Today, it's not enough to just have a mobile application - you need an excellent app to be successful. And, while having a beautiful interface and a convenient UX is ideal, there's more. You must create a stable, safe, and easy-to-maintain solution that will allow your business to scale. Therefore, one of the most critical steps in the initial development phase is to build an app stack. Let's take a closer look at what this process means.
What is App Stack and do I need it?
An app stack is a collection of tools combined to develop a mobile product. It includes programming languages, software, databases, and other technologies needed to create a functional solution. These elements constitute the future product's anatomy and require careful selection.
These applications are tightly coupled with each other, so data can be imported or exported between them with a minimum of steps. It is a set of application programs that help you perform a specific task. However, it is important not to confuse software stacks with application stacks. The software stack provides infrastructure software instead of conventional applications while the application stack provides application programs that facilitate workflow and help manage tasks.
What is App Stack used for?
To understand how an app stack is used, let's imagine a puzzle. Each level of the digital product is built on top of the previous one, making them highly dependent. For example, frontend and backend tech stacks are inextricably linked, so any change on the server-side will most likely entail revising the interface creation tools - and vice versa. In other words, to avoid complications, you must put the technology puzzle together correctly.
Different stacks can be used to develop the same product, and each of them has its advantages. Therefore, to choose the right mobile development technology stack, a company should start from the future application features, the target market, business goals, budgets, and other factors. This approach allows you to make an informed decision and visualize how to start working on the product.
Main Advantages of Choosing the Right App Technology Stack
What works for one project may not work for your. The choice of an app stack development for startups should be made individually, based on the future product's needs. By considering its components, you can use all tools with the highest efficiency, ensuring the solution's maximum performance and smooth operation.
What does an app stack do for your business? Let's look at a few benefits:
- Reduced development costs. By creating a technology stack, developers choose optimal solutions to achieve their goals without unnecessary spending.
- Faster time to market. Understanding the product, its functionality, and what technologies are used to provide it, allows you to see the project more clearly. This step makes it easier to build a successful MVP and reduces its time to launch and further scale.
- Absolute performance. Whether your application is reliable depends mostly on the combination of technologies you choose to develop it. When creating a technology stack, all tools are checked for compatibility, eliminating conflicts between the selected solutions and security problems.
- Scalability. When creating a stack, developers choose the technologies that integrate with third-party APIs, adding modules, and maintaining a stable architecture with increased traffic.
When it comes to your application, you can choose ready-made packages or order a unique selection of technologies. However, the main step is to rely on a professional development team that will assess the feasibility of specific tools and provide the best outcome.
App Stacks for Different Technologies: How Can You Choose?
Any stack consists of a toolkit/IDE, a programming language, and an SDK (software development kit). The technology you choose depends on multiple factors, but the application type is predominant. Let's explore the options in more detail:
- Native applications are built from scratch for each OS, using vendor-provided technology. This ensures the best UX and highest product performance. However, the cons are higher cost and longer app development time.
- Cross-platform applications are created by developers using a single code base that adapts to different operating systems, which means there may be problems with performance, UI|UX, and limitations when integrating with software. At the same time, this approach allows you to reach a wider audience with less time and cost.
- Hybrid applications are web apps wrapped in a mobile shell. They seem native to the user, but they require an internet connection and are not available in app stores. Their creation has the same advantages as cross-platform development: quick launch and low cost. The disadvantages are poor performance, problems with UX, and limited integration.
The choice is up to you but remember - your decision will affect which tools you use during development.
Android Tech Stack
To develop a native app, software engineers use Android Studio. It's the perfect toolbox for coding, working with UI|UX elements, debugging, deploying a finished product, and more.
The choice of programming languages for Android applications is quite broad - Java, Kotlin, C ++, C # - with Java and Koltin being Android Studio's official languages. C ++ requires Java NDK tools to be installed to work with Android Studio but is most commonly used for game development as the Unreal Engine supports it. C # can also be used to create any application; however, it is most famous for Unity gaming products.
The Android Software Development Kit (SDK) makes testing your application simple and easy.
iOS Tech Stack
Xcode is used as a software development kit supported by all Apple products. It is a powerful tool that simplifies work at all stages: from direct coding and creating interfaces to testing, fixing bugs, and publishing the finished product in the app store.
iOS development can be run using Objective C and Swift as its programming languages. Objective C is Apple's original language; however, it has several shortcomings and was not originally intended for building iOS applications, making it more complicated and prone to code errors.
Apple introduced Swift as a replacement for Objective C. It has better performance, cleaner code, improved security, and is easier to optimize, making a choice evident in most cases.
The iOS SDK allows you to test apps on various device versions and is updated continuously to support new hardware and features.
Cross-Platform App Tech Stack
Hybrid App Stack
How to Select the Best Tech Stack for a Mobile App
There are many points to consider when choosing a stack for the application, but we will highlight a few to get you started:
- The project's size and purpose. The larger the project, the broader the required technology set.
- Development team skill set. The team must have experience with the technology you need.
- Budget. Developing a native app technology stack is more expensive than cross-platform and hybrid. Consult a technical team to find out the best solution.
- The security level of the app stack. When forming technology stacks, it is essential to choose technologies that provide a high level of security. This is especially important when it comes to online payments.
- Scalability. Your product can scale horizontally (working with different devices and withstanding high loads) and vertically (adding new features and elements to the application). The technology stack you choose should support your business's growth opportunities in both scenarios.
- Compatibility with other technologies and APIs. Be sure the selected tools are compatible with one another and third-party modules. Consider if you need integration with cloud services or payment gateways and whether you can integrate solutions on the market with your chosen technology stack.
The best way to choose an accurate stack is to find a good development company and discuss the technologies suitable for your project. Some applications require additional security layers, such as dating apps or e-commerce applications, while others require strong performance to work quickly with multimedia files. Experts will consider all factors and offer the most effective solution.
Development Stacks in Owlab
As a mobile application development company, Owlab uses ready-made and custom created technological bases to meet our clients' needs. Our specialists work with a wide range of technologies and advanced tools to choose the right application stack at the discovery phase, which is the basis for successfully implementing substantial projects.
Do you have an idea for a mobile app? Contact us, and let's discuss the details!