The Best Tech Stack for Web App Development in 2023
We share the latest trending technologies in web application development and give advice on what tech stack is better to choose for your business growth.
In the ever-evolving landscape of web development, the tech stack you deploy isn't just about coding — it's about carving a path to success, as an ideal tech stack is creating digital experiences that users relish. Research by Stanford University proves that as much as 75% of users judge a company's credibility based on its web page design, and as much as 40% of visitors will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load, shares BrowserStack.
Fively, as one of the leaders in custom software development and testing, always integrates the latest and most efficacious technologies into our bespoke solutions. Drawing from our vast experience and industry insights, we've curated this comprehensive guide to assist you in selecting among the most popular tech stacks in 2023 and choosing the optimal one for your web applications.
Journey with us as we unveil the tapestry of choices that can elevate your web presence!
What Is a Technology Stack?
As we explained in our recent article on the best tech stack for startups, the technology stack is the spinal column of your web application, an amalgamation of all software tools and technologies chosen to design, construct, and power your digital platform. Each segment of the tech stack performs its pivotal function, ensuring the web application resonates with efficiency, speed, and reliability. Let's delve deeper into its intricacies and vital components.
1. Front-end Tech Stack
- HTML (Hypertext Markup Language): Think of HTML as the structural framework of a house. It's a foundational markup language employed to design and exhibit digital documents, essentially shaping and positioning content on a webpage.
- CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): CSS is like the paint, wallpaper, and interior decor of that house. It dictates the aesthetics of a webpage, encompassing elements like fonts, colors, layouts, and more. For enhanced dynamism and manageability, developers often turn to frameworks such as SASS and LESS.
2. Back-end Tech Stack
The underpinnings of a web application lie in its backend, often referred to as the server side of the tech stack. It’s analogous to the backstage crew in a theater performance. While they might remain out of sight, their pivotal roles ensure the show runs without a hitch.
Key components of the backend stack include:
- Frameworks: Acting as the supporting pillars, frameworks standardize and accelerate application development based on specific programming languages. Renowned ones like Laravel, Django, and Ruby on Rails often follow an MVC (Model-View-Controller) architectural pattern.
- Web Servers: Think of these as the gatekeepers, orchestrating and managing requests from clients. Industry stalwarts in this space include Apache, Nginx, and Microsoft’s IIS.
- Databases: For data storage and retrieval, applications lean on either SQL or NoSQL databases. Powerhouses in this realm are MongoDB, PostgreSQL, and MySQL.
Plus, apart from the front-end and the back-end layers of the app, developers use various tools to host the app in the cloud and do all the needed integrations, test the app to eliminate all the bugs, and effectively manage the software project.
In essence, these distinct layers of programming languages, frameworks, servers, and databases stack atop one another, harmoniously working in unison. This holistic assembly is aptly termed as 'tech stacks'.
Best Sofware Development Tech Stacks
As we stand in 2023, several technology stacks are at the forefront of the tech scene. Here’s a deep dive into some of the most common and popular tech stacks, complete with their advantages and disadvantages:
LAMP Tech Stack
Historically a linchpin in the tech stack realm, LAMP continues to be a favorite, especially for those valuing cost-efficiency, flexibility, and steady performance.
+ Comprising Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP/Perl/Python, LAMP is open-source, cost-friendly, and boasts broad community backing. Users enjoy the flexibility it offers, particularly in selecting an operating system.
- It may falter with ultra-scalable applications. Although PHP is versatile, it's sometimes viewed as less avant-garde compared to emergent languages.
Example: WordPress, a notable name in the CMS landscape, operates on the LAMP stack.
MEAN Tech Stack
- AngularJS, while powerful, often intimidates newcomers due to its intricate learning trajectory. Also, it might stutter for compute-intensive backends.
Example: LinkedIn, the networking behemoth, harnesses the MEAN stack for its unique capabilities.
MERN Tech Stack
A sibling to MEAN, MERN is a popular tech stack, which primary distinction lies in swapping Angular.js for React.
+ Mimicking MEAN but with ReactJS at its heart, MERN basks in React's modular, component-centric architecture. This often results in enhanced flexibility and a gentler learning slope compared to Angular.
