When you are planning a software product for your startup or organization, there are many important decisions you need to make. You need to consider features the end users are most interested in, your budget, the platforms you want the product to be available, and so on. It is also essential to consider the technology your team will use to build and run the products. So, what is a software stack?
A software stack is a collection of independent components encompassing a software product’s building and running. This comprises everything from your OS and web servers to programming frameworks and APIs. A software stack architecture consists of three main layers: the presentation, logic, and data.
When you want to choose a software stack, because it is new doesn’t always mean it is better. So, when selecting a software stack, things like your vertical scalability, development team skill, and so on are what you should consider.
Continue reading to learn more about software stacks in this guide.
- What Is Software Stack, and Why Do You Need One?
- How To Choose a Software Stack
What Is Software Stack, and Why Do You Need One?
A software stack is sometimes also referred to as a technology stack or development stack. It is a set of tools, frameworks, and technologies used to build and run a software product. As its name suggests, each piece of technology is stacked together and works in unison to create a whole product.
A software stack can be built from scratch or put together heuristically after several trials and errors. Popular examples of software stacks include LAMP — which is built on Linux, MySQL, Apache, PHP, or Python—and MEAN —which is built on MongoDB, Node.js, Angular.js, and Express.js.
Many sources claim that one stack is superior to another. In truth, with a talented development team and good architecture, you can build most if not all standard web applications on any software stack.
If you don’t have a software stack yet, here are five reasons you need one.
Reason #1: Increases Productivity
One of the reasons to get a software stack is that it lets you create and deploy applications more easily. This increased efficiency saves you time and money, so your team can focus on what matters most and be more competitive.
Reason #2: Improves Analytics and Forecasting
In every business, the ability to analyze and forecast data makes a lot of difference in how profitable the business will be. Properly implemented software stacks improve how the business collects and analyzes data for the best results.
Reason #3: Greater Flexibility and Scalability
A software stack is ideal when you build a couple of applications you will deploy to millions of users. Because every component of a software stack is designed to work together, you have the flexibility to stretch it and scale it to meet your needs.
Reason #4: Reduces Cost
As a startup or organization, you must pay yearly for several license renewals your business uses. The cost can run significantly high when your business grows and tends to use several applications. But when you switch to a software stack, it is more cost-effective. Rather than paying multiple licenses, you can run them all in one, saving you a substantial amount.
Reason #5: Support, Maintenance, and Reliability
Another of the biggest reasons to have a software stack is the reliability, maintenance, and support you get from it. When choosing a software stack, you may need to contact support for one thing. Maintaining it is easy, and you know you can trust it to deliver.
While a software stack is crucial to your product planning process and discovery, don’t fall into the paradigm of searching for the perfect stack before you begin your project.
How To Choose a Software Stack
Another thing about software stacks we will discuss is how to choose one. As we said earlier, the need to select a software stack cannot be overemphasized enough. The bottom line when choosing a stack is thinking ahead.
Below we elaborate on the steps to take when you want to select a software stack.
Step #1: Outline Your MVP
You first want to ask yourself what your minimum viable product (MVP) is. Your MVP is the core deliverables you require to deploy your website. So, identifying your MVP is an excellent place to get started, whatever the parameters you may have set for your web application.
Step #2: Consider Your Scalability Requirements
Scalability is an essential feature to consider when you see your application or site growing; ensuring you have a good software stack means a solid foundation. If growth is in your future, it makes sense to pick a software stack that can accommodate much growth without collapsing.
Step #3: Determine Your Development Team Strength
The strength and weaknesses of your development team also play a vital role in the type of software stack you can use. Considering your team’s strength when choosing a software stack is an automatic time-saver. If your team has been working with PHP for a while, then a PHP-based software stack like LAMP is an excellent variant to start.
Step #4: Choose a Platform Best for Your Project
There is no one best platform; it all depends on your project and which one is ideal for it. Whether you want to deploy your project on the Node.js, NET platform, or the Java platform, each has its strengths and weaknesses. Hence, whatever platform you want to deploy your project will influence which software stack you can use on it conveniently.
Step #5: Define the Importance of Speed to Your Project
Step #6: Have a Budget
Finally, have a budget you want to spend on a software stack. How much you should spend is quite an open-end question and hard to predict. But at the end of the day, how much you spend is mainly determined by your project type.
You may prefer one stack over another for several reasons, but your main focus should always be on what works best on your project. You may choose a software stack based on if you need vertical scalability, especially when looking ahead at the future of your application or site, the skill of your developing team, and so on.
When you want to choose a software stack, it helps to go with one that is well-supported by a development community. You should also ensure your development team is proficient in the software stack you decide to use. Overall, always choose what works best for you.