Choosing the Right Technology Stack for Your Web Applications

Gimena Aguerreberry
May 17, 2021

Developing a software product like an app is no small task. Your project requires a lot of blood, sweat, and tears on the part of you and your development team.

If you want your efforts to pay off, you need to choose the right web application development technology from the get-go. The proper technology stacks will make your life easier and ensure your app turns out as you envisioned.

But, how does one go about choosing a tech stack? There are tons of options available, making it confusing for even veteran developers to settle on the perfect combination.

Luckily, this straightforward guide is here to help. We cover everything you need to know about choosing a technology stack, including key factors to consider and examples of the most common stacks. By the end, you'll have all the info you need to set yourself and your development team up for success.

Defining a Tech Stack

Before you learn about choosing a tech stack, you should probably know what one is.

A tech stack is essentially your toolbelt for your web application development project. It consists of the software, web frameworks, and programming languages you need to build an app. Without these technologies, your app would not be functional.

The Two Categories of Tech Stacks

While web developers use different combinations of tech stacks, we can classify the tools into main two categories. Let's take a closer look at these classifications:

Front-End Development

Front-end development allows the user to see and interact with the app. The tools involved are responsible for creating images and essentially bringing the software to life.

Note that you might hear some programmers use the term client-side development. Regardless, the technologies of this category are consistent across the board. Most programmers use front-end development tools such as the following:

 Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). CSS is the most stylish tool of the bunch. It is responsible for dictating colors, fonts, and other elements of the sort.

 HyperText Markup Language (HTML). Programmers use HTML to structure the content on web pages. With this tool, they can designate headings, specify relationships between content (i.e. the correlation between an image and a caption), etc.

 JavaScript. JavaScript is where the real fun begins. It enables programmers to make web pages animated and interactive, allowing you to provide the best user experience possible.

To use these tools, you need a framework. The most common framework for CSS and HTML is Bootstrap as it features a comprehensive library. If you aren't particularly fond of Bootstrap, a good alternative is Foundation.

You also need the perfect framework for JavaScript. It can be difficult to choose one when you consider how many options are available. Everyone has their preferences when it comes to open-source web frameworks, but we're big fans of Angular. It is one of the most established open-source platforms of its kind and comes with many advanced features. Other popular options include ReactJS and VueJS. The former comes from the experts at Facebook, and the latter is a newer framework that is excellent for lightweight apps.

Back-End Development

Now that you're familiar with front-end development technologies, let's move on to back-end development.

Back-end development (AKA server-side development) is like the stage crew. It runs in the background and is invisible to users. But, just because it works behind the scenes doesn't mean that it's not crucial to the production.

The tools involved in back-end development keep the front-end in working order. They are responsible for the app's logic and ability to communicate between components. As a result, the app knows when and how to respond based on a user's actions.

There are many essential components within back-end development. Of course, you must choose an operating system that is appropriate for your project. Other key aspects to consider include:

Programming Languages

A programming language is responsible for providing an app with the logic it needs to function. As long as you use the appropriate language, you will essentially be able to teach your app to "think."

With how many programming languages there are, it can be difficult to settle on the right one. But, you should appreciate the variety as there's something that will perfectly suit your project. Plus, if you use the proper framework, coding becomes much easier and more efficient.

Curious as to the most common programming languages and their accompanying frameworks? Here are 5 prominent examples:

• JavaScript (MeteorJS, NodeJS, and ExpressJS)

• Python (Flask, Django)

• Ruby (Ruby on Rails)

• Scala (Play)

• PHP (Code Igniter, Laravel)


Some simpler mobile apps don't use databases at all. While they aren't necessary for software development, databases are common among most products.

These collections of information provide increased functionality to apps. They are particularly essential for storing details that you collect from users. So, it makes sense that most modern apps use databases as it's common to ask for your users' personal details (name, email, login information, etc.).

Wondering which databases you should start using? Some of the most common are as follows:

• PostgreSQL (relational)

• MySQL (relational)

• MongoDB (non-relational)

You'll notice that we denoted these databases as either relational or non-relational. But what's the difference?

Relational databases are those that store information in a structured format. They usually rely on tables to display relationships between data. Non-relational databases, on the other hand, are unstructured and presents data in more of a "laundry list" format.

These two types of databases are polar opposites, but each come with their own benefits. Relational databases, for instance, can handle complex queries while non-relational databases are more scalable.

At the end of the day, the one you choose boils down to your preferences and what kind of project you're working on.

Web Servers

Last but not least for back-end development, we have web servers. The server uses a web service to "listen" for user requests. When it “hears” these requests, it processes them and responds accordingly.

In most cases, programmers will choose Nginx or Apache as their server.

Client-Side Meets Server-Side

Above, we discussed the difference between client-side and server-side technologies. But, you should realize that these tools do not act independently. They build on each other to form a technology stack for your software development project.

As a programmer, you have the power to customize your technology stack. Granted, tools such as CSS and HTML are must-haves. But, you can take your pick when it comes to frameworks, programming languages, and databases.

The freedom to create client-side/server-side combos is a little overwhelming. If you aren't sure which technologies will mesh well with your project, you're in luck. Programmers have established specific tech stacks that are popular among users everywhere. Check out a few of the most common below:


This tech stack is as straightforward as it gets. It uses the Python programming language and features Django as its back-end development framework. If you use a MySQL database and Apache server, the Python-Django stack is ideal for building a quick mobile app.


The next three tech stacks use acronyms to dictate which tools they feature. In MERN's case, the tech stack uses MongoDB, Express.js, React/Redux, and Node.js. It's perfect for creating responsive single-page apps and even larger products.


MEAN is similar to MERN, except that it uses Angular instead of React/Redux as its front-end framework. This difference (and its use of JavaScript) allows programmers to build high-performing, scalable apps.


LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. It's one of the most popular stacks available thanks to its security and versatility.

How to Choose the Right Tech Stack

Many programmers choose a pre-established tech stack (like the ones we mentioned above). It keeps things simple as you know you're using something that works for other programmers.

Whether you choose a readymade stack or decide to build your own, be sure to keep the following factors in mind:

What Kind of Project You're Working On

If your project is small and doesn't require as much functionality, you can choose something simpler like Python-Django. But, if you are working on mid-size or large-scale apps like online stores or social networks, you'll need something more robust.


Especially in today's world, you're probably building your mobile app with the intention of scaling it. Your online stores or social networks will require more resources as they receive more traffic. So, know that your choice of technologies will influence whether your stack can keep up with potential growth.

Time to Market

Some web development projects are years in the making. But, if you need to put a rush on yours, you will need a tech stack that is compatible with quick turnaround times. The combo must be able to reduce time to market by permitting seamless third-party integrations.

Need Help Choosing a Technology Stack? Consult an Expert

This guide should serve as a comprehensive overview of tech stacks. We've shown you what they are, examples of common stacks, and tips for choosing the one that's best for your project. But, especially if you're new to web development, you might still have questions.

If you're confused or unsure of which stack is the right choice, contact our web application development company today. Our professionals are eager to partner with you on your next project. Thanks to our expertise, we can assist you with every step of the process, including navigating the world of tech stacks.

"Choosing the Right Technology Stack for Your Web Applications" by Gimena Aguerreberry is licensed under CC BY SA. Source code examples are licensed under MIT.

Photo by Domenico Loia.

Categorized under software development.

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