How to Choose the Right Technology Stack for your Mobile App
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How to Choose the Right Technology Stack for your Mobile App

Ajay Kumar By Ajay Kumar | July 19, 2019
right technology stack for mobile apps

Mobile application development is such a mighty task.

Coming up with an app idea for execution, engaging the target audience along with driving large profit/revenue can never be an easy and uninteresting mission.

Certainly, the whole process of converting the idea into a profit-making app involves the selection of the right technology stack for mobile app projects. From designing to developing, prototyping to testing, and quality assurance to launch, you will require the reliable frameworks from the very beginning of the project.

The selection of choosing the right tools needs the exploration of your app requirements with end-goal analysis. Irrespective of whichever mobile app development process you are following, it would never turn successful and rewarding until you choose the right technology stack. 

In this article, we will be highlighting the importance of choosing the right tech stack for mobile application development while offering you a few worthy tips in order to select the most suitable one. 

But before that, let us quickly strengthen our understanding about what tech stack is-

What is a Technology Stack?

The technology stack is basically a set of frameworks and tools that are required to develop a software product. And when it comes to mobile app development stack, the complete set of tools is divided into four main areas that work together to create a functionalized mobile application.

Here are the four main areas which together make a complete technology stack-

Frontend 

The user interface through which  users interact with the app

Backend 

The server takes the users’ input and then converts it into the output. 

Development Platform

The platform where all the technologies, frameworks, languages, tools together are used to design and develop the mobile application.

Additional Requirements

Those components which affect the security, robustness, and performance of the mobile application

Now when you are done with the basic understanding of what mobile app technology stack means, it is also essential to understand why it is important to find the best technology stack.

Let us figure it out-

Importance of Finding the Best Tech Stack for Mobile App

There are a number of traits or elements that depend on the selection of the appropriate tech stack for mobile app development. It is something that would actually decide whether the app is robust or will it be able to scale various versions of different operating systems among many other traits.

Hence, choosing the right and appropriate technology stack is surely going to affect the immediate performance of the mobile application while ensuring its future growth. Though the cost of mobile app development, the right time to market the app are the obvious and initial tasks, neglecting or giving less importance to the tech stack can actually lead to more problems in your app.

So, now we are done with a basic understanding of what is a technology stack and why it is so important to find the right tech. It is the time to look at the technology stacks that fuels the development of scalable, robust, powerful, innovative web and mobile applications

Let’s get started:

Technology Stack for Native Apps

Native mobile apps are preferred by most of the companies across the globe. This is because they possess robust functionalities and high performance. Furthermore, they can access various smartphone features that other app types cannot (e.g. NFC module, camera, address book).

Building a native app lets the developers integrate the device with several built-in functions without the need for additional or 3rd party APIs. And when it comes to native apps then you might need to pick the right tech stack for Android app or iOS app.

In contrast, both mobile platforms have different specifications. So, developers need to choose an entirely separate tech stack for mobile app on both of them.

Let’s get started with them one by one:

For Android Apps

  • Programming Languages:
  1. Java: Among the most popular programming languages, Java has established its footprint among the Android app developers as well. Not just for mobile apps, but it is also utilized for Big Data, web architecture, and more. This vast programming technology offers plenty of open source libraries and tools.

  2. Kotlin: Powered by Google from 2017, Kotlin is the second official development language for Android apps. The language is completely interoperable for existing Android app development projects as well as new ones. That’s why developers can utilize it as a perfect tech stack for mobile app projects.

A competitive comparison between Java vs Kotlin can offer you insights into what these frameworks are capable of doing for your mobile app.

  • Toolset
  1. Android Studio: A very popular IDE is Android Studio offered by Google. A solution developed by Jetbrains company, it provides a complete set of features for designing as well as developing Android apps. Overall, it comprises everything to be included in the mobile app technology stack for dynamic application development.

  2. Eclipse: Referred to as a classic IDE for android app development, developers will get all the latest functions, libraries, and directories for their project. The components or tools are built-in and can also be available for download along with 3rd party integrations. Choosing this tech stack for Android app will provide great exposure to development tools.

For iOS Apps

  • Programming languages
  1. Objective-C: One big advantage behind the utilization of Objective-C is the availability of a toolset for a large project. It also offers tools for constant updates to optimize existing apps. It has been a reliable iOS technology stack for many years in the mobile app development industry.
  1. Swift: Swift has shown some amazing results in terms of app development performance and optimizing. Comparatively, Swift app development offers a faster process of codebase along with the execution of fewer errors. Hence, it can be a profitable choice to be included in the technology stack for mobile app development.
  • Toolset
  1. Xcode: Xcode is mostly used for building native apps and games with the enhanced user interface. It also helps to publish them on Apple’s App Store. Apps built on this framework is compatible with all Apple devices from watchOS to tvOS. Moreover, this iOS technology stack consists of a variety of tools and programming languages, except for official languages like Java, C, C++.

