How To Choose Best Technology Stack For Mobile App Development in 2020? (Comprehensive Guide)

How To Choose Best Technology Stack For Mobile App Development in 2020? (Comprehensive Guide)

Having a great idea for an app is a good start to app building. During the ideation process, you would most probably create a wireframe and a detailed list of features and functionality of the app.

After this process, you would get into checking the feasibility of the app from the technological aspect. It is vital to opt for the right mobile technology stack for mobile app development to make this entire process of developing a hit!

The technology stack for mobile app development will be responsible for making the app sustainable and expandable, in short, deciding the future of your app.

The suitable mobile app stack at an early stage could also help you in accomplishing your business goals smoothly, and saving costs and time for mobile app development.

Choosing A Technology Stack For Mobile Application

What Is The Technology Stack?

Technology stack is a group of frameworks and tools that are needed to create a software product. It includes components like programming languages, interface designing tools, database server technologies that create a fully functional app.

The four main components of the tech stack are:

  • Front-end
  • Back-end
  • Development platform
  • Non-functional requirements

Why Is It Important To Find The Best Technology Stack For Mobile Apps?

Choosing the Best Technology Stack for Mobile App Development will be responsible for many things in your app development process.

The technology you use determines how robust your app is and how it scales to various operating system versions.

Your app’s present performance and subsequent growth are dependent on the tech stack you deploy.

When the tech stack you use is compatible with the different parts of the development process, the app creation becomes smoother.

While choosing the tech stack for mobile app development, you should invest time in research.

The suitable tech stack should offer you the following:

A Quicker Mobile App

The user experience on your app should be smooth and hassle-free. There are a few user-interface development tools and programming languages that are massive.

It means they would require big libraries even when small tasks need to be accomplished. There are other tools and languages as well which are quick and independent.

Your app’s interface should be smooth and back-end should be lightweight, hence always go for the tech stack that offers you these benefits.

Super Renewal Process

Mobile app development generally takes place in various stages. All good mobile apps need many changes in the development process.

You should always check if changing current features is a simple process with your tech stack. It should enable you to quickly and neatly modify and boost your current features.

Higher Development Process

To meet the app’s launch timeline, your tech stack should help you develop the mobile app faster. If your tech stack causes holdups, it can affect different parts of the development.

Technology Stack For Native Apps

As the name suggests, Native app development means applying platform-specific software development kits, programming languages, development environments, and other mechanisms that are shared by different operating systems.

When you create native apps for different platforms, you need to use particular mobile app development technologies for every platform.

Famous apps that have implemented the native approach include Lyft, PokemonGo, Google Maps, LinkedIn, and Twitter among others.

These apps are installed through particular application stores such as Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store.

As they are designed individually for every platform, they utilise a smartphone’s features like the camera, contacts, GPS, and Bluetooth among others to function properly.

They can use the device’s notification system and are also capable of operating offline.

Technology Stack for iOS

iOS Technology Stack

When you are going to develop an iOS native application, you can keep in mind the following mobile app technology:

Programming Languages: Objective-C, Swift

To create an iOS app, for programming languages, you can opt for Objective-C or Swift.

Objective-C is a superset of the C programming language. It offers a robust runtime environment and object-oriented expertise.

Swift is a strong and intuitive programming language. It offers code that is less vulnerable, more functional, and fast.

The reason being its inline support for handling text strings and data, and it has dynamic libraries that are uploaded in the memory.

These features reduce the app’s size which results in great app performance. Swift 5.1 makes it simpler for you to develop and share binary frameworks with others.

With its features, you can easily create better APIs and lessen the amount of common boilerplate code.

Toolkit: Apple Xcode

For your iOS app development, if you have opted for Swift, then for the toolkit you will require is Apple Xcode. With this highly-functional development environment, you can develop apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV.

Xcode offers integrated support for Git repositories. It is a graphical editor to create user interfaces, integrated documentation, and instrumentation and debugging tools. With SwiftUI, you get an all-new user interface framework with a declarative Swift syntax.

