What is a Technology Stack? – A Complete Guide

By Danni White - Published on February 22, 2021
Technology Stack Guide

In simple words, the technology stack is called a solutions stack; technology infrastructure is a list of all the technology services used to build and run one application. For example, in creating a Facebook app, a combination of coding frameworks and languages, including JavaScript, HTML, CSS, PHP, and ReactJS, has been used.

Developers talk about tech stacks because it makes it easier for a lot of information to be shared about how an application is developed. The concept is often applied to marketing (Martech stacks) or sales (sales stacks) services but originated in the culture of software development. A technology stack will quickly summarize the languages of programming. Since coding languages have prominent features and limitations, the technology stack influences the overall application’s strengths and weaknesses.

How to build your Tech Stack

The software team mostly decides which technology they want to use and builds upon a core coding language, adding additional tools and services. The resulting bundle of services is called a ‘stack’ because each additional service builds upon those beneath it, allowing developers to customize the application. All tech stacks are divided between the back end and front end, known as server-side and client-side.

The screen, casing, and keyboard will be the front-end interface, enabling the user to communicate with the laptop. When an application for a position involves an engineer with back-end, front-end, and full-stack experience, it refers to the tech stack portion that the applicant preferably specializes in. Web applications, programming languages, servers, and operating systems require back-end technologies.

The acronym LAMP, short for the Linux operating system, Apache HTTP server, MySQL relational database management system, and PHP, are known as one popular Web development tech stack.

The visual interface, such as websites and games, is front-end technology. These are the visual elements for which most apps are recognized and provide users with the resources they need to get things done. Typically, front-end languages are much more superficial than back-end ones.

The majority of web application interfaces are designed using the JavaScript programming language and the AngularJS, Backbone.js, and ReactJS frameworks. For smartphone apps, front-end technologies include Objective-C/SWIFT for iOS and Java for Android apps.

The order in which a stack is built matters, much like the foundation for a building. Each new layer builds on the last one, and it’s not easy to rip out buried layers.

Here is some essential advice for building technology stacks: 

  • Plan for the future

    Planning a tech stack for the future can be a double-edged sword. If developers don’t consider how their application will scale, they might add additional services that make it difficult to manage. Developers should always gravitate toward more technologies and languages, which are often more reliable. 

  • Rely on the open-source community

    Developers worldwide are working to create open-source resources free to use and available to anyone with an internet connection. The scope and the utility it provides for the open-source community are staggering. By depending, at least in part, on open source software, engineering teams considering developing a tech stack would have an easier time.

  • Consider the application’s purpose

    Developers tend to choose languages they already know, but it helps to step back and let the purpose of the application determine the technology to create the right tech stack. 

  • Use analytics

    Developers can’t manage a technology stack unless they know what’s going on, which is why many use product analytics.

    Platforms for analytics are designed to link data sources across the stack together and provide granular user monitoring. This allows developers to identify issues users experience within their application to debug and fix the errors. 

  • Consider upkeep

    Before building it, teams could price out the technologies required to support their tech stack. Developers are also attracted to innovative languages that can improve and resume their expertise. Although established programming languages may offer reliability, it can make it difficult to hire top talent. Occasionally, cheaper innovations might cost more to attract top talent.

    Cloud Stack banner

Why is a Technology Stack Important?

The greatest strength of a technology stack is its conversational abilities, as described. That is, the significance of a technology stack lies in its capacity to convey much information concisely. This data not only determines the longevity of your submission but the performance of your business as a whole. The MEAN stack, for instance, almost entirely relies on JavaScript as its programming language. In several sections of the application-building technique, MEAN’s strict reliance on JavaScript eliminates a layer of complexity.

For example, it should be relatively simple to hire developers who know JavaScript, as JavaScript is a well-known language, and developers just need to be familiar with it. JavaScript also has various libraries and structures that, when the time comes, promise flexibility in scaling your business.

Every stack, on the other hand, comes with its drawbacks. Many individuals flock to JavaScript entirely due to its success. To build the optimum tech stack, a professional team of software developers must keep all these factors in mind.