  2. AppCode: AppCode is another powerful tech stack for mobile apps that supports various programming languages. Choosing between this framework and Xcode is a matter of interest for developers. However, AppCode is quite faster in code processing as well as testing than Xcode.

Talking about native apps, there are a lot of facts you can discover about them. They are specifically designed to perform effectively on a particular mobile operating system. Native apps are a bit expensive as companies need to build duplicate versions of the same app.

You will know better and more when you read the pros and cons of native mobile apps below: 

pros & cons of native apps

Technology Stack for Hybrid Apps

In general, a hybrid app is built to represent a website through a set of native features. These apps offer an in-hand experience that web apps don’t, making the user experience better than ever.

These apps are built in such a way that it utilizes HTML5, CSS, as well as JavaScript. This combination of app development languages helps to strengthen hybrid apps with cross-platform abilities apps that have a similar look-and-feel as native apps have, and hence they can be distributed via different app stores.

Since they are completely based on a particular website, picking the best mobile app technology stack for these types will require attention towards some frameworks that also have web APIs and tools.

Let’s consider the most up-to-date mobile app development frameworks for building the right technology stack of hybrid apps:

  • Adobe PhoneGap & Apache Cordova

This framework offers various tools for cross-platform app development. PhoneGap is well-recognized for the distribution of Apache Cordova (developed by Nitobi Software) which was later acquired by Adobe. The framework avails various  JavaScript APIs that can allow the app to access the device on a hardware level.

  • Ionic

Ionic is another open-source framework that can be very fruitful to include in your technology stack for mobile apps. It allows developers to utilize HTML5, CSS along with JavaScript.

It also supports a variety of plug-ins and extensions from third-party patch files and libraries. In addition, this essential framework is easy to learn and fast to deploy as compared to other large tools like jQuery Mobile.

  • Sencha Touch 2

It’s another powerful mobile app development stack that embraces the capabilities of several languages like HTML5, ExtJS as well as the JavaScript framework. This combo of technologies helps to build complex hybrid apps with responsive UI and added functionalities for the better native experience.

Hybrid apps usually require standard web techniques like CSS, HTML5, and JavaScript for mobile app development. And the process consists of two major sections – Backend and Native shell. Along with native features, these apps are compatible with all platforms. 

To explore more about Hybrid apps precisely, take a look at their pros and cons:

pros & cons of hybrid apps

Technology Stack for Cross-platform Apps

Cross-platform apps are not much different than hybrid apps. The only difference is that hybrid apps are dedicated to the referring website and cross-platform apps are independent.

In cross-platform app development, developers are allowed to utilize one codebase for all the mobile platforms. This saves time for them while targeting each platform separately. As a result, these apps can be installed and utilized on multiple platforms.

Let’s move on to the list of best mobile app development stack that developers should consider while building a dynamic, engaging, and impactful cross-platform mobile apps:

  • React Native + JavaScript/TypeScript

React Native is a powerful framework for developing cross-platform apps. Based on Javascript, it offers native features that will work on iOS as well as Android platforms. Developers can easily put different codebases using javascript and React.

In addition, you also have an option for TypeScript programming language to write cross-platform apps. It offers various features with easy and flexible error recognition throughout code execution while writing React components.

Generic components present in the TypeScript toolbox offer an additional rise in the app’s security. From writing components to binding the loop and detecting the errors, the safety level works on top of everything.

  • Xamarin + C#

Developing cross-platform mobile apps using Xamarin is really effective and productive for the developers. It allows app developers to utilize almost 90 percent of the whole codebase for every major platform. Developers need to use C# language to write applications.

Basically, this typed language comes with mature app development tooling and on-front IDE support. Compiling cross-platform apps in C# are native to both iOS and Android binaries. Developers can also use platform-specific functions and APIs written in C#.

With different tooling and a combination of technologies, app developers can build their visionary applications that can run on any device. However, there are several advantages and setbacks of utilizing these apps. Let’s see their pros and cons to know them better:

pros & cons of cross-platform apps

As we have explored different mobile app development stack, it’s time for our readers and developers to know how they will pick the right one. After front-end technologies, it’s time to choose the right backend platform for your mobile app.

So, the next section is to choose the best backend technology for mobile app development:

Backend Technology Stack or Backend as a Service (BaaS)

Backend as a Service (BaaS) refers to the mobile backend run on a cloud computing model. It offers app developers a method to connect their applications with cloud-based storage and other APIs merged with the backend.