With only a click, you can bring your iPad app to Mac. Xcode offers support for Swift packages through which you can share code in all of your apps or use community-created packages.

SDK: iOS SDK

The iOS SDK (Software Development Kit) is a software development kit created by Apple. With this kit, you can develop mobile apps on the iOS operating system.

It comes with an application programming interface (API) that acts as a bridge between the platform they run on and software applications. APIs are created in different ways and they consist of useful tools and programming libraries.

When iOS SDK is combined with Xcode, you can use officially supported programming languages such as Swift and Objective-C to write iOS apps.

Technology Stack for Android

Android-Technology-Stack

Keep the following pointers in mind when you are about to start code for Android native app development.

Programming Languages: Java, Kotlin

To create a native Android mobile app, you can go for either Java or Kotlin. So, when people ask, What Is App Stack, you need to concentrate on this aspect.

Java is the official language for Android app development. It is a well-known programming language that offers massive open-source libraries and tools to developers. There are certain limitations within Java that can cause hindrance in Android API design.

Kotlin is supported in Android Studio 3.0 and higher. It is neat, lightweight, and requires less code. It is a new-age statically typed programming language that increases the productivity of developers.

The objective of creating Kotlin was to make the present Java models better by giving solutions to API design shortcomings.

Toolkit: Android Studio & Android Developer Tools

Android Studio enables you to create distinctive and wonderful apps. It lets you use fast tools for creating apps on all types of Android devices.

It offers debugging, code editing, a flexible build system, performance tooling, and an immediate build/deploy system. Thus, it is an essential part of Android App Stack.

Android Developer Tools (ADT) helps you in Android app development. It offers Android-specific coding support, lets you use different on-device debugging tools, emulators, a graphical UI builder, and fully scriptable test automation support.

SDK: Android SDK

When writing programs with the newest features, you need to download and install each version of SDK for a specific phone.

Android SDK’s components can be downloaded individually. You can also download third-party add-ons to use in your app development.

Pros & Cons of Native Apps

Pros: 

  • Offers Speed
  • Works Offlines
  • Great User-experience
  • Maintains Aspect Ratios
  • Responsive
  • Highly Safe
  • Full Device Integration

Cons:

  • Expensive Development
  • Runs Only on a Single Platform
  • Requires More Developers
  • Time-consuming Development
  • Requires More Updates

Popular Native Apps

Waze, PokemonGo, Lyft, Google Maps, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, and Gmail among others.

Cross-Platform App Development Technology Stack

The process of app development in which the same code is used to develop apps that can run on multiple platforms like iOS, Android, Windows, or Web called cross-platform app development.

In this, you can implement a single code base, so developing mobile apps for different platforms simultaneously and then adapting them to almost all devices is doable.

With this approach, you can target a larger demographic, incur lesser app development costs, and launch the app sooner.

Technology Stack for Cross-Platform Apps

Cross-Platform-Technology-Stack

There are are two major technology stack for cross-platform mobile app development – React Native and Xamarin.

React Native + JavaScript/TypeScript

React Native is a JavaScript framework. It is implemented to code mobile applications that have a similar look and feel on all platforms like iOS and Android.

It utilises the same basic building blocks as normal iOS and Android apps. You need to combine those building blocks with the help of JavaScript and React.

React Native creates user interfaces using an innovative, advanced, and highly effective approach. When you use React Native, the application logic is written and runs in JavaScript.

At the same time, the user interface of your mobile app is completely native. Popular examples of this approach are Instagram and Skype.

For creating a cross-platform application, you can also use the TypeScript language. When you write React components, Typescript can be useful with its features for fast and easy error detection. In the TypeScript toolbox, generic components come in handy.

They are able to offer an additional level of security when you write components, tighten the feedback loop, and enable you to look for errors quickly.

Xamarin + C#

With Xamarin, you can create cross-platform mobile apps and share the majority (almost 90 percent) of code on different platforms. The main language in Xamarin for cross-platform mobile app development is C#.

