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Choosing the Right Technology Stack When Outsourcing Web Application Development

Choosing the Right Technology Stack When Outsourcing Web Application Development

One of the most important things to consider when outsourcing your web application development is choosing the technology stack for your web app to be built upon. This is particularly important when taking into account factors such as budget and time to market, ensuring on-time delivery of project as well as meeting or exceed acceptable ROI (return on investment).

Choosing the most suitable technology stack is key to a project’s success, while the wrong choice might be a reason for failure and end up in financial losses. In this article, we explain about the main aspects that you should consider for choosing the most appropriate tech stack of your web application.

1.  What is a web technology stack?

A technology stack is a combination of software tools and programming languages used to create a software application. In this case, a web technology stack would include programming languages, frameworks, server, database, front-end tools used to create a web-app.

For every web-app development project, there are always two components: the client side (or front-end) and the server side.

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Client-side programming

Front-end (client-side) development involves everything end-users see when they browse the web-app. Usually, front-end technology stack will involve HTML, CSS and Javascript as well as other libraries (e.g. jQuery, React.js etc.) and frameworks (such as Angular, Vue, and Ember etc.). Libraries and frameworks for programming languages provide ways to help coding simpler and faster.

Server-side programming

As for server-side programming languages, they are used to create the business logic of the web app and work behind the scene. Usually, end-users do not interact with the server-side, all information is passed back and forth through the front-end. For a typical web app development project, a server-side language will be selected together with its framework. Here are some of the popular programming languages and their corresponding major frameworks: 

  • Ruby (framework: Ruby on Rails)
  • Python (framework: Django)
  • PHP (framework: Laravel)
  • Java (framework: Spring)

Etc.

As your web app needs a place to store all the data and information, it needs a database. There are two types of databases: relational and non-relational. Some well-known choices of databases for web development include:

  • PostgreSQL (relational)
  • MongoDB (non-relational, document)
  • MySQL (relational)
  • Microsoft SQL server (relational - RDBMS)

Other than that, web application also needs a caching system to ease the load required on the database and to handle large amounts of traffic. Some of the popular systems include Memcached and Redis.

Finally, a web application needs a server to handle requests from clients’ computers. The two most popular web server choices are:

  • Apache
  • Nginx

2. How to choose the right technology stacks

When choosing the technology stack for your web applications development project, you should take the following points into the process of evaluating different technologies options:

Web app type

The first thing to decide upon is the type of web application you’re developing. Depends on the type of web-app you’re looking to build, you should pick the appropriate technology which is suitable and provide distinctive advantages for your web application.

As mentioned in the previous article, web app development projects can be categorized into the followings:

  • Basic: these web apps are created with out-of-the-box solutions such as CMS software. Examples include website for small business with landing pages and some interactive element;
  • Mid-level: this kind of apps provide more functions than the basic apps and are built by incoporating frameworks into the development process. Examples include of mid-level web-apps which is high performance site catering to large number of users such as large ecommerce stores and enterprises.
  • Complex: as the name implied, these web-apps are complex ones and have lots of functions and integrations; they’re developed with the help of different web development technologies and may be comprised of more than one programming languages. Examples: large ecommerce marketplaces, enterprise systems, etc.

When choosing the kind of web-app to develop, it is necessary that you also take into account the business objectives and specific business industry your company operate within. This is important, since your business goals impact the choice of technologies for development, for example: an e-commerce website will require different technologies compared to a healthcare platform even though both web-apps aim to serve large number of users.

Budget requirement

The choice of a website technology stack has a direct influence on the development cost. As a general rule, the more advanced the technology, the higher the development budget require. There are two main points you need to take into account:

  • Development cost: Each software outsourcing companies have different pricing models. Different functionalities and technologies will result in different pricings. Consequently, your development costs will be different according to the technologies chosen. More advanced technology will result in higher development cost.
  • Maintenance cost: building a web application and release it to market is one part of the whole picture, you will also need to maintain and update your app to keep up with new trend, new requirements as well as ensuring app operate optimally with time. To reduce maintenance cost, opt-in for technologies that allow you to update without having to invest and build thing from scratch again.

Time to market

For many business organization such as start-up or newly established companies, time to market is a very important factor influencing the decision of selecting the tech stack. The faster their web-app get developed and released, the better they can stay ahead of the competition. Time to market heavily depends on the technology stack you select for your web application. Existing programming languages and tools that are established (and have been around in a long time) could significantly reduce the scope of work and effort required. Also, established technologies usually have a big developer community, with large supporting documentation resources helping developers to move past blockage and meeting project deadlines easier.

Selecting a technology stack meeting all of your requirements mentioned above is not enough, you should also carefully check with your outsourcing partner whether they can provide developers who have the necessary skills and experience in the technology you choose. Furthermore, the less the development time requires, the lower the cost.

Other factors

Third-party integration: as there’s not out of the box solution to meet with one company specific business requirements. When choosing tech stack for your web-app, make sure it supports integration with third-party solutions. This will help you incorporate additional functionalities you need to your web-app without the need to re-build things from the beginning.

Update and maintenance: As mentioned above, new business requirements/trends may arise which require you to update your web-app accordingly. Ensure the technology you choose enable the update without requiring you to re-invest and start over again.

Scalability: finally, choosing a tech stack is more likely of a final decision and it is not easily reversible at all. As your web-app grow and gain adoption from users, you need to plan in advance for scalability by choosing the appropriate tech stack for this special need. There are two types of scalability including horizontal scalability and vertical scalability. 

  • Horizontal scalability: the ability of a web-app to accommodate more requests, operating at optimal or high-level performance when the number of users grows significantly.
  • Vertical scalability: the ability to add new components to a web-app without affecting other components and lowering the web-app performance.

3.  Conclusion

Selecting the right technology stack for your web development project is a difficult and challenging process. Different project will require different technology, each have its pros and cons that should be taken into account. In case you are not experienced with web development, our team of professional web developers will be able to guide you to the process and help you choose the right tools for developing a web application, with all the functionalities complying with all of your specific industry and business needs.