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Choosing a Web Development Stack for Your Startup

Choosing a Web Development Stack for Your Startup


  1. Introduction

A web development stack is essential for startup companies and their project success. The first project defines the startup destiny, and the choice of a web development stack influences the final business outcome.

In contrast to startups, big companies that are recognized on the market don’t depend on the specific failures. They can invest in the development of complex solutions for months.  

A web development stack is a set of technologies used for developing a project. It includes the programming languages and their frameworks, modi\ules, libraries, etc. 

Many details must be considered when choosing a web development stack for a startup. This article will describe the most significant ones.

To get a comprehensive overview of the web development stack choices, it is important to briefly describe the web application development processes.

  • Web Application Development Processes

The most convenient way to understand web development is to think of it as a two-side process, as presented in Figure 1: 

  • a front-end part is a client-oriented side of a website or an application that deals with programming of the system’s part that is visible to users. 
  • a back-end part is the server-side that includes a server, server’s application (supported by the back-end programming language) and database.

Figure 1. Front-end and back-end web development 

  • The Front-End Development

The front-end web development is also called client-side programming. It’s used to build the part of a website or an app that users can see on their screens. The front-end programming languages are:

  • HTML (Hypertext Markup Language);
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets);
  • JavaScript.

When creating the front-end side of a program, developers use frameworks that help them save time and speed up the web development process. The most popular frameworks used in HTML and CSS are Bootstrap, Foundation, and Stylus. There is also a significant choice of JavaScript frameworks such as Vue, Angular, Ember, or Backbone. 

  • The Back-End Development

The back-end web development covers the choice of servers, databases, caching systems, server-side programing languages, and their frameworks. In other words, it has everything to do with the part of a program that isn’t visible to end users. 

Servers are responsible for receiving and processing the requests coming from user devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc.). Some of the most popular web servers are:

  • NGINX ;
  • Apache HTTP Server;
  • IIS.

Databasesare used for storing, sorting, searching, filtering, calculating, and presenting data according to the requests received from the client-side of a web application. Databases are important for many web services, for example, e-commerce websites. They can be relational and non-relational. The typical relational databases are PostgreSQL and MySQL. MongoDB and Apache Cassandra are non-relational databases. 

More than ever, modern web applications need caching systems, for instance, Memcached or Redis. A caching systemis used for processing and reducing the traffic load on the database level. 

The back-end or server-side programming languagesare used to ensure interaction between servers, databases, and the client-part of a website or an app.

The goal of frameworks role is to provide simple and efficient coding. Some of the widespread programming languages (and their frameworks) today are:

  • Python (Django, Flask);
  • Java (Spring);
  • Node.js – a JavaScript runtime environment;
  • Ruby (Ruby on Rails);
  • PHP (Laravel);
  • Scala (Play).

Figure 2 shows the diversity of the front-end and back-end programming languages as well as their frameworks.

Figure 2. Programming languages and their frameworks


  • Highlights of Choosing a Web Development Stack

To ensure project success, you must choose the technology stack for Web applications wisely. Considering the information above, there are a few highlights to consider when selecting the web development stack.

  • Application Complexity

The size and complexity of an application and the project itself are essential. From the very start, programmers must understand what kind of project they develop and what end result is expected. By complexity, web applications can be simple, middle-sized, and complex. 

Simple applications usually include some simple landing pages and online stores without any built-in complex functionalities. 

Mid-level applications have some additional features and are usually supported by particular frameworks. Compared to simple applications, they have to process more traffic.

Complex applications are mainly built with several programming languages, frameworks, and technologies. They have plenty of complex functions, software interfaces, and implemented integrations. 

Furthermore, when it comes to the web application development tools, it is important to know what solutions are capable of processing large traffic loads (video or audio streaming, file sharing, etc.) and which ones can support low latency and real-time data exchange (social networking, e-medicine etc.). 

  • Optimal Timing (Time to Market – TTM)

Optimal timing or Time to market (TTM) is an important parameter for startup companies and small businesses. It implies rapid application development to provide high position among competitors on the market and ensure lower development costs. The usage of open-source technologies and license-free tools, if applicable, can accelerate the development process or third-party integration and their compliance with the specific needs. 

The choice of the right web development stack also influences the choice of a development team and their later engagement in writing documentation, testing, implementation, modification, and maintenance of a software product. The developer community of the chosen webdevelopment stack technologies can significantly contribute to optimal timing and success of the project. 

  • Security

Nowadays, governments, enterprises, and small businesses take care of cybersecurity more than ever before. Web developers and define recommendations for threat prevention and vulnerability minimization. 

A lot of discussions about the most secure programming language are being held. The only conclusion from these discussions is that there is no 100% secure programming language. When it comes to web application development, the entire team must ensure security throughout the development process. 

  • Scalability

The scalability of a web development stack is a capability to meet the demands for continuous application availability. It is crucial for further service development and growth. There are two kinds of scalability: horizontal and vertical. 

Horizontal scalabilityis a capability of an application to receive and process a great number of requests. It means that an application must be able to run smoothly even is the number of users increases rapidly.

Vertical scalabilityis a capability of an app to be extended with new modules or components without losses in performance. 

It is important to define particular web development technologies that can meet the needs for vertical and horizontal scalability of an application.

  • Budget

Budget is an important factor, especially for startup companies that strongly depend on the success of the first project. The development costs is higher if you choose the elaborated programming languages and technologies because the number of specialists using them is small. In some cases, it is useful to engage a business analyst who can define the necessary solution within the available budget. 

The choice of a web development stack is essential for business success. This is especially true for startup companies. The goal was to briefly discuss the main highlights of a web technology stack and its challenges to minimize the potential risks of the web application development. It is necessary to understand that each of the described highlights correlates with the other ones. Startup companies have to choose a web development stack that fits their budget and project requirements. 


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