One of the difficult part during building applications is selecting the technology in which the application should be developed. Should your application be PHP or Ruby? What database should be implemented? How is the application being deployed? Once questions like this surface for answer, next comes the part of selecting the application stack. Open source has evolved so much we now have freedom of selecting from more than dozen of stacks and frameworks for application, the downside being we have more than what we can hold. While some are streamlined for specific type of applications, most of them are general and would suit wide scope. If you are stuck up of choosing stack for your next application or want to know how you can pick the best one, this post is for you.
Experience by Examples
Examples always help us to experience better. Implementing something that is already working is better than experimenting with something new (unless you have some unique thing). Choosing the stack based on previous experience is guarantee way of picking the right one. Most famous stacks are being used by many online to build similar application, so picking one of those would be the best option for your application.
Question the unknown
As the scope of the application progress, the following are some of the common questions that spun up while selecting for the stack.
- Is the stack open source?
- How popular is the stack?
- How is the community support?
- Will it be able to implement the functionality of the application?
- How complex is the stack?
- How robust is the stack?
- What are the features?
- Will it support rapid development or only traditional way?
- Will it scale along with my application?
- How modular is my stack?
Lot more questions come during the design phase, which must be answered before moving forward.
Getting the answers right
We have the following tools/techniques which help get the right answers and decide the perfect stack
Stackshare is a popular service that helps developer select the stack and also share them to the community. Popular applications stack and products are listed with option to search through them. Developers also vote on each stack/service based on lot of factors listed above. Each stack has scores which help decide your next dream stack and finally comparison of similar stacks are given in easy to navigate UI.
When you need to find out what other application are using or find out what stack your competitor used to build the app, look no further than Buildwith. This unique service tell you what is being used for the application URL you provide. Details such as hosting, DNS etc. is also shown as bonus. Take a definite look at it before you decide.
Need to find out how many similar applications or sites are out there? This service would let you do that. It indexes websites and categorise them so that you can find out other similar sites. Use this to figure out how many similar site exist and you can then find what technology they use by above method.
Alternative to shows a wide list of alternate sites/services that you search for with details about each of them like License type, reviews and rating by community users. A good place to look for when you need to pick one out of lot. It also has various categories like Software, web , etc to narrow down your search.
Following the Trend
The latest trend can be seen with statistics of the most popular languages by github, stackoverflow, sourceforge and other popular code channels and forums. This can be used in selecting the stack, more the popular meaning more the community support and many similar applications are being built.
I hope the above helps clear your way in finding the best stack for your application. What will be your next application stack? Comment below..
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