A mobile app backend development solution offers features like push notifications, user action management, and social media integrations. Here are the top backend technologies to choose for mobile app development projects:

  • LAMP

It is a combined form of Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP or Python. Basically, it includes a set of open-source app development tooling components. Moreover, developers can also connect them with other open-source software. LAMP backend technologies are customizable, easy-to-use, and flexible. Considering this technology stack for mobile app will help with a robust and reliable mobile app development.

  • MEAN

It is an abbreviation for MongoDB, ExpressJS, AngularJS, and NodeJS. This backend technology is open-source and the availability of javascript frameworks helps to build an event-driven architecture. Moreover, app developers can write the codebase for both client-side and server-side. Choosing the MEAN stack will also help in MVP development.

  • Python-Django

It is not a complete tech stack for mobile app like the above two backend frameworks, still, it can be utilized to support the backend of a mobile app. It is also open-source and a stable framework for multi-functional support. It is compatible to work on complex mobile apps more quickly than other frameworks.

  • Rails

Due to the rich repository of libraries, Rails might be the best backend technology stack for mobile app developers. Especially for scalable apps, this framework will work as a perfect tool with the essence of MySQL. With an in-built database, this framework can enhance the response rate of your app. This is a major advantage of Ruby on Rails for building your multi-purpose mobile app.

In order to expand your business beyond the mobile app targeted aspects, your backend stack must be scalable enough to provide all the further functionalities.

Other than front-end and back-end technology stacks, developers need to pick the right cloud platform or platform as a service (PaaS) solution. Let’s see what’s best for the developers in the market:

Platform as a Service or Cloud platforms for Mobile Apps

Utilizing the Platform as a Service (PaaS) model helps to keep the companies out of manual management as they offer automated hosting. These frameworks also help to expand your application for a wider audience using several capabilities.

Adding these services in your mobile app technology stack will provide a scope of integration with different IDEs like Android Studio, Visual Studio, etc. There are a lot of providers that offer mPaaS (mobile platform as a service) along with flexible and scalable features. Let’s have a look at these platforms:

  • Google App Engine

This platform is integrated with Google Cloud and has the same infrastructure as Google Search possesses. Developers can easily develop, deploy, test, and manage their applications using this complete cloud platform. In fact, they can scale their application to any extent using its configuration and provisioning features.

Google App Engine is compatible with all the major languages like Java, PHP, .NET, Ruby, etc. Along with these features, it also provides firewall configurations, SSL/TLS certificates, and Access/Identity Management System. Above all, it can be the best technology for mobile app development operations.

  • Salesforce

Salesforce offers a unique application Platform as a Service (aPaaS), which is appreciated by leading market-watchers. It has all the standard features usually available in PaaS, including servers, networking, storage infrastructure, security features, runtime environments, and integration with 3rd party API.

The platform also offers sample codes and learning guides through its ‘Lighting design’ system. Salesforce is acknowledged by the developers worldwide as a fast PaaS platform for managing mobile apps.

  • Lambda (AWS)

The best thing about this AWS PaaS is developers only pay for the time they spend using the framework. As long as they run their codebase, they will pay. The time they stop utilizing it, the billing will halt automatically. Adding this PaaS can strengthen your tech stack for mobile app development.

Developers just need to upload the code and Lambda will take care of it. It will set up the code to scale with other AWS services or run code for any type of mobile app. The feature set remains automated like other PaaS platforms, and pricing criteria is just an added advantage for Lambda.

  • MS Azure

Azure offers IaaS (internet as a service) and PaaS (platform as a service) together for developers to make a choice. This PaaS is providing the same robust features as available with Azure IaaS and SaaS.

In addition, Azure provides a free trial period along with a price estimation tool. As a result, it will be easier for users to choose a plan for their mobile apps. They can get a  detailed document exploiting the services available in each plan.

  • IBM Cloud

IBM cloud platform merges the infrastructure for IaaS and PaaS. It offers various choices to the developers for running their mobile apps:

  1. VMware
  2. Kubernetes clusters
  3. Cloud Foundry
  4. Virtual Machine

The features in the IBM cloud are the same as other PaaS, however, you will get plenty of services to choose from. 

With a scope of integration with other open-source technologies, these platforms offer public, private, and hybrid cloud environments. Pick the right PaaS provider for your app in order to keep it running effectively.

