Web Development

What Are the Best Stacks for Web Development?

Marlena Walburg
Marlena Walburg
What Are the Best Stacks for Web Development

If you are planning to build a web application, you know there are many challenges behind it. Creating your dedicated web application is a serious decision for any business. You are considering the best solutions for your project, for example, choosing the right technology stack. A tough nut to crack, right? There are so many different options available and they are constantly evolving, so determining the best technology stack for web development can be difficult.

Fortunately, today’s advanced tools and frameworks have made it easier than ever before. Together we will try to find out what are the best stacks for web development. Let’s dig into the most interesting of them.

Technology Stack – What is it?

First things first – before we move on to choosing the greatest option, we need to understand what technology stack is.

Generally speaking, it’s a set of tools used in the development and deployment of digital products. It consists of programming languages, frameworks, libraries, approaches and all the items needed to build an application. The concept comes directly from the analogy of things stacked on each other and creating layers. That’s exactly how we can think about the underlying elements of the application.

The stack has its structure and it can be divided into 2 parts: client-side or front-end and server-side or back-end.

Front-end allows users to view and interact with data by converting it to a graphical interface using HTML, CSS, JavaScript and other languages. Going deeper into it, we will divide it into elements responsible for the structure and placing of the content and visual representation.

The back-end is in charge of inner operations invisible to the user. This kind of development relates to the application server-side and everything that communicates between the database and the browser. It usually consists of three parts: a server, an application, and a database.

Types of Web Applications

As you probably know, a web application is a type of software that runs on remote servers and is accessed through a browser with an active internet connection. These applications are programmed using a client-server structure. There is no complicated installation needed and very often, the data is stored remotely too. This allows for easy and comfortable cooperation and communication. 

Client-Side Web Apps

This type of application is developed in frontend structures such as JavaScript. Communication with the database is impossible as it is an operation that requires a connection to the server. Therefore, all actions and date storage have to take place on the client’s side.

Such an app can be just a simple, static website designed in HTML. It may also be a kind of program that doesn’t need to store user information for more than one session like an image editor.

Server-Side Web Apps

Analogically to the client-side, server-side means that everything happens on the server. It renders pages to the client and processes user input. Every time the page loads, the entire data is sent by the browser to the server. It can introduce processing overhead that can decrease performance and force the user to wait for reloading.

Currently, there is a wide spectrum of technologies available for writing web application implementations in the backend like C#, Ruby, or PHP.

Single Page Web Apps

Single Page Application combines front-end and back-end. Instead of loading entire new pages, it interacts with the web browser by dynamically rewriting the current web page with new data from the webserver. The purpose is to achieve the feel of a native application with greater fluidity and faster transitions.

How to find the best tech stack?

It’s easy to get lost in the number of available solutions. Therefore, we must take into account the factors that can determine the success of the undertaking. First, focus on its significant requirements like the size and purpose of it. The larger and more advanced project will require a technology stack proportional to its size. Don’t overload it with the additional technologies, though.

When choosing a tech stack, you also need a lot of experience and knowledge. You have to be familiar with all the secrets and the nuances between them, therefore it is worth giving preference to the technologies which you are confident to work with. It’s not always worth following new trends, but betting on something we already know. This has a positive effect on efficiency, as developers will not waste time getting to know the new technology.

The speed of the project development is very significant. If the project were to be completed in a short time, the best solution would be to choose off-the-shelf solutions that ensure easy integration and reduce overall development time.

Pay attention to scalability and maintainability when building applications. Scalability means being able to work across devices and deal with an increasing number of users, as well as adding new features or elements to your application in the future.

The ease of maintenance will be influenced by the architecture and the codebase that shouldn’t be just on point, not too lengthy or concise.

Now take a look at these popular web stacks we have listed below. 

MEAN Stack

MEAN is a free, open-source JavaScript software stack for building dynamic websites and web applications. It consists of MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS (or Angular), and Node.js. This set of components allows creating apps starting from the code running in the browser to the very end, which is a database. MEAN is just a broader, modified full-stack solution.