It is a statically typed language that offers mature tooling and IDE support. When apps are coded in C#, they are cross-compiled to native Android and iOS binaries.

It also allows developers to use device-specific APIs and functionality from within C# code. Popular apps built with Xamarin are Slack and Pinterest.

Pros & Cons of Cross-Platform Apps

Pros: 

  • Cost Savings
  • Quicker Launch
  • Faster Development
  • Operating System Coverage

Cons:

  • Integration Issues
  • Lack of Flexibility,
  • Confined Tools
  • Performance Delays
  • Restricted Device Support

Popular Cross-Platform Apps

Instagram, Skype, Pinterest, and Slack among others.

Hybrid App Development Technology Stack

The standard web technologies and tools like HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript are required to create hybrid apps. These apps are divided into two parts, native shell, and backend.

They run hassle-free on all the platforms, provide access to API, and acquire a camera and device storage among others.

These apps usually operate like websites, giving the experience of something between an app and a page rendered in a browser.

The three common frameworks used in hybrid app development are Ionic, Sencha Touch 2, and Cordova.

Technology Stack for Hybrid Apps

The following tech stacks are used for hybrid app development:

Hybrid Technology Stack

Cordova/Phonegap

To run HTML/JavaScript-based applications inside a unique native container on a smartphone, Apache Cordova, an open-source framework is used. Through JavaSCript APIs, the device functionality becomes accessible.

Due to this, HTML-based applications can approach device-specific functionality like camera and sensor among others. HTML and CSS are not the only options to create the user interface.

PhoneGap can also be explored for this purpose and it supports many frameworks and libraries like jQuery, AngularJS, and Knockout.js.

Ionic

This is an AngularJS-based framework. It offers many advantages and a helpful community with the famous framework.

It helps in giving hybrid apps a native look, this is an important feature of Ionic. For example, to take care of one of the reasons for poor mobile performance, Ionic reuses DOM elements.

Pros & Cons of Hybrid Apps

Pros:

  • One Solution for Multiple Platforms
  • Economical
  • Easy Development
  • Easy Maintenance

Cons: 

  • Poor UX
  • Lack of Native Features
  • Lack of Scalability
  • Slower Performance
  • Defined Access to the Device Hardware and Os-specific Features
  • High Risk of Code Vulnerabilities

Is Progressive Web Apps (PWA) the Future of Mobile Web?

A progressive web app is a mobile-optimised version of a webpage. You can install it on mobile through a browser. It consists of HTML5 based development which provides the look and feel of a native app.

It runs in a browser but looks like a regular app. Sometimes it is also referred to as an in-browser app.  Some popular examples of progressive web apps are Flipkart, Starbucks, Forbes, and AliExpress among others.

The toolkit of Progressive Web Application: ReactJS, AngularJS, AMP, Lighthouse and lonic 2.

Many companies that do not have the budget for developing a mobile app use this approach.

Some benefits of progressive web apps are:

  • Great user experience and decent performance
  • Easy to maintain
  • Seamlessly responds to all screen sizes
  • Runs on multiple mobile platforms
  • A common code-based development
  • Available offline
  • Connects to the native device or system features
  • Economical app development process

Progressive web apps come with many features but they do have their own limitations which can affect your business and product.

Not all browsers and softwares support them so features like GPS or fingerprint scanners cannot be included.

Questions To Answer Before Picking Technology Stack

Do You Have Developers?

The right implementation of any Technology Stack for Mobile Application depends on the capabilities of the developers you have.

You need to check the technical skills of your current team.

If that does not work out, you might think of hiring developers with an understanding of the required tech stack.

How Much Time Is Required For App Launch?

Always remember the timeline to launch the app. If you have enough time, you can use the tech stack you want and have more time to explore as well.

If time is an issue, you might have to settle with the tech stack that will help you use pre-made features into an app quickly. This might not be what you had in mind but it will help you launch the app on time.

Will Your Mobile App Have Third-Party Integrations?

