How to Build a Tech Stack for Various Startup Sectors
Shannon Flynn

When putting together a tech stack for a new project, you have a massive range of options to choose from. Because your tech stack will encompass all the tools you use for a given web or mobile app, you must select the right items for a given project. Early decisions about your tech stack can influence just about every aspect of project development — from how long it will take to develop to scalability in the future.

Below, we'll discuss how to build a tech stack when developing apps for specific industries or verticals. We'll also cover some best practices that any startup can take advantage of.

Web Development and Design

When developing a new web app, many developers choose one of the popular, tried-and-true stacks out there. For example, there's MEAN, a tech stack made up of MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS and Node.js. This is an extremely popular stack used in developing dynamic websites and web apps. All the components are open source, meaning you'll also have access to a robust developer community that can offer support.

You won't have to pay for this tech, which wouldn't be true if you went with non-open source tools. Also, because each of the frameworks in the stack use the same language, Javascript, you can manage a project that uses MEAN with just one team of developers.

Sharing Economy Apps

If you have an idea for a sharing economy app, familiarizing yourself with the most popular stacks for mobile development is a good place to start.

As with any fast-growing industry, building a minimum viable product (MVP) fast will be key. You'll also want to consider scalability, however. If your platform takes off, you'll need to rapidly adjust to handle a growing userbase that will quickly expand beyond what your MVP can manage.

Adopting tech that enables your business to scale is always important, but it's especially vital for startups working in your particular niche.

Following the lead of an established company by looking through their tech stack on a service like StackShare may also be effective. For example, Uber uses a combination of Java, React, Node.js, Nginx, MongoDB, Backbone.js and Python. Emulating the company's approach may help you develop an effective app.

E-commerce and Online Retail

While many retailers prefer to use pre-existing e-commerce solutions, some still opt to build their online storefronts from scratch.

Because this industry is quick-moving, cutting down on time to market is essential. You want your minimum viable platform as soon as possible — and the tech you choose can get you there. For example, Ruby on Rails is a popular application framework that's often used by web app devs who want to get a functional MVP online quickly. The goal is to provide value for their target audience swiftly, without sacrificing performance or security.

There are some drawbacks to Ruby — you may run into challenges with scalability — but it's one of the best options if you're trying to cut down development time.

General Best Practices for Tech Stacks

Some practices will work well, no matter what niche your startup is in.

For instance, many teams will start building a tech stack by figuring out how they want the front end of the product to look, working backward to determine which back-end tools will be necessary to support the desired functionality. This approach is almost always effective at breaking down the tech your project will need.

In general, if you don't consider scalability early on, you run the risk of needing to add additional tools or technology to support the continued growth of your app. Often, this can be a bit of an undertaking and may make maintaining the app more difficult. At the same time, an overly ambitious tech stack, created with plans for massive userbase growth in mind, may go to waste if an app never finds its audience.

All teams, regardless of the industry they're in, should be aware of the most common tech stacks — like LAMP or MEAN and its variants. Often, familiarity with standard stacks can help the streamline the stack building process.

Tips for Building an Effective Tech Stack

Selecting the technology your team will use is one of the most important steps for any project. With the right tech stack, you can ensure quick development times and future scalability.