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How to Choose Technology Stack for Mobile Application Development?

How to Choose Technology Stack for Mobile Application Development?

December 2, 2020
by Svitlana Luts

What does it take to develop a successful digital software product? Surrounding yourself with the team of experts who nail each mobile app they take on doesn’t lead to ultimate success. People who are talented, hardworking, and know what they are doing surely make an incredible team. Yet, they need a leader who doesn’t leave up his or her team alone choosing the technologies for the app, but cares what’s happening on the tech side and understands the reason behind the team's decisions.

We know you’ve got a lot going on, but being aware of the technology stack is an immense advantage for you as a startup owner. It will help you reach a mutual understanding with your development team, choose solutions that fit in and be kept in the loop regarding your project.

Without further ado, let’s get straight to the point.

What is a ‘technology stack’?

A technology stack or a solutions stack is a set of instruments used to build and run applications or software. For the most part, a technology stack is composed of development tools, various programming languages, libraries, frameworks, and programming approaches themselves. For instance, Instagram, the most loved photo and video-sharing app, was developed with the help of JavaScript, Python, React, Java, Redis, Redux, Django, and PostgreSQL. This is Instagram’s ‘tech stack.’

As a rule, the technology stack includes 2 elements, the frontend, and the backend.

What is a ‘technology stack’?

Frontend

The frontend, also known as the client-side, represents external elements of the app accessible by a user. Basically, it’s all you see and interact with whenever you browse a mobile app. The process is running thanks to the combination of programming tools, usually, these are HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is a markup language used for creating and structuring sections, paragraphs, headings, and other elements presented on a web page. HTML5 is the latest version of HTML, which has new elements, like audio and video support, that facilitate the app development process.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a formal description language for adding style (like fonts, colors, or spacing) to web documents written in HTML. An updated version of CSS (CSS3) allows designing responsive web pages, that adjust for different screen sizes. CSS3 provides a different gradient color and schemes gradients and is split into lots of individual modules, which simplifies the development process.

JavaScript (JS) is the magic third element that automates and animates everything that was created in HTML and CSS. JavaScript is a scripting language that creates dynamic content that includes but is not limited to photo slideshows, animated graphics, interactive forms, or autocomplete text suggestions. Besides, JavaScript is used for backend infrastructure development.

Frontend frameworks

Frontend frameworks are packages of pre-built components and standardized code samples in files and folders. By using frontend frameworks with pretested and functional code developers can achieve the desired results without writing it from scratch. inVerita is using Angular and React.js, which are the most efficient frameworks, to develop sleek and easy-to-use interfaces. Our article on JavaScript frameworks can give you an insight into how you can choose the best framework for your project.

Backend

Even though the backend isn’t visible for the users it’s the app’s driver that performs at the server-side. It stores and secures important information, and is responsible for business logic. More precisely, it generates the output (visible through the interface) that users need.

Backend app

Here at inVerita, we develop mobile apps for both iOS and Android. We also develop cross-platform apps using Flutter.

Native app development

Programming languages and frameworks that we use for Android app development include Java, Kotlin, Node.js, C# (.NET framework), and Python. Frameworks greatly simplify backend development, and which you should choose depends on the programming languages you’ve picked. Any programming language has at least one universal framework.

Check out the following comparison articles to find out the best programming language or framework for your Android project.

.NET Core vs Node.js: What Should You Choose?

Ruby on Rails vs Node.js: What Should You Choose?

Ruby on Rails vs .NET Core: What Should You Choose?

.NET Core(C#) vs Python: What Should You Choose?

For iOS development, we prefer using Objective-C and Swift which are two main programming languages used to build iOS apps.

Cross-platform app development

Cross-platform applications are apps that run on both Android and iOS. For cross-platform development we use Flutter. In general, native development requires more effort from the development team to accomplish the project but it gives full control over tricky technical stuff under the hood. On the other hand, if you choose cross-platform, it can significantly speed up the development process due to a common code base, make project support easier, and reduce expenses for development.

Check out the following articles to discover what apps Flutter is good for.

