How to Choose Mobile App Technology Stack (Comprehensive Guide)

How to Choose Mobile App Technology Stack (Comprehensive Guide)

By Avinash Sharma
June 4, 2018 5 min read
Last update on: September 17, 2019

If you are even a month old in the world of mobile application development, the probability of you have not heard of the concept of Technology Stack is very minimal. 

No matter what mobile app development process you are planning to follow, it would never turn fruitful until you get together a set of robust technology stack. Technology Stack is what decides the future of a software product. 

Well, we will get to the exact definition of tech stack in a while. For now, here’s the snippet – The present and future of your mobile app depends on nothing but your mobile app technology stack

Defining the technology stack at an early stage help entrepreneurs achieve their ultimate business objectives much more easily. 

[Extra: Find out the Tech Stack of Famous Mobile Apps like Instagram and Fitbit]

In this article, we will be looking into the concept of technology stack for mobile application in more detail, while throwing the light on the importance of knowing the technology stack that your mobile app would be based on. We will also talk about the tech stacks that power the apps on the basis of their type. 

But first things first. 

Let us quickly refresh our understanding of mobile app technology stack.  

What is a Mobile Development Technology Stack?

The complete technology stack for mobile application development can be divided into four areas. And these are also the areas that also constitute the anatomy of an application. 

Here are the four components which together make one Technology Stack –

Frontend Development – The interface on which users interact with the mobile app

Backend Development – The part which takes the user input, processes it, and convert it into an output

Development Platform – The place where interfaces and libraries come into the picture to design and develop the mobile application. 

Additional – The technology elements that affect app performance, security, and robustness. 

Now that you know what mobile app technology stack stands for, let us now look into the reasons why it is important for businesses to sit with their partnered mobile app development company and look at the technology stack that would be put into their mobile apps. 

Why is it Important to Find the Best Tech Stack for Mobile App?

There are a number of elements that are dependent on the selection of the right mobile app tech stack. The probability of whether your app is robust or will it be able to scale to different operating system versions, relies heavily on the technology combination that you choose for its development. 

Any wrong or hasty, uncalculated decision with respect to the selection of nothing but the best technology stack for mobile application, will affect its current performance and future growth prospects negatively. 

While these are the issues attached at a much deeper level, which you would face only when you are deep inside the mobile app development process, there are a number of first level issues attached with the wrong choice of the mobile app technology stack as well. 

[Extra: Talking of Cost, Know how much does it cost to develop a mobile app]

Since you now know what tech stack is and why it is important to know the technology stack, let us come to the section where we look into the technology stack that powers the development of powerful, scalable, and innovative mobile and web apps that comes out of the factories of any skilled app design company and their development domain. 

Native App Technology Stack

Native apps are known for their robustness and performance. The quality standards that a business usually looks to achieve in their mobile journey are the ones that their investment in Native App Development perfectly solves. 

Native Apps allow businesses to integrate the device’s in-built functionalities in their mobile app, without calling for an external third party API. 

Now, when we talk about Native app, we usually talk in the context of Android and iOS App development. The two platforms come with different capabilities, which call for different technology stacks as well. 

Let us look at the most commonly used mobile app technology stack that goes in the iOS app development and Android app development. 

Android Tech Stack

Android Techstack

Programming Languages: Kotlin and Java

Although Kotlin is the official programming language for Android app development, Java language is still used to a great extent by the Android app developers. The popularity that Java sees makes it one of the best technology stack for mobile app development.

However, Kotlin is also not lying too behind in the popularity race. With time, Kotlin has become a lot more stable option for the developers to workaround in the Android studio. The fact that the language is clean, lightweight, and much less verbose is making it a solution to all the Java problems. 

Toolkit: Android Developer Tools & Android Studio

Android Studio gives developers the feasibility of editing code, debugging, flexible build system, performance tooling, and an instant deploy system. 

The platform enables you to focus entirely on building high quality and unique apps. 

With help of the Android Developer Tools, you will be able to gain complete support for the whole Android app development process. Along with that, it allows developers to use multiple on-device debugging tools, emulators, graphical UI builder, and a completely scriptable test automation support. 

Android SDK

In order to write programs with the latest features, the developers are made to download and then install each version SDK for a specific phone.

Using this Android tech stack, developers have been able to increase the app count to over millions and have made the Android app development industry the one that businesses opt for when they are looking to reach the masses. 

iOS Tech Stack

ios techstack

Programming Languages: Swift and Objective-C

The most preferred languages that find themselves being a part of the iOS mobile app development technologies are Swift and Objective-C. 

Objective-C being the superset of C language provides a dynamic runtime environment and object-oriented capabilities. 

But we recommend Swift over Objective-C, simply because the language is a lot more functional and offers codes which are a lot less error-prone. It also consists of dynamic libraries which are uploaded directly to memory, cutting down the initial app size and increasing its performance. 

Toolkit: Xcode and IntelliJ AppCode

Toolkits are the full feature environment that allows one to create both mobile and desktop apps. The ones that are most commonly used by the iPad and iPhone app developers are IntelliJ AppCode and Apple Xcode. 

iOS SDK

The iOS SDK consists of an API which acts as the link between platforms that they run on and the software application. The iPhone SDK offers tools used for Apple’s touchscreen interface and for the proprietary iOS operating system. 

At the back of this technology stack, Apple app development industry has been able to brand itself as the market that businesses head out to generate revenues on their mobile apps. 

While this was for Native apps, there is one app type which calls for a different set of mobile development stack altogether. The apps we are talking about here are Hybrid Apps. 

Although they are not used to a great extent anymore, there are still a small class of entrepreneurs who select them at the back of their low cost and time to market advantage. 