When the user base of your app increases, it will have data and many important features.

In the future, other apps might want to integrate with your apps, or you might want to integrate data and features of third-party apps.

Check if these integrations will be possible with your tech stack in the beginning or at a later stage.

Open-Source or Commercial?

You should decide if you want to go with an open-source or commercial tech stack.

The advantage of using a commercial tech stack is that you will have great support and you will not be dependent on the community members.

The disadvantage is that your development cost can increase and you might have to face many proprietary restrictions.

The advantage of an open-source tech stack is that the community will keep adding new features to the stack. The proprietary restrictions will be lesser with this option.

Is The Documentation Available?

The documentation is important to understand the tech stack. You should be able to access it comfortably during the programming phase and design phase.

ARE THERE ANY Communities?

In the development phase of your app, the community that is already working with the tech stack you have chosen can play an important role in supporting you.

Depending on the responsiveness of the members, you can increase your knowledge base as well in the development phase.

Are You Making the App for A Single-Platform or Multiple Platform?

Sometimes companies make apps only for a single platform meaning some apps would be present on iOS and not on Android, and vice-versa.

If your target audience is using one platform over another then you can target only that particular platform.

What Will Be The User-Experience Like?

When choosing the Technology Stack for Mobile Application, you need to keep in mind what kind of user-experience you want to create for end users.

In general, iOS users prefer aesthetically appealing, sleek, and smooth app interfaces. Android users are more interested in the information they receive and not the interface they use.

Who Will Support & Maintain The App?

In this case, you need to decide if your permanent in-house team will create and maintain the app. They would be always available in case of any emergency.

Another case could be, you get the app developed by an outsourced team and after the project gets over, they only maintain it, or the app is handed over to your in-house team.

The shortcoming of the second option is, your in-house team might not be comfortable or well-rehearsed with the tech stack used in the app.

How Does Your Tech Stack Communicate With Other Technologies?

Many apps interact with other apps. Even in the absence of a cross-platform app, end-users might look to transfer data from one app into another app or from one device to another device.

You should check if your tech stack is capable of offering compatibility like this.

Read also: Top 13 Artificial Intelligence (AI) Apps For Android

Factors To Consider While Choosing A Technology Stack

Type Of Project

When you choose the tech stack for your mobile app development, the type of project becomes an important factor.

If your objective is to develop an elaborate mobile app, with smooth performance and a custom platform-specific UI implementation, then you should make a native app.

Validation

If you want to see how your product will be received by the end-users, you should validate your product. You can go with a cross-platform approach and engage with your potential users.

For this objective, you can use React Native as it is economical and lets you reuse the code on different platforms. This will mean great platform coverage and quick app delivery.

Time to Market

If your aim is to launch the app quickly, you should be choosing a framework or language that offers many ready-made solutions.

These solutions can be used in common development tasks like social media integrations and authentication.

Long-Term Strategy

The potential of your software to manage its growth and breakouts is its scalability and stability. To keep the users engaged with the app, these are the key factors that can help your product.

When your company grows and the number of users increases, your app should handle this growth without any hassles. It should adapt to the changes and your requirements, this will allow horizontal and vertical scaling.

To keep up the smooth performance, post-release maintenance should be done on a regular basis. This will also help in keeping the users engaged and not drop out.

Promotion

To engage with a large audience quickly, you should focus on marketing and app’s promotion as well.

It would start with picking a technology stack that provides great benefits like aesthetically appealing UI design, faster development, and customised solutions like authentication and social media platforms’ integration.

Goal Of Application

The goal of your app will play an important role in choosing the tech stack.

If you are aiming to create a high latency app and not a low latency app that is quickly responsive, then there will be a great difference in choosing the Best Tech Stack for Mobile App Development.

If your mobile app will rely on heavy load processing, then you will need a powerful tech stack than those that operate using streamlined interactions.

Development Team

Along with the tech stack you choose for your app development, the technical capabilities of your development also account for the ultimate result.

