements for the rest of the tech stack eCommerce or any other project it's dedicated to. All of them are high-performance - the core differences lie in their flexibility and maintenance.

HTML/CSS are usually in the shadow however their frameworks like Bootstrap are often used in combination with mentioned JS libraries including the ones that simplify manipulation with them like jQuery. It depends on the complexity and properties of the developing UI.

Backend

It is a three-fold project background that consists of a server, an application (frameworks, coding languages and OS) and a database. It responds to user actions, provide access to DBs and execute CRUD tasks.

Server

The choice is pretty much concise and the segment is practically controlled by two major software: Apache and Nginx. Their main difference is in the approaches for handling user requests for static/dynamic content.

Backend

Framework

Because of JS-orientation of web development Node.js is slowly but confidently taking over the spot on the server-side from frameworks based on PHP (Laravel, Symfony, etc.), Python (Django, Flask, etc.) and Ruby (RoR) by providing an environment for the development of high-performance applications including real-time.

Database

There are two options for defining a database: SQL (relational - MariaDB, PostgreSQL, MySQL) valued by its structure and uniformity and NoSQL (non-relational - MongoDB, CouchDB) appreciated for its flexibility and scalability especially since SQL can offer required conditions on the last aspect.

Technology stack examples

Although there’s no must-do combination of frameworks for full-stack development there are available a years-proven tech stack with React - MERN (MongoDB, Express.js, React.js, Node.js) - and its alternative MEAN (MongoDB, Express.js, Angular.js, Node.js that can be an appropriate choice for MVP development.

MERN stack development

Many companies form their stacks based on the initial needs, development experience and current trends. For instance, the tech stack Uber use for web development includes JavaScript, Python, Node.js, MySQL, MongoDB, and Backbone.js.

Surely, this is just an outline of the scope for the decision to give the initial guidance to what has to be determined and set approximate preferences. For the final definition of the best suitable option you require an independent technical consultancy - it can be substituted by reliance on trends, competitors' choice or even thorough web browsing.

Tech stack web app development: how to choose

As it was already stated technology variety is only one of the scopes for the research. And it’s not the first one since the following factors can significantly narrow the choice and can form a selection for the tech stack comparison and final choice.

Project size

Evidently, concepts require small-, medium- and large-sized web development, The dimension factor is defined not by subjective assessment but by the successive aspects:

Budget. Perhaps, the most critical issues for startups and commonly strictly defined for companies. The starting amount defines the initial project size and affordable resources for its implementation.

Grade. The stricter requirements for the project due to the high-level risks the closer the planned software is closer to the status of the “enterprise-grade” status and ergo larger size.

Duration. Even since it can be exactly estimated only after the technology stack is defined the project initially has desired deadlines affected by the Time-To-Market factor that determines required resources.

Complexity. The number, intricacy and uniqueness level of requirements for app structure and features indicates proportionally the project size.

Visibility

If the solution is decided to be developed in the stealth mode there are certain complications can be brought in to the development process stipulated by NDA.

Type

Whether it’ll be a marketplace, an automation tool like ERP or CRM. a cloud-hosted SaaS or a complex website with integrated CMS - any type will affect a technology stack.

Usage

The number of targeted users and frequency of usage sets demands for the technology and complete app scalability (large traffic handling by multiple servers or apps).

Audience

Any application has a purpose to satisfy the needs of users that have additional demands for the experience that should be properly backed by the technology.

In-house/outsource

Project development arrangements define the product quality and overall conformity with the initial concept. Number, level, and access to developers can also reshape the planned stack.

Maintablity

Since any app requires constant support and update it’s important to ensure that chosen architecture and codebase allow performing that without excessive efforts.

Security

If the app deals with personal or other valuable data it’s important to establish the appropriate level of security to ensure continuous performance and reliability.

Future

If software expansion is planned whether to other platforms or with solution or API integration it’s better to ensure the seamless and simple process by choosing a tech stack appropriately.

Especially for startups, it’s vital to avoid misunderstanding of the influence of these factors. That’s why it’s important to arrange a discovery phase to complete the definition of the requirements for the concept implementation.

Even then according to the lean startup methodology the development should start with not a full product but MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to give the application a test run and in particular adjust required parts, the creation process, and management.

Depending on the available resources and the risk level additional practical investigation can be made by arranging tests for one of the certain app features or dev approaches (proof-of-concept or POC) or their combination in a working model (prototype).

Web app development: key to success

Any business prosperity depends on the accuracy of strategic planning, its execution and performance management making workforce a crucial factor. That’s why no matter how well you prepared for the project start if you don’t have qualified developers for its implementation all efforts unlikely will pay off.

That’s why a high-level screening process should be established whether for candidates for a dev team or companies who offer web development services on a remote basis. Besides, take into account that the more specific tech stack the smaller choice is available.

But even that’s not enough. Surely you can hire the best web developers in Ukraine, USA or leading in IT countries of Western Europe But unless it's a self-driven individual you require to establish advanced project management to ensure efficient interaction and timely delivery. That’s one of the benefits of working with agencies - they have this process established.

There are different models available however agile (for instance, Scrum) is the one that corresponds the most with the modern requirements for software development. We also a few years ago adopted this approach and ascertained its efficiency.

Technology stack 2019: how to pick

To choose a tech stack for custom web development for your marketplace, management system or a simple website you require worked-out concept, technology expertise and developed strategy for the app lifecycle. By properly fusing all these factors you’ll have a pointer what stack will be able to drive you to the market leaders.

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