Demystifying Tech Stacks: Unveiling the Secrets of Technology Stacks

Julian Wallis
14 min read
Tech stacks are the architectural blueprints behind every digital experience, be it a website or a cutting-edge app.

For those who aren’t deeply immersed in the world of technology, the term “technology stack” can be a bit of a head-scratcher. It’s one of those phrases that can leave you pondering, “I’m not entirely sure what this is, but it sounds like a big deal.” Well, you’re on the right track. Tech stacks can indeed appear as a maze of complexity, but they play a pivotal role in the intricate process of software development.

You’ll often hear developers casually throwing around the term “Tech Stack.” They might ask each other, “What’s your stack?” or proudly declare their tech prowess, saying, “I’m a MEAN stack developer” or “My stack comprises Rails and Angular.” But what are they trying to say? In simple terms, a technology stack represents the diverse set of tools and technologies that developers combine together to craft a software masterpiece. Even though software applications come in various scopes and sizes, they all share some fundamental building blocks. Just like every home needs a foundation, every website needs a place to store data, a database, and a way to respond to user requests.

This article will cover all the details you’ll ever need to know about Tech stacks and how to select them the right way for your next software development project.

But, to further comprehend the significance of a tech stack, let’s start by delving into the fundamental objective of building a web application. 

How A Modern Web Application Is Built?

When you embark on the journey of building an application, your primary goal is to ensure that it operates swiftly, delivering an engaging and interactive experience for its end users.

Additionally, the application should seamlessly retrieve and organise information, ensuring easy accessibility and rich features that add value for users. As your application gains popularity, it should scale seamlessly without imposing performance bottlenecks on the entire ecosystem.

To achieve these objectives, it’s imperative to choose the right technologies and infrastructure characterised by cost-effectiveness, user-friendly front and back-end experience, efficient development, and scalability.

What  Is a Tech Stack?

A tech stack, short for technology stack, is an amalgamation of technologies stacked together to construct an application. It is often referred to as a technology infrastructure or solutions stack, playing a pivotal role in crafting web applications that are both easy to manage and scalable.

Think of your tech stack as a jigsaw puzzle, where each piece represents a technology or solution. They are strategically “stacked” together to create a fully functional system. This synergy of technologies is also referred to as a solutions stack by some, and it’s what builds and then keeps software running smoothly.

Tech Stack Vs Web-Tech Stacks

A web tech stack, short for web technology stack, refers to a collection of software and technologies that are used to develop and run web applications. It encompasses everything needed to build, deploy, and maintain a web application. 

A standard tech stack, on the other hand, is a more general term that can refer to the technology stack used for various types of software applications, not just web-based ones. 

How A Typical Web Tech Stack Looks Like

Front-end technologies: These are responsible for the user interface and experience of a web application. Common front-end technologies include HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Frameworks like React, Angular, and Vue.js are also often used to streamline front-end development in more complex applications.

Back-end technologies: The back-end handles the server-side logic and database interactions of a web application. Standard back-end technologies include programming languages like Python, Ruby, PHP, and Java and server frameworks like Node.js, Django, Ruby on Rails, and more.

Database management systems: These are used to store and manage the data of a web application. Some of the most popular and trusted database systems are the likes of MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and Oracle.

Web servers: Web servers are responsible for serving web pages and content to users. Examples of popular web servers would be Apache, Nginx, and Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS).

Hosting and deployment: Tools and services like AWS, Microsoft Azure, Heroku, and others are used to host and deploy web applications, making them accessible on the internet.

Additional tools and libraries: Various libraries, packages, and tools may be used to enhance the functionality and security of web applications, such as security frameworks, content delivery networks (CDNs), and third-party APIs.

Components of a Tech Stack

The components that constitute a modern tech stack are the building blocks of the applications you can create, influencing the level of customisation you can implement and dictating the resources required for development.

Modern tech stacks can contain a myriad of components, primarily due to the increase of devices accessing applications and the substantial volumes of data and events being processed. 

These components can include tools for containerisation, performance monitoring, business intelligence, event processing, data lakes, cloud services, microservices, and analytics. Ultimately, the choice of tech stacks hinges on your project’s unique requirements and other factors, which we will delve into in this article.

Your typical tech stack comprises several key elements:

Frameworks: The Building Blocks

At the core of your tech stack are frameworks, the architectural blueprints of your digital ecosystem. These lay the foundation for your website or application. Choose wisely, for the right framework can determine the scalability, stability, and speed of your platform.

Frameworks provide a structural skeleton for your application and offer common utilities to circumvent the need to construct every piece of logic from scratch. Prominent web frameworks include Express, Spring, Django, Laravel, Rails, and . NET.

Frontend: The User Interface Maestros

The front end is the face of your custom software or application. This is where the magic happens, and your customers interact with your brand online. As with web tech stacks, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, as well as React and Angular, are the common soldiers in the frontend army of most custom applications, ensuring a user-friendly and visually appealing shopping experience. 

