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How to choose the right technology stack for your business?

PROJECT REQUIREMENTS

This might seem obvious but believe me or not, many businesses still want to keep up with state-of-the-art tech trends and get the next “Facebook tech stack” for their project. When it comes to software development, this is not quite the right approach. Before choosing the right technology stack for your business, you need to understand the size, complexity, and business goals of your particular project. Not the other way around. If you choose the technology stack without a thorough analysis and strategy, you face the risk of financial loss or poor app performance.

Here are the basic things to analyze before choosing technologies:

  • A go-to-market strategy
  • A platform for building an app
  • UX goals
  • Load requirements
  • Future scalability

Your project is unique, with specific business logic and requirements. So, when deciding its technology stack, don’t be a copycat by following someone’s strategy blindly.

DEVELOPMENT AND MAINTENANCE COST

After you’ve highlighted your product business and tech requirements, it’s time to decide on costs and expenses. Namely, how are you going to get a solution up and running on a particular budget? For this, you need to understand the technology’s total cost of ownership (TCO), which is broken down into three components: talent costs, license costs, and maintenance costs.

Average software developer salaries

You can check the hourly rate and the average cost of any developer in different regions using Upwork, Fiverr, Indeed, Glassdoor, and PayScale.

Here’s also a survey conducted by StackOverflow on programming languages and salaries:

License costs

Each year you will have to pay for licensing the technology you choose. While there is an open source software that is technically free, there are still costs associated with it such as implementation, innovation, and support. On the other hand, you pay for the licensed technology and benefit from a more customized product. Additionally, you get improved security, greater scalability, ongoing support, and better functionality.

Maintenance costs

The other side of developing a digital product is the maintenance cost. What will it take and cost to support this technology in the future? The more customized your solution is, the higher your maintenance costs will be. For example, these costs usually include:

  • Buying and maintaining servers.
  • The time system administrators will spend on managing and adapting the system.
  • Support services from the technology provider.

SIZE OF COMMUNITY

Perhaps the most underestimated criterion when choosing the right technology stack for your business is evaluating the community of customers and developers around it. This one is very important as it directly affects how much information is available about the implementation of technology, the number of developers ready to work with it, thus making your product viable. The easiest way to check the strength of the developer community of a specific programming language is to check GitHub, Stackoverflow, or LinkedIn.

– GitHub. Enter the necessary tech query in the search, for instance, Ruby, and follow such parameters as a number of repositories (projects), topics, and users. So, as you can see, Ruby has 345k projects, almost 1 thousand discussions, and 20k users.

– StackOverflow. In the left-hand corner of the logo, click the menu icon and select Tags. On this page, you can see several questions, activity per day, and a week. If necessary technology is not displayed on the first page, you can use search. Also when you move the cursor at the technology, you can see the number of watchers (followers).

– LinkedIn. You can also use this platform to estimate how many developers are working in your region/country or other locations. What do you need for that? Log into account, click on search, write a query, for instance, Flutter, choose “people” and then use filters, like locations and titles to narrow the results.

A system is considered scalable when it doesn’t need to be redesigned to sustain effective performance during or after an increase in workload. Scaling is not only about technology. It is also about how fast you can change or modify features and bring new developers into your team. There are two kinds of scalability:

Horizontal scalability, which means an ability of an app to handle more requests. Think of it as a railway system: to transport more goods, you add locomotives to increase your capacity.

Vertical scalability, which means adding new resources to an app to increase its capacity without damaging the overall performance.

Top security is the major concern for any digital product. No stack is 100% secure. You better go with the one that has a good reputation and can withstand breaches and cyberattacks. Most technologies have special security guidelines to follow. So if your product stores user data, you need to have solid authentication and authorization.

Here’s a short checklist on how to choose secure technology:

  • evaluate how you’ll be able to control users’ access to the technology.
  • make sure that you can control access and permissions at an object level, feature-level, and field-level.
  • ensure that you can track who made which changes and when.
  • allow only authenticated users to have access.
  • consider technology providers with a strong reputation.

Before choosing the right technology stack for your business, check how often it gets updated and when was the last update. But how to understand that the technology you choose is being updated the way it should be? Where’s the golden mean? If a framework is updated too often, it’s most likely that it is in the active development stage. So it will be reasonable to pick something less volatile. At the same time, you don’t want to pick something that has not been updated for more than 3 months. An actively developed technology is constantly updated with new patches and hotfixes.

Pay attention to the version of the framework you are going to use. The general rules are the closer the framework version to 1.0, the more functionality designed by the original developer is implemented. The further away from the 1.0 version framework is, the more market adoption it has. Between 0.1 and 1.0 there have to be some systematic constant incremental updates.

If it is less than 1 and the software is being actively developed, I’d recommend you to look for more stable alternatives. It doesn’t mean that you can’t use this framework. However, there’s a high chance that developers may decide to introduce some breaking changes, and you’ll have additional expenses to keep your software updated.

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