What is a technology stack or tech stack?
Think of a tech stack as the foundation for your eCommerce store, website or mobile application. It is what enables you to design, develop and engineer your product using development frameworks, platforms or website builders and various tools (built-in & third-party) stacked one one another and working together seamlessly in order to provide an amazing user experience.
When building your eCommerce store, it's essential to think about which tech stack will work best for your business. There are many options available and they all have their own pros & cons depending on the type of business you're in and the features that they come with, which may not be suitable for all businesses.
Before making any final decisions on which platforms or tools will best suit your needs, take some time to answer these questions: What does my business want its online presence to accomplish? Do I have enough budget available so as not to get too deeply invested into one particular option early on without finding out if other potential solutions could have served my purpose better?
Components of a tech stack
The world of eCommerce has changed drastically over the past decade. With so many options available, it's hard to know where your money should go, especially when there are multiple technologies that carry out functions that are completely or almost the same.
The development process for an eCommerce website is not easy; you need the right combination of technologies in your stack to make it simple and quick. Now, as you know, your technology stack typically comprises of a frontend and a backend.
The frontend or client-side includes all the information such as content and design elements on a webpage or application interface, while the backend or server side includes the server, the architecture and the database for storage, management and delivery of data to the end users.
While the frontend is responsible for performance and a great user experience, the backend focuses on the stability and scalability of the system.
Frontend eCommerce technologies
The frontend of your eCommerce store is the face that shows to customers. It should be stunning and capture their attention from the moment they land on it, through every step in their purchase process. Some of the most advanced technologies used in the design and development of applications and websites can be found on the frontend of a typical tech stack.
The frontend is the key to creating an intuitive and easy-to-use interface for your users. This means that it has a lot of responsibility, including designing websites or web apps, formatting the content in such a way so users can easily navigate through all of its parts with no problems at hand, which will lead them right where you want them.
HTML: HTML is the essential language used to develop websites. It is the building block of any website, without which a web page would not exist.
Hypertext means that text has links in it, which can be clicked on to take users from one point to another within their browser window or outside, if they choose; this action is called "Hyperlinking."
CSS: CSS is the formatting language of HTML pages and is the key to make your website stand out.
It contains all sorts of font styles, sizes as well layout elements like color schemes that will make your webpage different from others.
CSS can make your site look unique by giving it an individualistic layout. It's often used in combination with HTML tags, which are triggered depending on variables like screen size or resolution to maintain the correct appearance of a website no matter what device someone uses when viewing its content.
In addition, using AJAX technology, developers can operate outside these standards allowing them greater control over how the websites will appear at any point during navigation without having to rely solely on default styles provided by browsers themselves.
Using these frontend technologies, you can build an eCommerce website that’s not just performance-oriented with fast loading web pages but responsive at the same time to accommodate into any device that users might access it on. Here’s a comparative analysis of the best frontend frameworks / technologies for enterprise websites.
Backend eCommerce technologies
For users, the backend of app or website development is an area that's not directly involved with what they see and use. This part includes all those invisible technologies, which keep the operations running smoothly behind the scenes so they cannot be seen by users but are crucial to their success nonetheless.
The backend is responsible for creating logic and rules in an application. eCommerce backends are what allow your websites to function properly by validating data input from either frontend or server-side sources, as well handling functions like filtering purchases through this robust foundation that we call “the core” of our web pages.
Backend data comes from three sources –
Application inputs including input forms or login pages
Server responses related specifically to request methods sent by clients (such as GET)
Databases that store information about products sold on eCommerce sites like Amazon.
In order to make websites interactive and responsive, backend web architecture is irreplaceable. The backend of a website is where different code elements interact with each other and the user's input determines what gets displayed on the screen.
The backend of your tech stack comprises of four components. These are:
Web servers: Servers are the backbone of your website. They process information from clients and send it across networks to be interpreted by servers on other machines, all in an attempt to provide users with a smooth browsing experience.
Databases: Databases store information that servers need to provide users with direct links. In the backend architecture for websites, databases include information like numbers and characters, which can be accessed by servers to direct functions on your site (for example: hamburger menu).