There are many frameworks and languages that yield quite similar results but they have some factors that distinguish them from each other. Your development team’s role will be important here.

If you choose a tech stack your team is already familiar with then you will save time and cost in app development. It will also result in a high-quality product.

Choice Of OS

When you choose one platform where your app will run, iOS, Android, or Web, the choice of technology stack would be different from the stack that has the potential to run on all operating systems.

If you choose between hybrid or cross-platform app development, their toolset will be different from the one used in the development of a native app.

This will define the level of scalability you want in your app to make it portable on different operating systems.

Security

When the app is launched in the market, it can face security-related issues. This can be avoided if you choose a tech stack that has enough documentation and needs you to write less code.

This eliminates the chances of security loopholes. Along with the tech stack, your development team’s expertise will also help in securing the app from hackers.

Compatibility

The tech stack you use for mobile app development should be compatible with the technology you are using. This holds more importance when you bring up a new tech stack after starting the app development process.

Along with verifying the tech stack’s compatibility with the current project, also check if it would be compatible with the tools you are planning to add later.

Features

The features of the app will play a crucial role in the speed of the development process. They will also guide in picking the best tech stack for the problem you face during development.

Discoverability

This is important in app development as your app’s objective is to help the users, who are using the app. So, when you’re choosing Technology Stack For Mobile App, keep this aspect in mind.

Update

Updating apps requires time, efforts, and can incur expenses. It will also increase the tasks for the development team. Hence, always know what all is presently available.

Long-Term Perspective

Plan for the long-term when choosing the technology stack for mobile app development. The options and facilities you get should be beneficial in the long-term.

Deployment

When your app is provided to the end-users, the developers and the business should be aware of the timeline of different processes. They should also understand the complexity or simplicity levels of the processes in the app.

Performance

How your app performs and the kind of user-experience it creates is very important. Your tech stack should enable you to create an app with a smooth and productive performance.

Community Support

Many great brands provide better community support and documentation than other brands. Companies like Microsoft, Adobe, and Google are well-known to offer great community support. They also offer advanced development options.

When a community is responsive and offers straightforward documentation, it helps the developers in understanding the concepts in less time. This gives them more time to understand Technology Stack For Mobile Application.

Conclusion

Picking the right Technology Stack for Mobile Application is an important decision and should be well-researched and thought-of.

Go through all the factors like cost, the time required, technical features of the stack, and technical capabilities of the team before making this decision.

This decision will play a very big role in your mobile app development process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Tech Stack or Technology Stack is a combination of programming languages, tools, and frameworks that developers use for creating either a web or a mobile application.
App Stack or Application Stack is needed in a scenario when you want the software to work for a common goal by integrating all the applications.
Technology Stack and its choice vary from one application to the other. Each application has its own set of requirements and based on that, the best technology stack keeps on changing. So, there can be a fixed solution for this.
The three major technology stack available for mobile applications are Native App Stack, Cross-Platform App Stack & Hybrid App Stack.
There are some criteria for choosing a technology stack for mobile applications. Some of the well-known criteria are listed below: Type Of Project Validation Time To Market Long-Term Strategy Promotion Goal Of Application Development Team Choice Of OS Security
PROJECT TANGO by Google is the latest innovation that you will see in the near future as far as the app development is concerned. The technology focuses on integrating AR into mobile applications for a better experience.
There are some questions that you should ask yourself before picking a technology stack for a mobile application. They are as follows: Do You Have Developers? Time Needed For App Launch? Will Your Mobile App Have 3rd Party Integrations? Is It Open-Source or Commercial/ Is The Documentation Available? Is There A Community? Single-Platform or Multiple Platform?
Harikrishna Kundariya
Harikrishna Kundariya
Harikrishna Kundariya, a marketer, developer, app lover, technology savvy, designer, co-founder, Director of eSparkBiz @Mobile App Development Company where you can Hire Mobile App Developer. His 8+ experience enables him to provide digital solutions to new start-ups based on app development.


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