Things to Consider While Choosing a Tech Stack 

  • Project requirements and features

    When forming a tech stack, it is necessary to consider the project’s size and purpose since they significantly affect specific technologies’ choices. The larger and more significant the project is, the larger and more complex the tech stack will be, such as well-established stacks such as Python-Django or Node for small projects (MVP or single-page applications). Js-React can be perfect.

    Typically, medium-sized projects such as internet retailers or mid-market smartphones need more complicated technical stacks of several levels of programming languages and frameworks. To maintain the integrity and performance of the app, large projects, such as complex marketplaces or enterprise applications, require a large technical stack. 

  • Resources and experience

    To select a tech stack, it is necessary to have profound technical and architectural experience and knowledge. To select the technologies competently, it is essential to know all the ins and outs and differences between them. Therefore, when forming those stacks, it is worth giving preference to those technologies so you can work with confidence.

    The choice of such technologies can lead to the loss of time for project developers to gain insight into the new technology instead of effectively moving forward.

  • Scalability

    Your application’s architecture must be scalable, as scalability is essential for further development. Scalability determines whether your application can manage the load.

    For example, your technology stack should allow the application to cope with this growth if the number of users increases.

    Two kinds of scalability exist: horizontal and vertical. The first implies the ability to work and cope with an increasing number of users on various devices. Vertical scalability means the ability to add to the application some new features or elements in the future.

    It is better to use powerful programming languages such as JavaScript to achieve good scalability.

  • Maintainability

    Maintainability is the primary and the main factor when building applications. Even when you scale, the maintainability of the developed application should be done without additional efforts. Significantly, two variables rely on application maintainability:

    1. Architecture: to support reusability, to be scalable and mobile.
    1. Codebase: The codebase should not be too long or too concise; it will take longer to process a long code, and a short code during debugging may also lead to errors. 
  • Security

    Any end user wants to be sure that his or her data is safe. Therefore, when forming tech stacks, it is necessary to choose technologies that provide a high-security level. Particularly the problem occurs when it comes to online payments.

  • Development speed

    The speed of project development is one of the most critical factors. If the project developed quickly, the best option would be to select ready-made solutions for tech stacks that provide easy integration.  Through third-party integrations, such technology combinations reduce overall development time.

Tech Stacks Behind Popular Apps

As an example of a great tech stack, let’s look into several notable projects. 

  • Spotify

    Server: Nginx

    Databases: Cassandra, PostgreSQL

    Server-side framework: Django

    Programming languages: Java, Python 

  • Airbnb

    Server: Nginx

    Databases: MySQL, Amazon, Redis, Hadoop

    Server-side framework: Rails

    Programming languages: JavaScript, Ruby 

  • Pinterest

    Server: Nginx

    Databases: MySQL, Redis, Hadoop, HBase

    Server-side framework: Django, JavaScript MVC

    Programming languages: Java, Python, GO. 

  • Shopify

    Server: Nginx

    Databases: MySQL, Redis, Hadoop,

    Server-side framework: Rails

    Programming languages: Ruby, GO

Final Thoughts

For any successful project choosing the right tech stack is much essential. Before proceeding with the selection of technologies, it is necessary to carefully analyze the project and consider the type, requirements for the project, your team’s experience, and resources, and such things as scalability, speed, and security.

Even though there are ready solutions, they cannot always develop a project by all requirements. Therefore, when forming a technology stack, preference is often given to an individual approach.

Danni White | Danni White is the Director of Content Strategy and Development at Bython Media and the Editor-In-Chief at TechFunnel.com, a top B2B digital destination for C-Level executives, technologists, and marketers. Bython Media is also the parent company of OnlineWhitepapers.com, BusinessWorldIT.com, List.Events, and TheDailyPlanIOT.com.

Danni White | Danni White is the Director of Content Strategy and Development at Bython Media and the Editor-In-Chief at TechFunnel.com, a top B2B digital destin...

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