Some popular databases include MySQL, MongoDB, DynamoDB (Amazon) and Firebase (Google).
Frameworks: Frameworks are often used as a model to help programmers organize their code and logic, which they are able to write and edit more efficiently thanks to the support. Besides this, frameworks also offer many benefits, including various tools that make it easier to develop apps.
Django, Ruby on Rails and Laravel are the most popular frameworks in current times.
Programming languages: In order to make the most out of your website or app, you need some logic. Logic is what programming languages are used for – they create a structured set of operations that programmers code into backend tasks with specific goals in mind - like making a purchase on an eCommerce store.
Backend web architecture is an essential component of any site's functionality. It allows users to easily find what they're looking for.
It does this through well designed interfaces that require little work on behalf of visitors, making them more likely to come back again in future visits. The more intuitive it is, the faster people will be able to interpret information on a webpage.
Besides the frontend and backend architecture, there are also third-party services that eCommerce website developers will turn to for some extra support to handle some additional requirements. These services can greatly amplify the speed and robustness of the already developed portion with much ease, thanks to their ability to be easily integrated with your website.
Some of these third-party services and tools that are quite popular these days include:
Social networks (TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, etc.)
3PL (third-party logistics)
Top tech stacks to choose from
New web technologies are being developed every day to make eCommerce easier, more efficient and secure for businesses of all sizes across various industries. This constantly evolving scenario poses a challenge for entrepreneurs and marketers who do not have the time to keep up with them.
As such, there are often ready-made technology stacks that are available to help businesses get started quickly without the need to gain technical knowledge or experience in web development from scratch, which could take years of your life away.
In this article, we’ll shed light on some of the popular ready-made tech stacks that we believe are well-equipped with all the essential features that you’d require to build and manage your eCommerce website, irrespective of the size and complexity.
Let’s begin with LAMP, which is short for Linux (OS), Apache (web server), MySQL (relational database management system) and PHP/Perl/Python (programming languages), has come to represent one of the most common software stack models used on websites today, with its components being very much interchangeable, making it highly versatile to accommodate varying business needs.
There are many technical layers that go into creating a database-driven website. This includes free and open source components, each of which represents an essential part of the stack, offering you flexibility when creating your own dynamic websites with ease.
Even though LAMP stack is made up of open-source components, as a unit it possesses the capacity to offer developers the flexibility they need in developing apps and websites, going toe-to-toe with premium paid stacks.
The source code for this open-source application can be found on GitHub, where it's constantly being improved by users around the world through customization or adding new features customized to their needs.
LAMP users have the freedom to interchange its components with another open-source component if required.
It’s great for rapid development projects.
Easy to learn
It supports only Linux operating system.
The LAMP stack is often difficult to scale, and the process of moving your database across servers can be challenging. You'll need help from an expert in order for the migration to not only work but also stay secure.
When you use LAMP stack, there's no control over which libraries are available. You'll have to rely on your hosting provider and their built-in PHP features for this purpose, and they might not be consistent across all servers.
The MEAN stack is lightweight, making it ideal for online retailers who want ease-of-use but still need enterprise level scalability. With this choice you get all your eCommerce store's tools in just one programming language, so development time goes down significantly.
Your online store can grow without having trouble jumping on board with new functionality or changing their codebase again later down the line when you need more power/flexibility than what's offered, by just adding another server instance (or servers).
Single language across the stack architecture, making development efficient and rapid.
MongoDB is cloud-first, allowing continuous integration and continuous deployment directly in the cloud. No wonder, it has been declared 2021 Google Cloud’s Technology Partner of the Year.
Mean stack facilitates universal code (on both client-sire (browser) and server-side (NodeJS).
A thriving MEAN.JS community offering support on Github, news & updates on multiple social networks and educational resources.
Server isolation from business logic can be challenging.
It is not the best for enterprise level applications and websites.
The MERN stack is close to the MEAN stack except for the replacement of the Angular component with React, making it one of the few more variations of MEAN that are available out there. So, the stack now looks like this - MongoDB + Express.js + React + Node.js.
