For any software product, the technology used in building it has a direct impact on its performance. The opposite is true as well. The kind of performance you need in your software determines the technology that goes into building it. Thus, when you want to build a web app, you should first determine the tools your web app needs. With so many options for tech stacks in 2020, choosing the right front-end technology stack for web application development is a crucial factor that can make or break the success of your app.
In this blog, we will take you through the different aspects of the web technology stack and tell you how you can select the best one for your dream project.
What is a web technology stack?
A technology stack is a set of programming languages, frameworks, and software that are used to build any web or mobile application. A web technology stack is a combination of specific components that make the application fully functional.
Components of Web Technology Stack
Web technology stack is divided into two broad categories namely front end (client-side) and back end (server-side). Each of these areas has their respective roles to play in web development and comes with a comprehensive set of tools.
Front end development (Client-side development)
Front end development or client-side programming is what enables the web application to be visible on an internet browser. It is responsible for how the users interact with the web application. Front end development for web application consists of the following technologies:
- HTML(HyperText Markup Language): This is used for structuring the content on a web page.
- CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): This designs the style of the content on a web page, that is, the colors, fonts, layouts, etc.
For a majority of web applications, Bootstrap is a commonly used framework for HTML and CSS. Its exhaustive library has garnered a massive user base for itself. Foundation is another framework that a lot of developers prefer for HTML and CSS.
Angular is the oldest of the lot. Because of the advanced features of Angular and its huge community, it has been a favorite for web app developers consistently. ReactJS, a front-end library developed by Facebook, is a popular choice for web application development too. While Angular and ReactJS dominate the industry, VueJS has recently emerged as an ideal choice for lightweight web applications. You can read more about a detailed comparison between Angular vs React vs Vue in this article.
Back-end development (Server-side development)
Back-end, as the name suggests, isn’t visible to the users. It works behind the scenes and enables the front-end to do its job.
The back end provides a web application with logic and facilitates communication between each of its components. It’s because of the back-end development that each component of the application can understand how and when to respond to user requests.
Also known as server-side programming, back-end development for web applications includes three parts: programming languages, databases, and a server. So let us take a look at the technologies involved in each of these parts.
Programming languages and frameworks for back end web development
As we mentioned above, the back-end provides the logic to the web application. A programming language is a technology that creates this logic.
Web developers can choose from a variety of different programming languages to code for the application. In addition to that, there are many frameworks available for each programming language that make the process of coding faster and easier.
Following are some of the commonly used programming languages along with the frameworks available for them mentioned in the brackets:
- Ruby (Ruby on Rails)
- PHP (Laravel, CodeIgniter)
- Python (Django, Flask)
- Scala (Play)
Although it’s possible to build a web application without a database, such an app will have limited functionality. The database is necessary to store data for a dynamic web app particularly if your application asks for data from its users.
In the current times, almost every web application at least asks for the users’ contact details. So the database is a vital part of every technology stack for web application development.
There are two types of database technologies useful in web app development: relational database and non-relational database.
Some of the most common databases for web development are:
- MySQL (relational)
- PostgreSQL (relational)
- MongoDB (non-relational, document)
A server is where requests from the client side’s computer are received, processed, and acted upon. Therefore, the tech stack for web application development must have a server to host the application.
The two most popular servers for web apps are:
In addition to these, back end development for web applications also requires developers to choose an operating system and back end frameworks for their projects.
Components of Modern Web Technology Stack: A Summary
Client-side tools and server-side technologies involved in web application development build upon each other and thus form a technology stack.
While some technologies like HTML and CSS are indispensable for every web application development process, you have choices in the rest of the tools.
In order to build a web application, you need to pick a front-end framework, programming languages, and databases. A leading web app development company or an expert full-stack developer can be your technology partner and help you evaluate the choices.
Popular Web Technology Stacks
Although the type of web technology stack depends on the kind of project you want to build, there are certain tech stacks that give you a readymade combination of tools for your web app development.
LAMP refers to Linux (operating system), Apache (web server), MySQL (database), PHP (programming language). It is one of the most popular back-end tech stacks for web development. Full-stack developers prefer LAMP to other tech stacks for its security, flexibility, and customization options.
As the name suggests, the Python-Django tech stack is based on python language and uses the Django framework for back-end development. With Apache as the server and MySQL database, this web technology stack is an ideal choice when you want to build a quick web application, as an MVP.
MERN is an abbreviation for MongoDB, Express.js, React/Redux, and Node.js. Again, this is a full-stack that uses ReactJS for front-end development and NodeJS for back-end development. MERN is a popular choice for building responsive single-page applications and large web applications.
Both MEAN and MERN are full web app stacks. So the decision for MEAN vs MERN is actually only based on the differences between Angular and ReactJS for web development.
How to choose the right web technology stack for your project
With so many technology options for different components, it is a daunting task to select the best stack for your web application. Each tool has its own pros and cons and yields different results for different kinds of applications. Selecting a wrong tech stack can hamper your idea from taking the desired shape so you must consider the following factors while choosing the right tech stack:
Project type and size
For small projects or MVPs, you can go with simpler web app stacks like Python-Django. If you want a full stack option for small applications, Nodejs-React can be a great choice too.
However, for mid-size project like enterprise application or eCommerce application, full web app stack like MEAN or MERN are essential. Alternatively, you can hire an Angular web development company to help you build scalable, responsive enterprise web applications. You can also hire ReactJS developers for building interactive single-page applications using ReactJS.
The development of large-scale web applications like online marketplaces, social media networks, or content-rich applications requires a well-chosen combination of useful technologies. It’s better to select core technologies like ReactJs, AngularJS, or Ruby and Rails and then combine it with other effective tools and languages depending upon the functionalities you need in your web application.
Time to market
The choice of web app stack also depends on how much time you have at your disposal before you launch the app. If the project needs to be marketed within a short span, you need to select the tools that allow easy third party integrations and thus reduce the development time. MEAN is an ideal tech stack in that regard.
If you are building a web application with an intention to scale it with your business expansion, it’s vital that you choose the right tools at the time of development itself. Angular and Node.Js top the list of tools that make web applications scalable. So you can either go with MEAN or have your own combination of Angular and Node.js web development stacks.
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The Bottom Line
Choosing the right technology stack for web application development requires a thorough understanding of each of the tools involved. You have to be extremely cautious about not falling prey to your own biases or personal preferences. If you don’t have in-depth knowledge and expertise in web development, you may end up selecting the wrong web technology stack.
To minimize the risks, you should team up with an expert web developer or a web development company that can help you come up with the most feasible combination of web development tech stacks in 2020.