Every task that is to be carried out has two essential components for successful completion. First, there is the person/people carrying it out. Then there are the tools which aid the completion of the task. This applies to any task, from the simpler tasks of cooking and doing laundry, to the more complicated ones like plane and train control. App development also requires a set of tools that make it easier to design and develop mobile and web applications for solving specific problems for clients1.
Before delving deeper into the specific set of tools to select for each app development project, it is important to define some key terms first. These include:
A tech stack refers to a specific tool set used in the design, development and running of a mobile or web application. The stack includes frameworks, software applications and coding languages that handle the different aspects of the application. The tech stack can be considered as a full package because it is inclusive of the tools set, app operation and its construction as well. Structurally, a tech stack has two ends that then integrate to form the complete stack. They are the backend (the server-side) and the frontend (also known as the client side) of the delivered software.
These are the background components of the software that ensure that it runs smoothly. The backend stack has 4 main elements:
- The programming/coding language
- The database
- Server provider
All these work are synchronized to ensure that the software operates without a hitch.
This refers to the components of the software visible from the client’s side. It is what users actually see and experience as they interact with the application. The frontend therefore consists of:
- A Clearly outlined internal structures
- An Accessible user interface
- A Great user experience
Why is tech stack selection so important?
The choice of a particular tech stack to use on a project is important because it determines what the output of the entire process will be. The quality of the app developed in terms of usability, performance and cost will be directly determined by the stack chosen from the beginning. It’s therefore important to make the right decision to guarantee success when the journey is completed. A thorough analysis may be required in which the feedback from various experts is considered before a decision is made.
How to choose a tech stack for app development
1. Choose and define a platform
Identifying a platform on which the app will operate is a critical first step towards successful app development. A market analysis to identify the target audience will be useful in this respect. There are numerous platforms out there for which apps can be built. Each platform has its own unique tech stack requirements. Web and mobile applications, as well as Android and iOS are just a few of the platforms with different tech stacks. Even if multiple platforms are being targeted, a clear identification will serve to offer clarity during the design process. Moreover, there are other frameworks for mobile app development that help to reduce the development time for cross-platform apps, such as Kotlin and NativeScript. Native script supports Angular, VueJs and ReactJs frameworks that can be used for mobile and web development.
2. Identifying system requirements
The next step is to create the MVP – the minimum viable product – designed with the most essential features to gauge market response for guiding future development. The MVP will aid in the identification of the tech stack required to carry out full-scale design and development of the product.
3. Considering open-source options
Open-source technology is the best thing to have ever happened in the 21st century. Its benefit is seen in the fact that a developer does not need to start from zero to develop an app. One can simply build on the success already achieved by others to make their product even better. The only effort required will be looking for one that fits in well with the project. It will therefore be possible to save on time and resources.
4. Cost consideration is critical
Making a proper and accurate budget for a tech stack is rather difficult but necessary. App development is a rather costly affair which requires significant financial investment. Without proper planning from the beginning, there are higher chances of the project failing along the way. The secret here is to try and balance things to avoid over or under spending on the project.
5. Being flexible is desirable
Looking for alternative solutions, together with being flexible enough to adapt when change is needed is the true definition of a successful app development tech stack. With the rapid changes being experienced in the technology industry, it would be unwise to stick to solutions that are clearly getting obsolete by the day.
Several factors come into play in the decision of which tech stack to go for in app development. The right amount of effort expended both in thinking about the options available, as well as consulting experts in this area will go a long way in ensuring that the proper tech stack is selected for success.