Kennected

What Is A Tech Stack Upgrade?

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A tech stack upgrade is a consistent process of adding and taking out unnecessary technologies from an existing tech stack to better serve a company’s needs.

Today, however, there is a wealth of tools that product teams and engineers can combine to build and maintain the perfect product for their market segment.

An early-stage company still finding traction might lean toward low-cost, flexible options they can switch out later.

At the same time, another might choose technology that maximizes scalability so that they can meet the demands of enterprise customers.

Each new layer builds upon the last, and buried layers can’t easily be ripped out. Here is some essential advice for building technology stacks.

What Is A Technology Stack?

A tech stack or solutions stack, is a combination of software services and programming languages that make up a mobile application or web application.

It usually consists of back-end stack (server-side) systems and front-end development (client-side).

They’re the source of data and all the elements that go into the building and running a mobile or web application.

Because most coding languages have well-known performance attributes and limitations, the tech stack hints at the overall application’s strengths and weaknesses.

If a programmer knows that a software service is built on PHP, they know that its codebase is probably large and difficult to debug.

Front End Technology

The front-end stack provides the interactions between a user and the back-end. They are the visual interface, such as websites and apps.

These are the visual elements that most applications are known for, and offer users the tools they need to get things done.

Front-end languages are typically much simpler than back-end ones.

Back End Technologies

The back-end stack consists of technologies that support the inner workings to store and manage data and enable the front-end to do its job.

These include operating systems, web servers, programming languages, frameworks, databases, cloud infrastructure, and services.

The back-end stack must operate smoothly, especially if your site has any features other than simple HTML-coded static pages.

The back end is your skeleton, muscles, and organs, while the front end is your face.

What Is Hypertext Markup Language?

HTML is used for structuring and placing content. Think of this as the framework that tells everything where to go.

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Facebook's Tech Stack

The social site Facebook, for example, is composed of a combination of coding frameworks and languages, including JavaScript, HTML, CSS, PHP, and ReactJS.

Developers talk about tech stacks because it makes it easy to communicate information about how an application is built.

The term is sometimes applied to marketing services (martech stacks) or sales services (sales stacks), but it originated in the software development community.

LAMP

One popular web development tech stack is the acronym LAMP, short for Linux operating system, Apache HTTP server, MySQL relational database management system, and the programming language PHP.

Why Are Tech Stacks Important?

The way you build your tech stack influences your company: what kind of products you’ll be able to build, how efficiently you’ll be able to work, and even what type of engineers you’ll hire.

The process always involves trade-offs—some technologies save time but allow for less customization, and others are better for certain audience segments.

While there is no magic bullet or defined tipping point for a complete overhaul, and the knowledge needed to keep a tech stack operational is progressing faster than many internal team’s ability to keep up, a modern tech stack is crucial for digital transformation and there are several considerations for exploring your options.

One trend we are seeing is that customers are evaluating architectures when the complexity of their systems begins to interfere with their workflow.

Building A Tech Stack

There is a real process for developing a tech stack. Below, we’ve highlighted the primary steps to consider.

Write Down Project Specifications

Describe what you want to accomplish with as much detail as possible. If you can, try mapping a walkthrough of the user‘s experience.

Include a list of platforms where you want the finished project to be available. Decide what needs to be done right away and what parts can be saved for future phases.

Determine your budget. Figure out how much you can spend now, and what you can budget for future phases of tech stack building.

Scalability

When talking about tech stacks, we recognize two types of scalability:

Vertical scalability: How easy it is to add new features to an app using a particular tech stack.

Horizontal scalability: How scalable a tech stack is in terms of accommodating user growth.

Both of these types of scalability are equally important. Any tech stack you choose should satisfy your vertical and horizontal scalability needs.

Product Analytics

The product analytics tools you add to your stack deserve extra care in selecting.

They tell you how your current product is performing, what features are being used, and what parts of your product give people trouble.

For this reason, they’re quite useful for helping plan your product roadmap (which in turn shapes your plans for your tech stack.)

Analytics platforms are designed to tie together data sources throughout the stack and provide granular user tracking.

This allows developers to identify issues users experience within their applications, debug, and fix the errors.

Anticipate Costs

Budgeting the tech stack is probably the trickiest thing in the software creation process. Why?

Well, software building is not precisely writing on a piece of paper with a pencil — it demands a significant financial resource to get the job done.

Your budget will often dictate which tech stack you’re able to use. Generally, more advanced and sophisticated tech comes at a higher cost.

It also costs more to maintain since you need someone on your staff with specialized expertise. Companies looking to minimize costs usually opt for open-source technologies.

For utilities and business apps that aren’t part of your core product, try to invest in options with low switching costs or pricing tiers to accommodate future growth.

For example, a small eCommerce company might start with an affordable Shopify plan.

As the company grows, it is easy to update to Shopify Plus or migrate to a custom site that they can now afford to maintain.

Security

Some apps require a higher level of security.