Backend: The Invisible Heroes

While the front end captures attention, the back end is the invisible hero that holds everything together. It is a collection of programming languages, frameworks, databases, and servers. The choice of backend tech plays arguably the biggest role in the performance and reliability of your app and also influences your budget resource requirement and allocation for the project.

API Services: The Connective Tissue

API services act as the connective tissue of your tech stack. They enable seamless communication between different components, ensuring data flows smoothly from one part of the system to another. In modern tech stacks, API services have become a must-have as communication between multiple platforms has become mandatory to provide cutting-edge experiences for end users.

A Glimpse into Some Modern Tech Stack Examples

The MERN Tech Stack

The MERN stack is a JavaScript-based powerhouse comprising MongoDB, Express, React, and Node. You can probably tell where each technology fits into this tech stack now, but still, here’s how all of these development tools seamlessly integrate with each other:

  • MongoDB as a NoSQL database.
  • Express, simplifying and organising backend code as the underlying development framework.
  • React, a front-end organising marvel.
  • Node, as the runtime environment executing JavaScript outside the web browser.

This combination creates a smooth development process, making it ideal for web development and website projects in particular.

The MEAN Stack

One of the most renowned tech stack examples is the MEAN stack, which stands for MongoDB, Express, Angular, and Node.js. It’s worth noting that Angular can be substituted with React, as seen in the MERN stack, which is gaining popularity, particularly for single-page web applications.

In this scenario,

  • Node.js serves as the runtime for web applications.
  • Angular or React caters to the user interface.
  • Express is a web framework built on top of Node.js.
  • MongoDB functions as the data platform, capable of transforming data into a more usable format.

The MEAN and MERN stacks are trending choices for web development. Many full-stack developers gravitate towards these stacks due to the pervasive use of JavaScript throughout the stack.

The MEAN stack shares many similarities with MERN but takes one slightly different approach. The key difference is the use of Angular, supported by Google, instead of React.

So, how does MEAN stand apart?

The use of Angular in MEAN is the big differentiator between the two stacks. Angular offers a steeper learning curve but handles abstraction and file management better than most other similar solutions. It’s suited for enterprise-level projects and allows two-way data flow, unlike React’s one-way model.

The LAMP Stack

Another notable tech stack is the LAMP stack, an acronym for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. It offers a robust foundation for web development and is particularly well-suited for various web applications. 

The LAMP stack was a trailblazer in the web development world. Apache and PHP were dominant in previous decades, making LAMP the go-to choice for enterprise-level applications with heavy traffic and data transfer.

However, it’s constrained to Linux-based machines and lacks the agility to support modern web technologies demanding dynamism, responsiveness, cross-platform compatibility, and heightened security.

Serverless Stack: Scaling with Ease

The serverless stack liberates developers from managing servers hosting applications in the cloud. While servers remain, they’re abstracted from daily developer operations. It’s as simple as this – you package your code in containers and deploy it, and the serverless stack takes care of scaling as required.

The serverless stack supports JavaScript, TypeScript, Python, Golang, and C#, making it an attractive option for smaller companies seeking infrastructure simplicity and a pay-as-you-go model where idle functions don’t incur costs.

MEVN Stack: Embracing Vue.js

Much like its MERN and MEAN counterparts, the MEVN stack employs MongoDB, Express, Vue, and Node. The distinction here lies in Vue, a framework for front-end development.

Vue is opinionated and less flexible than React, offering out-of-the-box plugin systems, directives, transitions, and more. It’s user-friendly with two-way data binding, unlike React’s one-way approach. For those new to Vue, the Vue core team provides companion libraries for routing and state management, making it a compelling choice for projects with specific needs.

Flutter for Web: Google’s Versatile UI Tool

Another viable option, especially for app development, is to build a tech stack around Flutter. Originally created for mobile apps, Flutter, Google’s UI library, has expanded to cover desktop and web applications. It allows you to write code in Dart, an object-oriented language tailored for front-end development.

Flutter simplifies cross-platform development with a single codebase for iOS, Android, and web apps. It’s a great choice for building minimum viable products (MVPs) to showcase your application’s potential to investors. However, Flutter has its limitations, including SEO challenges and potential performance and scalability issues.

Core Elements Of A Tech Stack

Let’s explore the core components that constitute a technology stack:

User Interface

Creating the user interface involves employing markup languages such as HTML and CSS stylesheets or utilising frameworks like Bootstrap or Tailwind, depending on the project’s design requirements.

Programming Languages

Programming languages are responsible for implementing the critical business logic of your applications. Notable programming languages include JavaScript, TypeScript, Java, Python, Ruby, Scala, PHP, and C#.

Runtime Environment

The runtime environment is the software environment where an application operates, ensuring cross-platform compatibility. Examples of runtime environments in tech stacks encompass Java Runtime Environment (JRE), Node.js, and Common Language Runtime (CLR).