The goal of introducing MEAN was to create a simple tool for building fast, robust, and maintainable web applications.

Pros and cons

As a user-friendly, end-to-end framework, MEAN gives lots of opportunities:

  • Provide a full development cycle from front-end to back-end.
  • Single-language-based, backing every level of the application which is an efficient web development approach.
  • All of the technologies are free and open-source, and users can count on the support from the strong community.
  • Allows reusing code across the entire application, decreasing needless reinvention.
  • Includes its own web server, so it can be easily deployed
  • Uses a pre-built, extensive set of test tools.

There are also some disadvantages:

  • Offers poor isolation of server from business logic and it may prevent the reuse of certain services.
  • A chance of losing records that were successfully written by MongoDB whenever a network partitioning occurs.

MERN Stack

MERN is much like MEAN – also open-source, based on JavaScript and used to build advanced web applications, from the very beginning to the very end. Instead of Angular, however, we have React JS here. Even though they are similar, note that React JS is a library used to build user interfaces. Angular, on the other hand, is a framework that aims to simplify both the development and the testing by providing a framework for client-side model–view–controller (MVC) and model–view–viewmodel (MVVM) architectures.

Pros and cons

Let’s start by listing its main advantages: 

  • Same as MEAN, it provides a full development cycle
  • As it’s also based on the JavaScript only, which speeds up the development process
  • Free and open-source technologies, support from the community.
  • Has a pre-built, wide set of tools
  • Supports model view controller architecture

And now, its drawbacks:

  • React is a library and not a framework, so developers have to deal with limited functionality. 
  • Larger applications will require third-party libraries to implement them effectively.

LAMP

Another technology stack for the web application is LAMP. It’s named as an acronym of the names of its generic components: the Linux operating system, the Apache HTTP Server, the MySQL relational database management system (RDBMS), and the PHP programming language. LAMP continues to be one of the most popular ways to deliver web applications despite being one of the first used stacks ever. 

Pros and cons

LAMP has been around for a while, here is why it’s still so popular:

  • Based on open-source and free technologies, provide great modules and customization features
  • Complete access to the source facilitates quick error fixing and perform modifications, thanks to the use of PHP and MySQL
  • Available at a lower price compared to the other options
  • Highly secure thanks to the strong security architecture and is constantly updated

Its disadvantages are:

  • LAMP only supports Linux operating systems
  • May become obsolete in the near future

PWA

Considering the latest and future trends, it is worth considering a solution that is gaining unusual popularity – PWA. This cryptic acronym stands for Progressive Web Application. It’s a kind of application software delivered through the web and built using common web technologies, such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript. It is designed to work on any platform that uses a browser. Distribution and publication of a progressive web app are the same as it would be for any other web page, which is big facilitation.

The key is to run like a normal website but be able to feel like a native application.

Pros and cons

The main advantages of Progressive Web Apps:

  • Provide much better performance than traditional web applications thanks to the use of service workers – a JavaScript file that runs independently of the main browser thread, intercepting network requests, caching or retrieving resources, and delivering push messages
  • Cheaper development as it doesn’t need to be updated or created separately for various platforms
  • Offline accessibility
  • Allow push notifications, just as in native apps
  • SEO optimized, which affects better visibility and forces the creation of better content and taking care of security (using the https protocol), if the creators of a PWA took care of such optimization, of course

Disadvantages:

  • Consume a lot of battery power
  • More limited access to the device functions
  • Browsers don’t fully support it yet because it is still a new technology

How to choose the best technology stack for web app development?

When deciding to build a web application, start with collecting the necessary information about the project – what is its purpose, who will the system be aimed at, what are the users’ needs, what functions the app needs to be attractive, but also useful. Don’t forget to consider the available budget and time to deliver the platform. Being aware of all these factors, with the assistance of the above knowledge base on technology stacks, will help you choose the best one for your project.

Summary

Choosing a technology stack for your web application shouldn’t only be lean on the latest trends. Each project is different and unique and therefore requires an individual approach. Take a good look at all their advantages and disadvantages, which, combined with your business needs, will give you the answer in which direction to go.

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