Thinking of developing a mobile app but finding it hard to choose the right technology stack? Answer these seven questions to narrow your choice and save time and money on development.
Developing a mobile application today entails choosing the right technology stack. Read the article to understand what questions you must answer before you gather your development team.
Technology Stack for a Mobile App
Before, when tech people built websites, they had to decide what platform and language to use. Creating mobile applications is no different: a developer has to choose the platform – iOS or Android – and supportive framework.
Answering the question what is an app stack, it is a repertory of tools, languages, frameworks, APIs, etc. that are required for application development.
There are native apps, which only work on Android or iOS, and cross-platform apps. There are also hybrid apps that are basically mobile versions of web applications. Each requires a different technology stack that includes:
front-end (client-side) development – focusing on the user’s interacting with the app;
back-end (server-side) development – databases, scripting, and app architecture;
development platforms – libraries and interfaces to build the application;
support – security, functionality, and future improvements.
Depending on the platform you are going to use, all these technical requirements will be maintained by different programming means. Native apps are designed using the language and tools related to a specific platform, while cross-platform apps and hybrid apps deploy the third-party technology.
Languages: Swift, Objective C
Toolkit: Xcode, AppCode
UI-frameworks: UIKit, SwiftUI
Languages: Java, Kotlin
Toolkit: Android Studio, Android Developer Tools
UI-frameworks: Android UI, Jetpack Compose
Framework: Flutter, React Native, Xamarin
Framework: Cordova/PhoneGap, Ionic
Now, precisely how do you decide which platform to use for your application, and which technology stack to deploy? Below are several questions to ask yourself before you embark on a project.
Choosing the Right Technology Stack for Your App
Even if you are the only developer, answering these questions will save a lot of time and hard graft. If you are thinking of a cross-platform app, you might decide to focus on a single-platform product. This questionnaire is essential if you collaborate with other developers, or if you are employing a team to do the work for you.
First, understand the market demand and your target audience. What needs does your application address? What problems does it solve? Who is going to use it – teens, adults, or people over 60, men or women? A draft portrait of your target users, their needs and problems is going to shed tons of light on the technical requirements.
Doing your market research, see what is on offer. What platforms do your competitors use? How popular are their apps? What issues the users have with them? What can you do better?
The principal goals
Depending on the questions your app will address, you can choose the tech stack that will sustain different latency levels. If the app demands heavy load processing, choose a stronger stack. If the app mechanism is straightforward, choose a lighter stack.
App type and platform
So, you know your target audience, have done competitor research, and are ready to plunge into development. Now is the time to choose the type of app and the platform you are going to run it on. You may find out that your competitors exist only in App Store, while in Google Store there is not a single quality app to beat their offer. It makes sense to develop an Android app to cover the demand in Google Store, rather than trying to fight the competition in App Store.
Likewise, as tempting as it may be to develop a cross-platform app, ask yourself if it is really worth doing. As per example above, it is more sensible to offer a competitive app on Android, promote it, and then use its success to sell an iOS app. If you try to push a cross-platform app, this may not work quite well.
Data safety and security
An app should be a quality product, but one thing you absolutely do not want to compromise on is data safety. Your users must feel confident that your app will not cause any problems to their phone or PC, and if they have to input some personal data, they must feel it will remain secure. As much as you may want to focus more on the front-end development, remember that end users are ultimately concerned about things at the back-end.
Budget and deadlines
Financial considerations play an important role in developing apps. The more advanced functionality is, the higher should be development costs and, consequently, the price of the app. If you want to make a cool, costly app in a short period of time, the cost will rise. At this stage you will have to get back to your first question: who is going to pay for it? Are there free analogs on the market? Why are they free, and what makes your app different from them?
There are also a few minor issues you may like to address, including the team’s skill-set and compatibility.
Ideally, you will have answered all the above questions prior to hiring a development team. But perhaps, you already have a team who specializes in app development on a specific platform. They can probably develop an app on another platform, too, but it will take some time to acquire or perfect the necessary skills. Bear this in mind when setting deadlines for the project.
Technology is rapidly developing today. The best apps are created by those who keep abreast of all the changes. Whether you are a developer or a visionary, think beyond the present version of your app. Envision how things may change in just a year’s time. This will provide many insights into which technology stack to choose for it.
Mobile applications assist users in different tasks, entertain and teach them. There is no wonder that so many developers try to fulfill the growing demand. If you are one of them, think about your end user to choose the most appropriate platform and technology stack for your app.