If you're looking for a system that can handle large and complex data sets, then the MERN stack is right up your alley. The beauty of this system is that you can build on top with your favorite programming language, without worrying about how data flows. Plus it's easy to debug because all the code speaks one language.
MERN is a technology that’s been built with the goal of simplifying and accelerating web development. It's perfect for building applications that have a lot of JSON data, like workflow management and news subscriptions. It's also good if your app needs to be cloud-based or on the go.
It is open-source, which allows developers to not only find solutions but also get information on how something works as soon as possible.
The use of a single programming language across the tech stack makes switching between client and server easy and fast.
MongoDB being cloud-first, makes it extremely convenient to store and represent JSON data types in each of the stack’s tiers.
The inclusion of React throws in the advantages of flexibility and performance when you use the MERN stack.
MEAN trounces the MERN stack when it comes to preventing errors courtesy of Angular, which is built in TypeScript and nips the bid early on during the coding stage.
MERN is not the ideal choice for complex projects or enterprise level applications.
As with most libraries, React uses many third-party plugins, which can make your code more difficult to work on. Plus you have the issue of upgrading every time there’s an update from these providers.
Another variation of the MEAN stack is the MEVN stack (MongoDB, Express.js, Vue.js, Node.js), which simply replaces Angular with Vue.js as the frontend framework. The fact that Vue.js has come to be accepted as the best of both Angular and React is the reason that this tech stack has also popped up as a viable option for dynamic application and web development projects.
Since Vue.js is the only change in this stack when compared to MEAN or MERN, let’s just look at the advantages and disadvantages that the addition of this frontend framework.
The use of the model-view-controller architectural pattern on the server-side gives this stack a further advantage by breaking the frontend and backend code into separate components, thus giving the backend the independence to developer quicker and more efficiently.
Vue.js is easier to learn and master.
Being a comparatively newcomer in the framework family, Vue.js is still very much in its nascent stage and hence has few developers compared to Angular and React, which also thins down the population of its community.
There are not enough plugins to support all kinds of development projects using Vue.js.
Microsoft’s .NET platform has been a key player in software development for over 20 years, proving to be a powerful, lightweight layer that can be used to develop apps for all of your digital needs. It includes features like object-oriented programming languages for creating maintainable code as well as tools originally developed by Microsoft.
With the introduction of ASP.NET as an open-source server-side web application framework and successive upgrades, developers and business owners looking at creating dynamic web applications and websites soon turned to it for their projects.
For instance, when ASP.NET Core was released in 2016 as a successor to ASP.NET, its cross-platform and open-source nature pulled in a lot of takers, as developers could now work on Linux, macOS, Windows and Docker for application and web developments.
With so many resources available for developers, it's easy to go native when you want something done quickly. Managed code was once necessary, but now most tasks can be handled through MSDN or StackOverflow without much trouble at all.
ASP.NET sites have a sleek, native-looking design that will look great on any device, including mobile phones, laptops, tablets, desktops or even Smart TVs. The flexible nature of Web API makes it easy to expose your services while keeping them secure through Defense In Depth Protection (DIP).
With the .NET framework running as an open-source tech for a long time time, there’s ample support available on open source communities like Github.
If you're looking to build a scalable system that can store and retrieve large amounts of data, then SQL Server is your best option. With its range for transactions as well as backup/mirroring features, and how seamlessly it integrates with other pieces within Microsoft's stack, it will give anything else on the market serious competition.
May not be that easy to learn or master, especially for developers who are not experienced in object-oriented programming (OOP) principles.
A lot of development is being concentrated around .NET Core, which in itself is still just one part of the Microsoft stack as a whole.
Django is a hugely popular open-source, full-stack web application framework that is written in the Python programming language, which has been touted by the developers as “the web framework for perfectionists with deadlines.”
Python is a versatile coding language that can be used for many things. It is simple yet powerful, which has made it one of the most popular programming languages today.