- Like MEAN, it grapples with the limitations intrinsic to compute-heavy backend activities.
Example: Airbnb, a titan in the travel industry, leans on the MERN stack for its web platform.
PERN Tech Stack
PERN stands for PostgreSQL, Express.js, React, and Node.js. Essentially, it's a MERN stack that employs PostgreSQL as its relational database.
- Like MERN, it could have limitations in compute-heavy backends.
Example: Many growing startups have begun adopting the PERN stack due to its scalability and efficiency.
Python's meteoric rise in the tech stratosphere is credited to its potent features and extensive applicability, especially in AI and data realms.
+ Python's immaculate syntax harmonizes with its vast libraries, especially in AI, machine learning, and data sciences. Its versatility spans web development, automation, and beyond. Plus, Python frameworks facilitate rapid development. Django, for example, is known for its "batteries-included" approach.
- Being interpreted, Python may lag behind some compiled peers in speed. Mobile development isn't its strongest suit.
Example: Spotify, the music streaming juggernaut, taps into Python for various backend services and data analytics. Instagram, although acquired by Facebook, still uses Python extensively for its backend.
+ Code reusability across iOS and Android, leading to faster development cycles. Boasts a rich ecosystem and supports hot-reloading.
- It may not handle very high-performance applications or graphics-intensive apps as smoothly as native development does.
Example: Facebook and Facebook Ads, unsurprisingly, are built using React Native.
Serverless (Jamstack Tech Stack)
+ Enhanced performance, higher security, and cheaper scaling. Can be combined with headless CMS and serverless functions for dynamic capabilities.
- May not be suitable for apps requiring real-time functionalities.
Example: Netlify, a cloud computing company, is a fervent advocate and user of the Jamstack architecture. Smashing Magazine has also transitioned to this tech stack, benefiting from its efficiency, speed, and security.
Developed by Google, Flutter is an open-source UI software development toolkit for creating natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase.
- Flutter's ecosystem isn’t as mature as React Native’s. Dart, though powerful, is not as widely adopted as other languages.
Example: Google Ads uses Flutter for its mobile app. Alongside Google Ads, the popular e-commerce platform Alibaba has also integrated Flutter into their application, allowing them to craft high-performance, visually appealing interfaces with ease.
Remember, while trends offer a direction, the best tech stack for your company will always hinge on your specific needs, team expertise, and long-term goals. The most popular tech stacks might not be the best fit for you, so it’s crucial to get a consultation before making a choice.
Remember, while trends offer a direction, the best tech stack for your company will always hinge on your specific needs, team expertise, and long-term goals. The most popular tech stacks might not be the best fit for you, so it’s crucial to analyze and introspect before making a choice.
Top 8 Tips from Our Experts for Choosing Your Tech Stack
Venturing into web development is like navigating a dynamic maze, where each turn, especially your technology stack choices, maps the journey's success. Picking the right tech stack for web development is like choosing the best tools for an artisan – they must be precise, reliable, and apt for the masterpiece envisioned. Here are crucial pointers to guide your selection:
Open-source options might not carry direct costs, but proprietary technologies might. Beyond initial expenses, ponder on long-term factors like hosting, maintenance, and the unpredictability of emerging tech costs.
Legacy technologies demand specialized skills, making the hiring process a challenge for recruiters. Such niche skills can inflate project costs, given the premium rates that legacy system experts might command. Additionally, while legacy software may offer stability, its upkeep can be financially draining.
On the flip side, diving into emerging technologies carries its risks. These tools, often still in their infancy or undergoing beta testing, can introduce unexpected pitfalls during development. The allure here lies in the promise that, over the project's life cycle, most teething issues will be resolved, potentially lowering long-term maintenance expenses. However, venturing down this path requires a bold appetite for risk.
Plus, he recommended not to follow a recent trend for using AWS everywhere: “Do not try to build “everything in AWS” if you are not ready to pay huge amounts of money for infrastructure. Some companies are forced to pay more than $20,000 per month for AWS due to the fact that they have high loads on individual elements of AWS, and you should include this in your budget estimations.”
