Selecting a technology stack is an essential part of the software architectural decisions made at the earliest planning stages. This decision is crucial, and we must ensure to make the right choice. Whatever we decide will determine the project's success or failure.
But how do organizations make the right choice of stacks? What factors do they consider?
We've heard of many combinations of technologies, such as the MERN Stack, LAMP Stack, ASP.NET Stack, MEAN Stack, MEVN Stack, and so on. The list goes on and on.
Wait, those are just for web development. We haven't mentioned how DevOps, Cloud engineers, or Cloud architects decide on the right on-premise or cloud provider for the system.
There's also the world of mobile applications, desktop applications, IoT, and embedded systems.
How do they all choose?
When software development is involved, there are always multiple options to choose from. This decision is usually in the hands of the software architect and engineers.
One factor that could easily come to mind is "trend" or "popularity". People tend to follow trends a lot. This StackOverflow's 2023 survey shows that 40.58% of the developers chose React as their favorite framework, 17.46% chose Angular, and 16.38% chose Vue.js. Is this information enough to say that the next software team will choose React over Angular or Vue? No, not really. We've seen great companies using Angular and Vue.js as well.
The question still lingers. And my answer is that it all depends. Everything depends. Stakeholders, the software architect, engineers, or anyone in a position to choose the technology stacks for a project need to consider some important factors and provide answers to specific questions.
Defining the Platform - Who is the target audience? How will they use your software, when, and where?
Define project size, complexity, and functionality - Remember there's no one-size-fits-all solution to all problems; there's always a trade-off. If your project is small, you may not need to spend too much time deliberating on the technology stack. This isn't the same with a complex project. Different components of your system may require features that are best implemented in different stacks. It's okay to combine multiple stacks, build each component with the right stack, and define how each piece communicates with each other.
Scalability - Many see this as a non-functional requirement, but I prefer to call it one of the architectural characteristics of a system. You need to consider how your software system will handle loads and how easy it is to scale the system with your choice of technology stack.
Performance - This is yet another architectural characteristic that you need to consider when choosing your technology stacks. You need to consider the performance of the stack and how well you can optimize the solution to enhance the overall user experience.
Cost - Considering your budget, you may also need to think about the cost of running the software. Some tech stacks are less expensive than their counterparts, yet they can produce similar results.
Data security - You need to ask yourself how much your software should prioritize data security. Take for instance, a team building software to handle financial transactions. You need to ensure the high-level security of your data.
Development team's knowledge and skills - This is also important and is often the basis for some teams' decisions. Stakeholders in charge of choosing the technology stacks for a project need to consider the expertise of their team members, unless the team is willing to train its members on the new stack.
The technology stacks for your project should not be determined by emotions. You need to choose the right tools for it to be successful.