Flutter vs Native vs React-Native: Examining performance

Flutter vs React Native vs Native: Deep performance comparison

7 Flutter advantages: A perfect platform for your next app

Mobile app needs these components

Servers

A backend server is the blood of the network. It provides resources (file storage, email, database, web services, as well as encryption and security) that the network needs to function efficiently. Among the most popular app services are Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google. Check out our cloud comparison article to choose the best server for your project.

Databases

A database is an organized and structured collection of data. Databases usually incorporate aggregations of data records or files.

There are a plethora of types of databases and we only touch upon the most popular ones that you can use for your app.

MySQL. Being an open-source and multi-threaded database, MySQL provides high performance, scalability, and is a wise choice for apps that rely on multi-row transactions, like banking apps.

PostgreSQL. It is an advanced and enterprise-class relational database system. This database can be used for financial, governmental, manufacturing, and scientific projects. PostgreSQL has amazing analytical capabilities and a powerful SQL engine, which makes processing large amounts of data a real joy.

MongoDB. It is a popular document that can handle unstructured data with ease and bring scalability and flexibility to the querying and indexing processes. It’s also good as part of a content management system, file sharing system, metadata project, authorization and profiling, and geospatial data management.

Application Programming Interfaces

An Application Programming Interface (API) is a software that provides a connection and allows the server and the client to talk to each other. Each time you use an app like Instagram, text instantly, or check the weather on your phone, you’re using an API. The server then pulls that data, performs the necessary actions, and sends it back to your phone. As services rely on interconnected APIs, they must be constantly tested and function properly.

What to consider when choosing a tech stack

The type of technology you should choose depends on the type of app you’re developing. A banking app, for example, requires high security, while video apps like Youtube need programming languages and frameworks that can handle high load.

Try to narrow down the list of programming languages you have by sticking to the criteria we provided. Bear in mind that choosing a programming language must be your priority — technologies and frameworks are picked after the programming language has been agreed on.

Project size

Accurate software project estimation allows choosing the perfect technology stack for mobile application, which depends upon the project complexity. In general, projects can be classified as small, medium, and large.

Project size

Small projects. MVP (minimum viable product) or single-page applications are great examples of small app projects. Flutter is easy to use and is an awesome and cost-effective choice for apps without high-load.

Medium-size projects. Enterprise projects and online stores need more than just one framework to be implemented. Apps that have more features require a stack with more than two layers and combinations of languages.

Large projects. Marketplaces like eBay, social networks like Facebook, enterprise resource planning systems are developed with a large variety of programming languages and frameworks and require more scalability, speed, and serviceability. Here you’ll need to combine the technologies and other instruments to achieve higher performance.

Time to market

If your idea is game-changing and you want to be the first on the market, you may consider developing a minimum viable product, which is the simple version of the complete mobile application. If you do, we recommend using frameworks like Flutter that already have prewritten code samples and make the whole process much faster.

Scalability

Will your app be able to handle the load or not greatly depends upon the scalability (flexibility) of your app’s architecture. For instance, if the number of users gets larger, your technology stack should allow the app to cope with this growth. JavaScript along with the Node.js framework is initially flexible and equipped with various libraries and structures to provide excellent scaling capabilities.

Security

Any app needs to be secure, especially the one that stores personal data. It is crucial to ensure that, for instance, a banking app or social network is implemented with the best practices of security and risk mitigation in mind. Therefore, when forming tech stacks, it is mandatory to pick technologies that provide a high level of security.

If your app needs a high level of security then consider .NET Core. It can boast a Data Protection API feature that gives developers an excellent abstraction for encrypting data at rest.

How to pick best technology stack for mobile app

Choosing the right tech stack is the foundation of any successful project. The following recommendations will help you not to lose a fortune developing an app and pick the perfect technology stack.

Create detailed specifications. Being specific about your app will allow your team (especially if you outsource your project) to prepare a precise estimate and choose the technology stack that fits in.

Start with an MVP. Developing a landing page or a single-page app can make an excellent MVP. It will give you deep insight into how well the technologies you’ve chosen cope with the app load. Moreover, you’ll see how your product fits the market and engages with the target audience.

Take into account scalability and security. When selecting technologies for your web app, think whether these programming languages and frameworks are secure and scalable enough.

On the last note, having in mind the specifics of your project will help you to make a technology choice and build a top-notch solution. In case you need further help with app development or have any questions regarding the technology stack, feel free to message us.


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