Scope and Complexity of the Project
Plus, he recommends taking advantage of using microservices: “Today, they are the standard of the programming industry. This approach allows you to rewrite any of the elements of the system at any time, without a threat to business.”
Adaptability and Growth Potential
Web landscapes shift rapidly. A project that starts modestly can soon explode in scale and complexity. Anticipating such growth, it's prudent to invest in scalable solutions, such as cloud services. Such forward-thinking ensures your web platform remains agile, accommodating spikes in user traffic or content volume.
Team's Technical Expertise
Every artist has a preferred medium, and developers are no different. The familiarity of your team with certain languages or frameworks can considerably affect productivity and output quality. For instance, a team proficient in Ruby will be more efficient using Ruby on Rails, rather than adapting to an unfamiliar technology.
The environment where your web project lives matters. Whether your platform is browser-centric or leans towards progressive web apps, this choice dictates your tech toolkit. Some tools shine in web-based settings, while others are tailored for mobile-responsive experiences.
There’s also news we’d like you to pay attention to: a well-known tool for application deployment and infrastructure management Terraform is not open-source and free anymore, so be attentive while using it. Here’s some advice from our Cloud Solutions Architect:
Time to Market
In the web development race, the swift often overshadows the slow. Your project timeline can greatly influence tech stack choices. Some tools are designed for speed, armed with extensive libraries and out-of-the-box functionalities, enabling brisk deployments. Meanwhile, other tools, though powerful, may require a steeper time investment.
As your web platform grows, the need to merge third-party tools or platforms becomes inevitable. A tech stack that welcomes such integrations with minimal friction is invaluable, simplifying future upgrades and feature additions.
Business Needs Prior to Trends
It's tempting to chase tech trends, but priorities should always be dictated by business needs. Blindly pursuing popular technologies without a strategic fit can be a costly misadventure. Aligning tech choices with clear business objectives safeguards against such pitfalls. Our co-founder Igor Yakutovich recommends companies use the DDD methodology in choosing their tech stack:
Furthermore, the value of a robust developer community cannot be overstated. Such networks offer a reservoir of shared knowledge, troubleshooting resources, and insights, ensuring that chosen technologies have both current utility and long-term viability.
Choosing a tech stack in 2023 is an exercise in balance, straddling the demands of the present with aspirations for the future. Every layer, from user interfaces to backend infrastructures, contributes to the project's symphony. The ultimate goal is a harmonized tech ensemble that elevates web performance, streamlines developer workflows, and delights users.
As technology continually evolves, so will the realm of web app development. WebAssembly is pushing the limits of web app performance, while Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) blur the lines between web and mobile apps. As we look beyond 2023, it's evident that the blend of innovative tech stacks and emerging trends will craft the next generation of powerful, user-friendly web applications.
Navigating the sea of technologies can be daunting, but if equipped with the right knowledge, the voyage becomes less turbulent. Remember, the best tech stack is one that aligns with your project's needs, budget, and future goals. Whether you're building a simple blog or an intricate e-commerce site, the tech stack you choose today lays the foundation for your web app's success tomorrow.
If you need expert guidance or hands-on assistance in web app development, reach out through the form below. Our seasoned professionals stand ready to catalyze your digital ambitions!
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Frequently Asked Questions
A technology stack refers to a combination of software tools, frameworks, and languages used to develop and run a web or mobile application. It typically includes both front-end (client-side) and back-end (server-side) components.
In 2023, there isn't a one-size-fits-all "best" tech stack. The ideal choice depends on project requirements, team expertise, and specific business needs. However, stacks like MERN, MEAN, and Jamstack have gained significant traction due to their scalability, developer-friendly tools, and community support.
Both MEAN (MongoDB, Express.js, Angular, Node.js) and MERN (MongoDB, Express.js, React, Node.js) have their merits. For beginners, the choice might hinge on whether they find Angular (from MEAN) or React (from MERN) more intuitive. Many developers find React's component-based architecture and smaller learning curve slightly easier to grasp than Angular's comprehensive framework. However, individual preferences and learning styles play a significant role.