Web servers are pivotal in handling client requests, passing them to the database for the requested information, and handling the response. Commonly employed web servers include Apache HTTP and Nginx.

A server infrastructure as part of custom tech stacks


Databases constitute a fundamental component of a tech stack, serving as the repository for all your application data. Popular databases include MongoDB and MySQL, with modern data platforms like MongoDB enhancing database functionality with intelligent querying, aggregation, and transformation features, in addition to data storage and retrieval.

In addition to these core components, other elements such as APIs, analytics tools, BI tools, cloud services, and microservices can augment the functionality of an application and are included in many modern tech stacks depending on the size and complexity of the development project.

Summarising Tech Stack Components

Let’s summarise the key components of tech stacks:

  • Frontend UI: JavaScript, HTML, CSS
  • Frontend Frameworks: Vue, React, Angular
  • Frontend Styling: Bootstrap, Tailwind
  • Programming Languages: Node, Java, Python, PHP
  • Web Application Frameworks: Spring, Django
  • Databases: NoSQL (e.g., MongoDB, CouchDB), SQL (e.g., Oracle, MySQL)
  • Event and Messaging: Kafka
  • Infrastructure (Cloud): Azure, AWS, Google Cloud
  • Virtualisation: Kubernetes, Docker
  • Mobile Applications: Android (Java), iOS (Swift)

Benefits of a Well-Chosen Tech Stack

So, now that we’ve uncovered what tech stacks are and what’s included within them, it’s the perfect time to explain why they are so important and the advantages of getting it right. So, why is it essential to select the right tech stack? The advantages are manifold:

Scalability: Opting for frameworks and databases that scale seamlessly can save you from performance bottlenecks as your user base expands. 

Development Speed: A well-suited technology stack expedites the development process, allowing you to hire full-stack developers or specialists in specific technologies. Effective communication among developers is also facilitated.

Resource Planning: By choosing your tech stack in advance, you gain insights into resource requirements, infrastructure, automation, hardware, and other project essentials, leading to cost and time savings.

Efficiency: Knowing your project’s objective and scope empowers you to decide on the stack’s complexity, avoiding unnecessary technologies and unwarranted resource allocation.

Tips For Selecting the Right Tech Stack

Choosing the perfect tech stack for your application can be a daunting task, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Here are some factors to consider:

Purpose of the Application: Define what your web application aims to achieve. The scope of interactions with other systems and the extent of database interactions are key considerations. Tailor your tech stack accordingly.

Design and User Experience: Prioritise a user-friendly interface that aligns with your design team’s expectations. Choose a technology that supports server-side rendering if your website is content-driven.

Time to Production: Opt for technologies that expedite development by providing utilities for common use cases and functionalities. Robust community support can accelerate feature development.

Cost: Cloud technologies integrated into your tech stack can reduce deployment and maintenance costs. Additionally, technologies that are easy to learn and align with your team’s expertise can minimise overall project expenses.

Scalability: Consider database scalability and the design of your framework. Features like NoSQL databases and well-structured frameworks can facilitate scalability.

Security: Prioritise technologies that follow best practices for data security and vulnerability reduction.

Why Selecting The Right Tech Stack Is Crucial For Your Custom Software?

Building your tech stack is akin to constructing the foundation of a building; it significantly shapes what you can achieve, how efficiently you can work, and the kind of talent you’ll attract. This process is fraught with trade-offs – some technologies offer speed but limit customisation, while others cater to specific user segments or prioritise scalability but demand ongoing maintenance. However, the key is to create a tech stack that meets your current needs and adapts as your company evolves.

When assembling your tech stack, aim for tools that can scale with your growth. Backend solutions like AWS offer a dynamic approach by allowing you to add servers as needed, eliminating the need to make upfront capacity estimates. This scalability minimises costs and ensures you’re never caught off guard as your user base expands.

For non-core utilities and business apps, prioritise options with low switching costs or flexible pricing tiers to accommodate future growth. For example, a small eCommerce startup can begin with an affordable Shopify plan. As the company blossoms, upgrading to Shopify Plus or migrating to a custom solution becomes seamless, aligning your tech stack with your company’s trajectory.

Conclusion – Why Tech Stacks Are Important

Tech stacks are not just a technicality; they are the foundation of digital innovation. They are the building blocks that empower developers to create incredible digital experiences. Your choice of a tech stack can significantly impact your project’s performance, scalability, development time, cost, and success. 

When selecting the right tech stack, it’s essential to consider your project’s specific needs and goals. The world of technology is vast, with various tech stacks to explore, each offering unique advantages. 

Make an informed decision and embrace the power of tech stacks to shape your business’s digital future. Ultimately, your choice can make all the difference in levelling up your CX through the digital interface you provide. Ready to explore further? Book a discovery call and let us help you on your journey to a supercharged digital customer experience.

Published On

October 19, 2023