Most people who work in the technology sector have at least some familiarity with the concept of a tech stack. Unfortunately, far too many do not have a clear idea of what the term means. In this post, we’ll explore this often muddy concept and show you why the right tech stack is crucial to the success of your product. 

What is a Tech Stack?

In the simplest of terms, a technology stack refers to the various elements that underpin a mobile or web application. In other words, a tech stack is the combination of digital tools that allows an application to function. The elements of a tech stack include things like:

  • software products that are necessary to the app’s functioning
  • programming languages like Python, Ruby, PHP, or Javascript
  • a web framework that contains working iterations of commonly used app features

It’s important to keep in mind that everything that defines your application is built on some combination of these underlying elements. The tech stack you choose is analogous to the foundation of a building, and many developers hire a cloud architect to make sure that the stack works appropriately.

 

Client-Side vs. Server-Side

Every application contains two types of software components– client-side and serverside. Often referred to as front end and back end components, the client-side (or front end) is where the interface with the user occurs. The following three technologies are used to make your application readable on the front end:

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  1. HTML– a standardized markup language used for documents that can be seen in a web browser
  2. CSS– Short for Cascading Style Sheets, which are used to present web browser documents
  3. Javascript– an advanced scripting language used to interpret the programming code of an application

Service side is an encompassing term that refers to where the application carries out foundational functions. These include forming the business logic, hosting, and interacting with pertinent databases. The server-side (or back end) is the base of operations for the programming languages, frameworks, and software products upon which the application is constructed.

 

Why Your Technology Stack is so Important

While incomplete, the previous information should give you a decent idea of what a tech stack is. You might still be wondering why tech stacks are so important, however. The short answer is that the technology you use for developing your application determines how your application behaves now and how it might change in the future. Knowledge of this technology is essential even if you’re an idea person instead of an actual developer.

Here are just a few reasons your app’s tech stack is so important:

  • it determines what can and cannot be accomplished by the application you want to design
  • tech stacks are critical to the process of migrating an app from local storage to the cloud
  • they also contribute significantly to the scalability and security of your application

Your tech stack plays these roles in any app you design. This can include a music app, voice recognition software, or an employee management tool. This is one of the reasons that everyone involved in the development of a product should understand how a tech stack functions.

The bottom line is that some varieties of tech stacks work better for certain applications than others. Therefore, it would behoove anyone involved in the app’s development to have a working knowledge of tech stacks.

Choosing the Tech Stack That’s Right for Your Application

Typically, only skilled developers understand how to put together the right tech stack for a given application. While the creator of an application doesn’t need to become a tech stack expert, they still need to understand the essentials involved and ensure that the right choices are made.

That’s why it’s important to work with a developer who has already been involved in projects that are similar to yours. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to choose the proper tech stack all by yourself. Developers who understand what you’re trying to build have the expertise necessary to create an application that will work flawlessly now and well into the future.

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