It can be used for anything from data analysis to developing desktop applications, and it's also an excellent choice if you want your codebase projects done quickly with minimal fuss.
Django is a high-level Python framework that has been designed to make development faster and easier. It has features like data validation, caching and pagination, which are all necessary in reducing the overall process time when building web apps.
Django follows the Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY) principle, by virtue of which it lets developers reduce repetitions of software design patterns and avoiding redundancy, using data normalization instead. It incorporates both traditional web frameworks like Apache on top of more recent entrants such as MySQL or PostgreSQL for optimal performance in your application's needs.
With its ability to build and scale projects quickly, Django has become one of the most popular languages for web development. It eliminates steps that would normally slow down developers by automating simple tasks like compile time management ,which allows them to focus on what really matters.
Django is one of the most well-documented frameworks in Python, with ease-of-use and several built-in tools to get even developers inexperienced with it to get going.
Django is a great choice for those who have scalability as a priority on their list, since it’s robust enough to shoulder anything from tasks like data analysis and machine learning to even developing a CMS or an enterprise-level website.
Ironically, Django being a high-end framework, isn’t the best choice for small projects, since it requires a lot of coding, thereby taking up considerable server processing time and bandwidth.
It can be challenging for developers who follow the Convention over Configuration paradigm, since Django skips the conventions that developers could make use of during development.
The monolithic architecture of Django is a major downside. Programmers must use the framework as-is, which leaves no room for customization or extensions due to its single package nature. This makes development more difficult than it should be because there are so many restrictions on what can actually happen inside your program.
How to choose the best tech stack for your eCommerce store
Choosing the right tech stack for your eCommerce website development project may be bit of a challenge, particularly when there are so many options out there that you wouldn’t know which would serve your needs the best. Even when you line them up with a list of their features, there would be still be that lingering doubt whether you’re making the right choice.
Allow us to make it easy for you to make your choice. Here are some of the criteria that should be your guide to picking the right one for your eCommerce application or website.
This one is for new eCommerce business owners and marketers who are limited in both tech knowledge as well budget. The best way to save time, money and effort is to choose a platform that will be compatible with your existing tools and technologies.
2. Project analysis
Give your project a long, hard look, including analyzing the size, nature, future adjustments, etc. to match these factors with the technology that is best equipped to fulfil them, even in the long run.
One of the most important factors that will help you choose better, how much and how fats you expect your eCommerce business to scale will tell you which stack you should go for. If you are sure your store will scale rapidly, go for a stack like LAMP or Python-Django to handle the changes.
4. Time to market
If you’re in a bit of a hurry to launch your store, it would be best to choose one that supports rapid development, even though you should be aware of the pitfalls that may come with it. For businesses that just want to test the water with an MVP, LAMP and Python-Django are good options, while those with larger plans that rest on quality and efficiency, the .NET stack is an ideal choice.
This is where many impulsive entrepreneurs get it wrong, when they don’t consider the possible additional expenses, such as hardware maintenance expenses, that might come up in the future when they choose a particular stack. Always go for one that leaves you with some more cash in your budget after you’ve purchase it.
Whatever you choose, definitely choose one that has sufficient repository of documentation and community support for you to keep going without getting stuck halfway through the development process.
Make sure that the tech stack you choose has enough developers in the market that are experienced in it, without burning a hole in your pocket.
Hire the right help
Consider the factors that go into building a modern eCommerce technology stack. You can have your pick from many solutions on SaaS platforms to create highly functional and scalable systems, but you may need an expert for some tasks like managing these services or integrating them with existing infrastructure elements (such as payment gateways).
Remember, it’s always best to hire the experts when you’re not sure what you’re doing or getting into. It may cost you a little, but it’ll be nothing compared to what you’ll pile up when you get stuck with a messed up project that’ll make you lose not just precious time but additional expenses as well (to fix your rookie mistakes).
We have a team of highly skilled and professional app and web developers that can take your business idea and transform it into intuitive solutions to make instant impressions on your target audience. Write to our developers at 0707 Agency to be consulted and supported by app & website development experts who will stand by you like an extension of your own team.