Before going further, you need to know the crucial factors included in picking up the right tech stack for mobile apps. Each of them has its own significance so, let’s move on to the checklist consisting of these factors:

A Checklist for Choosing a Tech Stack for Mobile App Development

tech layers of mobile app

The selection of the right mobile app development technology stack is a very crucial process. Developers need to make the right choice else they might not be satisfied with the end-product.

With the availability of functions, scalability, and flexibility of tools in mind, the checklist is made up of all the essential factors. Let’s have a look at them:

  • Type of app/project

It is the primary and most crucial factor in determining the right tech stack for mobile apps. For instance, if you aim to build a fintech app that offers secure and easy user access, then you should opt for native app development tools. In such a case, you need to pick a stack that includes Kotlin or Swift frameworks.

  • End-goal of the app

The goal of your app completely helps to choose the type of development you will implement. For a robust app development process, you will get an app with higher latency and quick response.

Moreover, if you are aiming for a mobile app that is completely dependent on heavy loads of data processing then JavaScript frameworks will be the right choice for your project.

  • Budget

Deciding on the expenses required to build a dynamic app is required to set up a perfect budget. In such scenarios, there is a tough competition between native vs cross-platform app development approaches.

Many of the app developers will consider React while others test Xamarin for robust development. It also depends on the type of app and its complexity. Analyzing all the factors will help to spend the money on the right tech stack for mobile app development.

  • Targeted Platforms

There are several platforms available for your mobile app, and you can make the choice according to the end-goal of the app. Whether you meant to target Android users, then picking the technology stack for Android app development will the key factor.

However, most of the companies are looking to target the maximum number of audiences with cross-platform and hybrid apps. So, the choice will be yours. Just analyze your requirements and objectives behind mobile app development.

  • Technological Requirements

Along with the choice of platforms, you need to gather technological requirements. That’s why you will choose a perfect technology stack for mobile apps. It includes tooling for designing, development, testing, and quality assurance. Designing and development can be eased by the above-mentioned toolkits, however, the testing phase will be the key factor for your app success. Make sure to run compatibility, efficiency, and performance tests for better outcomes.

  • Skill Set Required

It is necessary to know what technologies your app development team will be able to show their skills. Analyzing their capabilities and knowledge is required to pick the right tech stack for mobile app development.

No matter how scalable or flexible frameworks and platforms you choose for your development team, they should know about the occupied tools. Or else you might reconsider your requirements from the beginning. Talk to your team and make the right decision for fluent workflow.

  • Non-functional Requirements

When you are utilizing a set of technologies, served by developers or app development companies, it might be possible that your business needs remain unfulfilled. To get them fit in your requirements, you can consider the following non-functional aspects:

  1. Network dependencies
  2. Content delivery network (CDN)
  3. Security measures

In order to prevent any additional expenses from happening, make sure you are including these requirements with technology stacks.

  • Time-to-market

For a unique app idea to be successful, time-to-market is a crucial factor. Some enterprises ignore or leave this factor behind as they focus more on other aspects. But you need to stick with it if you want to gain a competitive edge.

For better timing and response, you should consider React Native or Xamarin app development as they provide quick deployment and development tools. These tools will also help in post-development operations such as mobile app promotion and in-app optimization.

When you get these factors right, picking up the right tech stack for mobile app will be an easy task. You will get a competitive advantage for building a solution that will be valuable to the market.

Choosing a Tech Stack = Laying App’s Foundation

Mobile app development isn’t an easy task. You need to find the right systems and tools to execute the project. This profound guide of choosing the right technology stack for mobile application will help you to adopt the latest technologies and tools. Enterprises will be able to discover new and unique functionalities for their app development. Get your insights clear using this guide as you will be laying a stable foundation for your app success.

FAQs

  • Which technology is best for mobile app development?

Choosing a native as well as a cross-platform app development framework will be a better choice in today’s era of development. In this guide, you will get options for various tools

  • How much cost required for a tech stack of a mobile app?

There are a lot of tools and technologies required from designing to launch an app. You need to carry out a list of these tools along with their average pricing. Overall, an average mobile app development cost ranges between $150K to $300K. So, 30%-40% of the total amount will be required for picking the right tech stack for mobile app development.

  • What is the best platform for mobile app development?

It totally depends on your app’s end goal, requirement, and budget. Since different app types have different development costs and specifications, so you need to compare them and then make the decision to pick the right platform. According to the market, native-like cross-platform apps are trending in the business.

Ajay Kumar
Ajay Kumar

A young entrepreneurial technocrat who is the Co-Founder & CEO at Appventurez Mobitech. After completion of his masters in Computer Application, he dived into the world of technology as an iOS developer. As a CEO, he firmly believes teamwork and collaboration are the essential tools for any company’s success.

⚡️ by Appventurez

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