Hybrid App Technology  Stack

hybrid techstack

Hybrid apps are usually developed with the help of the standard web techniques like CSS, HTML5, and JavaScript. They usually consist of two sections – Backend and Native shell. These apps can run on all platforms and tend to provide access to API and acquire device storage and a camera etc. 

The three frameworks that are most commonly used for the development of Hybrid apps include – Cordova, Sencha Touch 2, and Ionic.

Now that we have talked about both Native Apps and Hybrid Apps, it is time to move our focus on the Tech Stack for Cross-Platform App Development 

Cross-Platform App Tech Stack

crossplatform techstack

Cross-platform app development means using the same code to develop apps that would then run on multiple platforms – Android, iOS, and Web.

Businesses usually go with the cross-platform app development because of the simple fact that they are able to operate around a greater demographics. All the while taking advantage of the low development cost and faster go to market time. 

The cross-platform application technology stack is usually made up of these major technologies’ combinations –

A. React Native & TypeScript or JavaScript

React Native is a JavaScript framework that is used for writing mobile apps which work like native apps. When you use React Native, the application logic gets written and runs on JavaScript or TypeScript. 

B. Xamarin & C#

Xamarin allows development engineers to share 90% of codes across a series of major platforms. The tool uses C# as the main language.

Now that we have looked into the tech stack that powers the development of a variety of app types, ranging from Native apps to Cross Platforms and Hybrid Apps, it is time to look into something that matters to a mobile app development company more than knowing the tech stack: Knowing How to Choose the Best Technology Stack for Mobile Application. 

How to Select the Best Tech Stack for Mobile App?

factors influencing the choice techstack

The ideal mobile application development technology stack that can power your product for success is an outcome of careful consideration and analysis of a number of factors. Here are the factors that tend to influence the mobile app technology stack choice for the development of a mobile app –

1. App Considerations

There are a number of factors that vary from one app to another –

  • The device on which the app would function
  • The network condition it would run in
  • The user experience you are aiming to achieve
  • The estimated go to market time
  • The platform it would run, amongst others. 

All these app elements clubbed together help decide the set of framework, library, languages, and the software that would be combined to develop the mobile

2. The Goal of Mobile App

The choice of tech stack for mobile application development also depends heavily on the goal that your mobile app is going to achieve.  

There would be a stark difference in the mobile app technology stack choice when you are looking to develop a high latency app vs a quick response, low latency mobile app. 

A mobile app that is dependent on heavy load processing call for a much robust tech stack than the ones that operate around streamlined interactions.

3. Development Team Skill-Set

There are a number of languages and framework that tend to give the same result but have some differentiating factors that separate one from the other. Now, when you are to decide between two similar-ish tech stack, the ideal thing to do is to rely on the developer’s skill-set. 

If you introduce a tech stack that your team is not acquainted with, it will increase not just the development effort and time but also the cost of mobile app development. While on the other hand, introducing a mobile app technology stack that your team is comfortable with, will help expedite the process while saving the quality. 

4. Technology’s Parent Company

The parent company of the technology stack that you are going with also makes a lot of difference in the choice. 

There are some brands that offer a lot better documentation and community support than the others. Like, Google, Microsoft, and Adobe are known to offer a lot better community support and advanced development options than Facebook with React Native. 

5. The Choice to Operate on Multiple Platforms

The technology stack of an app that runs on one platform would be a lot different than of the one that runs on all – Android, iOS, and Web. 

The level of scalability that you will have to introduce in your mobile app to make it portable on other platforms, e.g. in case of Hybrid App or Cross-Platform App Development, would call for a different toolset than one that would go into the development of a Native app.

6. Security Level of the Tech Stack

Every mobile app development technology comes prepared to combat the security-related vulnerabilities that an app can come across after it is launched it is market. The problem comes when you choose a technology stack which is not sufficiently documented or which requires writing long line of codes.  

And then there comes the element of developers’ skills. No matter what technology stack you are including in your mobile app, hackers will find their way in, if the app is not developed in a secure manner. So along with the tech stack, your app developers team need to be skilled as well. 

7. Compatibility with the Existing Technologies

Going with a mobile app tech stack that is in line with the technology that you are using in the project is very important. Especially if you are introducing a new tech stack after the mobile app development process has started. 

Apart from checking the compatibility of the tech stack with the current project, you should also check how compatible would the tech stack be with the tools that you might be planning to add in the app at a later stage.  

With this, you now know everything about technology stack that you need to get started with your first mobile app development project. Now no matter which technology you end up using, make sure that they work well with your present app structure and prepares your mobile app to be innovative and scalable. 

FAQs About Mobile App Technology Stack

What is meant by technology stack?

Technology stack is the collection of tools, languages, frameworks, and APIs, etc that come together to develop an entire software. 

What is app stack used for?

Mobile app technology stack is responsible for the success of the entire design, development, and maintenance process. A wrong decision on this front can lead to your app’s demise in the market much before its natural survival timeline.

What technology is used to develop mobile apps?

The technologies used to develop an efficient mobile app are mainly divided into three subsets which are – Backend, Frontend, Development, and Additional.

What is the best platform for mobile app development?

There can not be one answer to this question. The choice of the best platform depends on a number of different factors like the support of tech stack, design capabilities’ software, users’ demographics, etc. 

How to Choose the Best Technology Stack for Mobile App?

There are multiple factors that you will have to consider to establish which mobile app tech stack will best suit your need. 

  • App Considerations
  • The goal of the mobile app
  • Skill-set of the team
  • Security considerations
  • Compatibility on multiple devices. 
Avinash Sharma
Avinash Sharma
Solution Architect
In search for strategic sessions?
Let us understand your business thoroughly and help you
strategies your digital product.

Recent Articles: