What Tech Stack to Choose for Your Project

The technology stack of your mobile or web app impacts not only the speed and timeline of the development, but also influences the ability to scale in the future. To save time and effort in finding the perfect technologies for your mobile or web project, we have gathered a technology stack overview in this article. Also, we have listed the essential technologies used by popular services.

Let's start. 

What is a Tech Stack?

A Tech Stack is a set of tools that are used to construct and power an application. It consists of a combination of software applications, frameworks, and programming languages that realize some aspects of the program.

Structure-wise, tech stack consists of two equal elements. One is frontend or client-side; the other is server-side or backend. Combined, they create a stack.

Differences between web and mobile apps tech stacks

Web applications are mainly internet-enabled. Thus, users don’t have to download them to access it. Web app tech stack uses the resources provided by the system. Thus, it uses as much as provided to the browser. In this way, to build a web app, you will need to use a combination of front-end and back-end technologies. 

Mobile apps are created for a particular mobile platform, i.e. a particular environment and cannot be replicated to another environment. To use a mobile app, the user should download it from the app/play store. Thus, to build a mobile app, you should use platform-oriented technologies - Swift and Objective-C for iOS and Java or Kotlin for Android app development. 

Now, let’s find out more about tech stack for both web and mobile app development. 

Tech stack for web project development 

Back-end technologies stack 

The critical thing to understand about backend tech stack that it is all about the inner workings of an application. As such, the backend stack is required to operate smoothly, especially if your project has any features other than simple HTML-coded static pages.

Structure-wise, the backend side consists of the following elements:

  • Programming languages (for example Python, PHP, JavaScript)
  • Frameworks (for example Ruby on Rails, Flask, Django, Swift or Objective-C)
  • Databases (for example, MongoDB and MySQL)
  • Server providers (Apache, Nginx, etc.)

All of them are tightly knit together and do some synchronized swimming thing, i.e., the operation.

Front-end technology stack

The front end technology stack is what users see when they interact with the program. Therefore, the frontend stack's primary concern is convenient user experience, accessible user interface, and clear internal structures. 

Usually, there are two significant elements in the frontend stack.

One of them (HTML) is responsible for the structuring and placement of the content. It covers the way content is organized and where it is positioned on the page in whatever case. It is the backbone.

The other element (CSS) is responsible for the representation of the content. It includes colors, fonts, background stuff, peculiarities of a layout, etc.

If you want to add some interactivity, use JavaScript. These things are controlled via libraries (such as jQuery, React.js, or Zepto.js) that are fitted into frameworks (for example, Ember, Backbone, or Angular).

How to choose the ideal mobile app tech stack 

The technology stack for your mobile app depends on the mobile platform you are targeting, including:

  • iOS Technologies
  • Android Technologies
  • Cross-platform Technologies 

Now, let's get into platform-oriented technologies to find out more. 

iOS App Development Tech Stack

To build an app for Apple devices you will need to find a developer who's experienced with Objective C and Swift, since they are the main programming languages for iOS app development. Also, mobile app developers might use integrated development environments such as Jet Brains AppCode and Apple's Xcode. Now let's see the iOS app tech stack in more detail. 

  • Objective-C

Objective-C is an old programming language that uses pointer concepts like — C, C++ programming languages. Still, tested by many developers, Objective-C is reliable and has numerous third-party frameworks.

  •  Swift

Compared to Objective-C, Swift is a newer programming language released in 2014, and used for iOS app development. Its main advantages are the increased speed of coding, better memory management, code reusability, and more straightforward debugging. 

Once, we used Swift to develop an iOS mobile app Nioxin, targeting hair stylists. To find out more about this project, follow the link

  • Xcode

Xcode is a development environment integrated with the Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks. It includes a bunch of developer tools for developing apps using Objective-C. The Xcode software package consists of a text editor, a compiler, and a build system that allows iOS developers to write, compile, debug apps, and submit them directly to the Apple app store. 

  • AppCode

 AppCode is another iOS app code editor for Swift, Objective-C, C, C++, and JavaScript development similar to Xcode. However, AppCode has several advantages, including faster coding, improved file navigation, editor customization, and others. 

Android App Development Tech Stack

  • Java

Java is the most popular object-oriented programming language for Android mobile apps used by such big players as Google and Yahoo. To build your app, Android developers will use Android SDK which includes numerous libraries for data structure, graphics, maths, and networking. 

  • Kotlin

Kotlin is the second most popular Android app development language based on Java Virtual Machine (JVM), mainly used for developing server-side applications. Kotlin's main advantage is class necessitates for less code. For example, a particular segment where Kotlin can significantly reduce the total amount of boilerplate code is findViewByIds, one of the most common operations in Android development. 

public class MyActivity extends AppCompatActivity {
   private Button button;
   @Override
   protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
       ...
       button = (Button) findViewById(R.id.button);
   }
}
 
[findViewById Java command example]

class MyActivity : AppCompatActivity() {
   private var button: Button? = null
   override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) {
       ...
       button = findViewById(R.id.button) as Button
   }
}

[findViewById Kotlin command example]

  • Android Studio

Android Studio is the official Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for developing Android apps. Developers use Android Studio for many tasks, including writing the code, performance tooling, and debugging. 

Hybrid mobile app technologies 

  • React Native 

Created by a Facebook team in 2015, React Native is the most popular programming language that enables using React along with native platform capabilities for building apps with JavaScript and React for both Android and iOS platforms. React Native apps also interact with native APIs via React's declarative UI paradigm and JavaScript, which improve the mobile app development team's performance. 

1 import React, { Component } from 'react';
 2 import { AppRegistry, Text } from 'react-native';
 3 
 4 export default class HelloWorldApp extends Component {
 5  render() {
 6    return (
 7      <Text>Hello world!</Text>
 8    );
 9  }
10 }
11 
12 // Skip this line if using Create React Native App
13 AppRegistry.registerComponent('HelloWorld', () => HelloWorldApp);
14 
15 // The ReactJS code can also be imported from another component with the following code:
16 
17 import HelloWorldApp from './HelloWorldApp';

[HelloWorld code example on React Native]

Now, let’s see what essential elements you should pay attention to when choosing a tech stack for your project. 

Examples of Popular Services Technology Stacks 

While we do not recommend simply copying someone's tech stack blindly, sometimes it might be useful to know what similar services are included in their tech stack list. We've collected several technology stack lists of globally recognized services.

Dropbox tech stack 

The file exchange service is powered with the following technologies: 

  • Nginx
  • MySQL
  • Python
  • Memcached
  • Amazon s3 
  • Rust
  • Hadoop

and a bunch of other technologies: 

dropbox tech stack

Airbnb tech stack

This accommodation booking website is powered by the following technologies: 

  • Ruby on Rails
  • React
  • Nginx
  • Redis
  • Amazon S3
  • Amazon EC2
  • Amazon RDS

airbnb tech stack

Uber tech stack 

The most famous taxi booking app uses the following technologies:

  • JavaScript 
  • Python
  • Node.js 
  • Redis
  • MySQL 
  • Mong
  • Objective-C

uber tech stack

Netflix tech stack

The video streaming platform includes the following technologies: 

  • Amazon S3
  • AWS CloudFront
  • AWS Elastic Transcoder
  • Kafka
  • DynamoDB
  • Hadoop
  • Spinnaker

Netflix tech stack

Yelp tech stack

The website includes the following technologies: 

  • Amazon CouldSearch, EC2, Elastic Load Balancing, Lambda, Mobile Hub, Storage Gateway Bugsnag
  • Cloudflare
  • Django
  • DigiCert
  • Fastly
  • HTML5
  • Java 
  • jQuery 
  • New Relic
  • nginx
  • OpenSearch
  • RBCommons

Yelp tech stack

Zillow tech stack

Zillow real estate website includes the following technologies: 

  • Python 
  • Java
  • SQL Server backend
  • Mongo
  • Linux

Zillow tech stack

Spotify tech stack 

This music streaming platform is powered by the following technologies:

  • Google Analytics 
  • G Suite
  • Amazon S3
  • New Relic
  • Amazon CloudFront
  • Nginx
  • Bootstrap
  • Python
  • Java
  • Postgre
  • SQL

Spotify tech stack

Snapchat tech stack 

This photo photo-sharing app tech stack includes: 

  • jQuery 
  • nginx 
  • Bootstrap 
  • React 
  • Java 
  • Ubuntu 
  • AngularJS 
  • Amazon S3
  • Android SDK 
  • Objective-C 
  • Lodash
  •  Google Compute Engine
  •  Moment.js 
  • Google App Engine 
  • Gatsby 
  • Semantic UI 
  • Cocoa Touch (iOS) 
  • Immutable.js

What should you know about the technology stack?

Clearly defined requirements for MVP

MVP is the essential thing in the mobile & web application development process of a product. As a bare-bones set of crucial elements, MVP is designed for experimental proof of the viability and competitiveness of the product in a real market situation. Thus, it is essential to understand what matters to an app and what is just an evening gown.

Scalability Requirements

What is the role of the tech stack in the scalability of an application? It is the solid foundation. Sure, it can be tweaked here and there according to performance results, but there must be something to improve.

It is essential to understand that there are two types of scalability — vertical and horizontal.

  • Vertical scalability means adding more elements to an application.
  • Horizontal scalability means the capability of running on more devices.

Both are equally important to efficient operation and growth of the product. 

Performance Requirements

The influence of performance stats comes from two sources. One from the business requirement, and the other is what the technology is capable of in a situation.

Performance requirements depend on how fast the system can react and how many requests the system can process at what rate.

The importance of maintaining strict performance requirements is especially visible in the process of Ad Tech Stack definition. Since the whole operation must react to thousands of events at millisecond speed - it makes sense to pick the most reliable option.

Costs

Budgeting the tech stack is probably the trickiest thing in the entire development process. Why? Well, software development is not precisely writing on a piece of paper with a pencil — it demands a significant financial resource to get the job done. There are:

  • Hosting costs for keeping the product
  • Developers' salaries
  • Technology education & licensing fees
  • Subsequent maintenance costs

The trick is to manage to balance things out, avoid bloating and overspending wherever possible.

Conclusion

These are the essential things you need to know about Tech Stack as a concept and how it affects the development of a project and defines its prospects.

With these tips, you will be able to navigate in the vast sea of options, not get caught in the shuffle or lose sight of your goals.

Read also: Best PHP Frameworks

Need advice on app tech stack?

Drop us a line

 
Daria Dubrova

Content Marketing Manager