How to Choose the Right Tech Stack for Your MVP

Adriana Campoy and Pablo Grill
June 3, 2020

After utilizing the product inception process to define your app's features and running a design phase to prototype ideas, it's time to start thinking about your tech stack. The term tech stack refers to the various technologies and tools you'll use to build your app, including the programming language, libraries, platforms, and other software products that make development possible. You'll need to consider the technical requirements of both the back end (i.e., the server side where your data is stored) and the front end (i.e., the client side on the user's browser or phone). The advice of an expert development team is invaluable here. However, you should also make sure the technologies you select are the right choices for your business needs. Below we touch on eight important factors to consider.

tl;dr: You can download our free checklist of key questions to ask your software partner to help you make the best decisions for your app.

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1. Size & Complexity

The type of web or mobile app you want to build will have a significant impact on which technologies are best suited to it. The appropriate tech stack for a web app can vary depending on how much and what type of content and data you need to manage. An online store, a news site, a SaaS solution, and a social media platform could all require very different solutions. When it comes to mobile apps, the question of complexity is also crucial to your approach. A more complex mobile product that needs access to the phone's GPS or camera should be built specially for an iOS or Android operating system. If this is not the case, however, it often makes more sense to reach both iOS and Android users by utilizing a cross-platform development technology like React Native or Xamarin.

2. Time-to-Market

The tech industry is fast-paced, and sometimes it's important to get a product on the market before a competitor does. Certain languages and frameworks can facilitate an efficient development process without sacrificing quality. In mobile development, cross-platform technologies like React Native and Xamarin can save a lot of time when building the front end.

3. Cost

Another key factor to consider is your budget. The main expense you'll incur are developers' salaries, and not all technologies are created equal when it comes to how much experts in different languages will charge. You'll want to select a programming language with a large talent pool so you have more options to choose from. Technologies that are very new or not widely used tend to be more expensive to implement, and you'll have a harder time finding developers to maintain your software after the initial development phase. Your best bet is to choose a mature language that is likely to remain popular in the future. Working with open-source software is another wise choice for your wallet; not only is the source code free, but developers won't have to spend time reinventing the wheel and can adapt existing solutions to your product.

4. Scalability

Scalability is especially important when you go the MVP route. It's wisest to choose an architecture and tech stack that facilitate the addition of new features and can accommodate your user base as it grows. (For example, we're fans of Django because of the way its "shared nothing" architecture makes components independent of each other, enabling easier growth.) A poor choice in technology, on the other hand, can create the need for the entire product to be migrated to another technology in the future in order for the app to scale successfully.

5. Security

Security is critical for both your business and its customers, and your tech stack plays an important role in ensuring that user data is safe.You'll want to make sure the libraries you use for your security features have a demonstrated history of top-notch safety and security. They should be well-maintained and regularly updated to address new security vulnerabilities.

6. Ecosystem

You'll also want to choose technology with a rich ecosystem of tools so you can build the features you need and ensure the best user experience. The right technology will help you build exactly to the project requirements, saving time and resources. Technical decisions in this area can also impact your app's ability to be easily used in different operating systems.

7. Support & Maintenance

Using open source technologies is a great way to ensure that you'll be able to maintain your app long-term, as solutions for common problems will be more readily available. It's also wise to be wary of new and shiny technologies, especially if your software partner will only work on the development phase. Working with a niche technology can lead to a difficult search for developers to maintain your product and a significantly more expensive support phase. In addition, a poor choice in technologies can result in a more complicated system that's difficult to update, monitor, and maintain.

8. Developer Community

A key factor to consider is whether there is a strong developer community for the technologies you work with. You'll be able to address bugs more quickly if there is a wealth of resources out there for developers to draw from when they come across an issue.

A Critical Decision

The technology you use for your MVP can be vital to the success of your project. Luckily, this is not a decision you have to make on your own. Getting advice from your software partner can be enormously helpful in making the best decision for your technical and business needs. Don't forget that you can download our free checklist of questions to help you cover all the important areas when you discuss your tech stack with your development team.

Download Checklist

If you'd like to know what the experts on our team think, reach out to us for a free consultation!

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"How to Choose the Right Tech Stack for Your MVP" by Adriana Campoy and Pablo Grill is licensed under CC BY SA. Source code examples are licensed under MIT.

Cover photo by Ryan Quintal. Thumbnail photo by Hello I'm Nik.

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