If you’re building a program that deals with private financial information or medical history, security is more important than a simple mobile game.

Consistently Update

Ongoing maintenance is an integral part of any software project. Your tech stack will dictate how difficult or costly it will be to perform app maintenance.

In general, apps are easier to maintain when built on tech stacks that allow you to reuse code and scale efficiently.

The most profitable companies in the world are consistently updating their tech stacks to better support the ever-evolving applications they create for their customers.

From a security perspective, application modernization is a significant driver.

Outdated code accumulates vulnerabilities, especially if built on open source packages without credible commercial entity support and maintenance.

The application must be backed by updated technology and developers who can adapt to the changing situation.

Plan For The Future

Many companies stick with their tech stack because it’s familiar and easy to use.

However, these developers are missing out on many tools and opportunities that new industry tech stacks bring.

However, it is possible to assemble a stack that can meet your needs and evolve as your company matures. When possible, start building with tools that can scale as you grow.

Many well-known backend solutions, like AWS, give you the option automatically add additional servers as you need them rather than having to estimate usage and pay for capacity upfront.

The best developers understand the need to balance reliability with modernity and scalability. A company‘s tech stack should constantly be evolving.

While it might stick to the same foundations, finding ways to reduce response times, cut costs, leverage data, and better meet customer needs is critical for success.

Preparing a tech stack for the future can be a double-edged sword.

If developers don’t consider how their application will scale, they might have to add additional services that make it cumbersome and difficult to manage.

On the other hand, if they anticipate exponential growth and invest too much in expensive tools and services, they might run out of money before the application ever finds market success–if it ever does.

The best strategy is to create minimum-viable products like web apps using open source tools to prove concepts before investing in them.

Look for tools that offer the flexibility to send data to the other tools in your stack, even if it’s not a requirement.

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Data Storage And Querying

This stack layer consists of relational and non-relational databases, data warehouses, and data pipelines that allow you to store and query all of your real-time and historical data.

These components are key for storing data about what happens inside your app and how users behave when using it. Later you can search this data and use it to improve your product.

Operating Systems And Programming Languages

You’ll choose these based on the environment you’re most comfortable developing in as well as the type of application you want to optimize for.

You may end up with several, depending on how you want to build the backend and the user experience, and what devices you’re building for.

Monitoring And Performance Tools

This is a category of tools that help you understand how each layer of your tech stack is performing.

Monitoring and performance tools collect and analyze data about the technical performance of your software, and are designed to track the health of servers, databases, services, and other internal systems.

Popular options:

  • New Relic

  • AppDynamics

  • Dynatrace

  • Datadog

Learning Curve

Adopting new technologies is fine, but take into account the learning curve.

New industry tech can sometimes have a challenging learning curve, but without learning the proper skills, this new tech can go to waste (or not be used to the best of its ability).

Developers should always work as a team when deciding what to add to their stack to ensure widespread support and synergy across them all to maximize the potential of the tech.

Web Tech Stacks vs. Mobile Tech Stacks

To use a mobile app, users need to download it to their device. Therefore, companies must develop mobile apps for specific mobile platforms (e.g., Android or iOS).

Mobile app tech stacks use platform-oriented technologies like Kotlin for Android or Swift for iOS. These technologies run mobile applications on specific platforms.

Unlike mobile apps, you don’t need to download a web app to your device to use it. Web app tech stacks use resources that are available in an internet browser.

There are many internet browsers, and your tech stack should work with them.

However, it’s wise to test your websites and online applications on all the most popular browsers to ensure it works the way you expect.

Choosing The Right Tech Stack

The process of choosing a tech stack can be relatively lengthy and overwhelming. It requires deep discussion with stakeholders, cross-functional planning, and practical hands-on experience.

It can help to analyze what similar organizations or competitors are doing — without reflexively copying their stacks.

The type of project you’re working on will often dictate the technologies you need to use.

If you need to build an MVP quickly, you might opt for Ruby On Rails or Node.JS. Both of these aid in rapid development.

You can develop most small projects with a simple tech stack. However, large projects often require complex stacks and more specialized technologies.

You may need multiple technologies for different pieces, and your core framework should be able to handle a heavy load.

Kennected Evolving

Kennected has over 18,000 customers, and helping them feel more financially secure is our company’s purpose.

So, when we identify new ways to deliver on that purpose, we look to make changes that create more personalized, cohesive, and connected experiences for our customers.

Our technology strategy starts with our business strategy, and our customer is at the center of both.

When we evaluate new technology or any potential updates to current technology, the first and most important question we ask is:

“Does this enable the outcomes our business is driving toward?”

While app development is not our specialty, our team provides one of the best lead generation tools to app developers, along with everyone else.

Cloud Kennect is an automation tool that uses LinkedIn to reach prospects for lead generation.

You start by narrowing your target audience, and then input it into the Cloud Kennect system.

Customize each outreach message to your liking, and voila—hundreds of leads guaranteed in weeks.

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