How Mobile App Developers Can Choose The Right Backend Technology

Keshav Jeet

The number of mobile phone users in the world is expected to pass the five billion mark by 2019. In 2016, an estimated 62.9 percent of the population worldwide already owned a mobile phone, according to Statista.

In the last few years, there has been a stupendous boom in the app sector, and even without experts commenting on it, a layman can gauge that this is going to be a continuous one.

The mobile application development market has a gamut of innovative tools and choosing the right one is a crucial task. Choosing the right backend technology is tied up with the business strategy and goals.

Building a backend application relies on the maintainability and scalability aspects of the technology stack that is going to be used.

Aspects of technology stacks

Technology stacks, in very crude terms, can be defined as a set of software that provides the infrastructure for a computer. They differ whether installed in a client or a server.

There are four primary aspects of any technology stack and they provide the scaffolding for the App development.

  1. 1. Front end development has to do with the user interface of the mobile app. This relates to the visual part of the application that users will view and interact with. For a mobile app, the tech stack is simply comprised of an iOS or Android app written in Java or Objective-C/SWIFT.

2. Backend development is concerned with the user experience of the app. The back-end contains the business logic that operates behind the scenes. Users will never directly engross with the back-end bits, they will be concerned with what appears at the front end. The LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) is the most popular back end tech stack. The latest variations of this stack include Ruby or Python as the programming language instead of PHP.

3. Development Platform is a juncture wherein the interfaces and libraries conjunct to provide design and functionality for a mobile application.

4. Miscellaneous requirements can be any other elements which will aid in making the app robust, secure and give a sturdy impetus towards its performance.

Importance of the right stack

If you are an entrepreneur and want to launch a mobile app in the market, it is vital that you understand the importance of getting the right technological stack to start with. There are several factors affecting the choice of the stack.

Every app that has been developed, is slightly different from the other. Aspects like the device on which your app would work, the network condition, OS, target audience, market trends, desired user experience, etc. exercise a lot of impact in selecting the technology stack. You need to remember these while choosing the right stack for your app.

Let’s look at various mobile app development environment to find their relevant technology stack:

Native App Stack

Most of the apps that we use are native apps. They are designed specifically to perform well on a particular mobile operating system.  This is probably the most preferred one by the mobile app development companies because of its consistent high performance and robustness.

The native app development involves both Android and iOS app. Both of these platforms have different capabilities and requirements. Therefore, they have different technology stacks also. There are quite a few advantages of the native app stack-

  • Faster performance
  • Better user experience
  • Highest security
  • Greater responsiveness
  • Device notifications
  • Access to device hardware/software
  • Gesture control
  • Work offline

Stack for Android

For developing a native Android mobile app, you can use Java or Kotlin. Java as a programming language with vast open-source tools and libraries to help developers is quite reputable.

However, Kotlin has become a steadier and an appropriate development option for Android Studio. There are certain restrictions within Java that hinder Android API design. Kotlin is inherently lightweight, clean, and far less wordy. Kotlin was explicitly designed to improve existing Java models by offering solutions to API design shortages.

When it comes to IDE, Android app developers seem to be more inclined towards Eclipse or Android Studio. This Android development stack has helped developers take the total app count to an astronomical amount.

iOS stack

For building an iOS app you can choose either Objective-C or Swift. Objective-C is a superset of the C programming language and provides object-oriented capabilities and a dynamic runtime environment.

However, it is recommended that Swift is better. It’s more functional, provides code that’s less error-prone because of its inline support for manipulating text strings and data, and contains dynamic libraries that are directly uploaded to memory, cutting down on the initial size of the app and ultimately enhancing the app’s performance.

If you choose Swift for your iOS app, then you’ll need Apple Xcode as the toolkit for developing your native app. This all-encompassing development environment lets you create mobile apps along with desktop applications.

The hybrid app technology stack

Hybrid development uses standard web technologies and tools like HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. The shared code is then wrapped in a native container, which can be done by employing various tools and shipped as a regular app.

Such apps function like websites, essentially, somewhere between an app and a page rendered in a browser. Some of the pros of using a hybrid app are:

  • Easy Portability
  • One Code Base Development
  • Multi-platform Compatibility
  • Faster Speed to Market
  • Cost-effective
  • Access to different hardware /software capabilities through plug-ins

The three most commonly used frameworks Cordova, Sencha Touch 2, and Ionic. While AngularJS web application development is used for web apps.

Stack for Cross-Platform Apps

A cross-platform approach allows developers to use a single code base, so mobile apps are developed for different platforms, viz. Android, IOS and even on the web run simultaneously and are adapted to most devices. This enables businesses to cover greater geographical terrain while accessing low development cost and much less time to go to market for the mobile app.

Points to consider while choosing the right stack

As an entrepreneur, you need to consider a whole array of factors other than choosing the right technological stack.

1. App-related considerations

Every app is different and as such the reasons resulting in that could be one of the following:

  • User interaction
  • Operational functionality
  • Visibility in the market
  • Platform used

For an app to be launched, the developer will choose the framework, language, library etc. for the best results.

2. End objective

The factors such as how long the lag is between the stimulus and the response in the app will determine the choice of the technology stack.

3. Developer’s know-how

The developer might be comfortable shuffling between two technology stacks which are similar in nature. It will be a good idea to allow the developer to build something based on his area of expertise and trust his talents.

4. Effective documentation and community support

Relying on an established brand which provides comprehensive documentation and has strong community support is an excellent idea while choosing a stack.

5. Multi-platform operability

It can prove to be a great decision to create an app that can run on multiple platforms instead of a singular one.

6. Security

Cybersecurity is an area of concern for the tech industry. In terms of data caching, mobile apps are also facing vulnerability issues. It is highly recommended that it’s better to invest in a mobile app development technology which is robust in terms of security and the presence of any loopholes is almost none.

7. Third-Party integration check

Third party integration is the most important provision for mobile application development services. Platforms should allow confidential incorporation with third-party tools.

For example, with Android, you can use third-party libraries if you are dealing with image loading and highlight issues. This integration should expand the range of the existing back-end systems and delivery systems.

This way, it allows developers to create apps that support mobile application management. Similarly, for iOS development, there are many libraries available for integration.

In the end

There will be a steady growth when it comes to mobile app development as a lot of companies will rely on mobile technologies. To create a highly functional mobile app, selecting the right app technology is the game changer.

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about the author

Keshav Jeet

Keshav is the most creative and innovative thinker who is never isolated with the bandwidth. He always strives to bring out the potential of technology to deliver a remarkable impact. Started as a programmer he gradually gained expertise in Developing, Designing and Architecting solutions for startups and enterprise. He has varied experience from healthcare, public procurement, ERP and mobility. He helps clients ideate, innovates and uses cutting-edge technologies to solve real-world problems. He brings technological leadership, by evaluating and implementing solutions on next-generation technologies.