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Innowise is an international full-cycle software development company founded in 2007. We are a team of 1600+ IT professionals developing software for other professionals worldwide.
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Innowise is an international full-cycle software development company founded in 2007. We are a team of 1400+ IT professionals developing software for other professionals worldwide.

Choosing the right tech stack for mobile app development

The most important factor determining the success of software development is the technology stack you choose. It doesn’t matter what development process you choose, it won’t succeed unless it explores all the current innovations in software engineering.  People who work in business usually understand the business side of their digital projects, but lack the expertise and skills to translate them into actual products. Their biggest challenge for them is choosing the right programming language, development tools, and frameworks. With the right technology stack, you can not only future-proof your mobile app but also make it easier to maintain, more compatible, and secure for future growth. Many companies turn to professional mobile software development vendors to achieve these objectives because they have a thorough understanding of design, development, deployment, and support for mobile applications. The technology stack impacts many aspects of your product development, such as quality, scalability, level of security, project timeframe and budget, etc. If you pick the wrong mobile app technology, it can set you back months, whereas a well-chosen stack of technologies can help you gain a competitive advantage and grow your business. Let’s start with an overview of the tech stack and the latest mobile app development technologies.

Why a technology stack is important?

When it comes to mobile development, things do not always go as planned. According to the Gartner report, only 00.01% of mobile apps gained commercial success in 2018, so just one out of 10 000 projects turns out to be rewarding. Moreover, 45% of projects face budget overruns and 56% does meet the expectation of stakeholders in terms of value. In addition, 60% of apps launched on Google Play show an 80% downloads decline right after the first week. Such poor figures are clearly a cause for concern, as well as a message that mobile development should be considered thoroughly to avoid failure. Undoubtedly, not only statistics but common sense proves that apps with tech stack issues are doomed to fail. Thus, thinking about a properly chosen technology stack for mobile app development in advance gives project teams some crucial benefits. By doing so, developer companies can predict in advance the performance of a particular application, its scalability, and its costs. Moreover, by picking the best programming languages for app development, teams have an opportunity to predict maintenance and support costs. Picking the right technology stack for mobile development allows teams to:
  • improve the basic performance of the product;
  • increase the speed of development;
  • fix bugs or performance issues easier;
  • maintain codebases more effectively.
Choosing the wrong tech stack may lead to some significant issues, bottlenecks, and even increased costs of development. The drawbacks of getting wrong with the right techs are the following:
  • Teams will have to spend more time finding a new stack and adapting it to the app.
  • The wrong tech stack may become unsustainable.
  • Choosing the wrong tech stack may lead to significant growth in maintenance costs.
tech stack for mobile app development

Components of a technology stack

Whatever type of mobile app is planned to be created two main components should be employed. Every app has the client side and the back-end. The first is also known as the front-end and represents everything that users will see on their screens or interact with. 

The back-end is the brain of a mobile app. The back-end handles data processing, storage, security, and many other things. The back-end is a part of the app that you don’t see because it runs on the server, but it allows your mobile app to function.

How to choose your mobile app technology stack

While choosing the right technology stack for mobile app development can be challenging, there are a few criteria that help make the process easier and faster:

  • Putting together app requirements. There are no two similar applications. Each one has its own set of features. This is done to determine what programming language or framework will help build both the front-end and back-end components of the application.
  • Understanding the goals of the app. When picking the right stack of programming languages for app development, teams should consider the purpose of the future solution. Sometimes it is better to choose a robust stack of technologies to allow the application to deal with heavy loads.
  • Thinking about platforms. Nowadays you will see mobile apps that work on Android or iOS separately. However, there are also so-called “Cross Platform Solutions” that can be launched on different platforms. Teams should consider which platform they are building the application for before choosing a tech stack.
  • Considering security matters. Security is important as even a minor data leakage may lead to unpredictable consequences. By choosing the right technology stack, you can make your future application more protected from threats.

Native app development stack

This refers to building an application for separate platforms like Android (Java, Kotlin) and iOS (Swift, Objective-C) that can access different smartphone features (camera, address book, NFC module). While the whole process of creating digital solutions looks similar at a first glance, you will use a different set of tools to build the final product. 

Native Android/iOS technology works directly with frameworks from Google and Apple, which gives the following advantages:

  • High performance due to the usage of native APIs to create UI.
  • New features can be added easily.
  • The process of writing custom views and animations is easy.
  • UI/UX design can be created in Material Design and Cupertino Design for Android and iOS.
  • Easy access to device API (storage, location, camera).

Reusable and shared platform stack

Cross-platform mobile development is a technology solution that allows developers to allocate common and reused blocks for multiple platforms (Android / iOS / Web / Desktop) and implement them once in the Kotlin language. In this case, both native and cross-platform technologies can be used to implement the UI.:

  • Support the sharing of networking, data storage, internal tools (analytics, logging, etc.), computation, state management, as well as screen controller code between platforms.
  • Shared code will be written by Kotlin.
  • UI elements will be written natively by Android SDK and iOS SDK.
  • The UI is drawn using native API, so performance is very high.
  • New functionality from OS is not dependent on framework updates.
  • It is easy to create custom views or animations.
  • Material Design can be used for Android UI / UX elements.
  • Cupertino Design can be used for iOS UI / UX elements.
  • It is easy to work with device APIs (camera, location, storage).
  • The codebase differs between Android and iOS.
  • The codebase differs between Android / iOS and the web.
  • A custom design system will require separate Android and iOS versions.

Cross-platform stack

The cross-platform approach allows one code base to be used across various mobile operating systems. Ionic/Cordova/Capacitor are the main components of a cross-platform technology stack. However, it is sometimes necessary to write code separately for Android and iOS due to differences in UI and implementation. Here are some important things that you need to consider before building a cross-platform app:

  • Both web and mobile use the same codebase.
  • Web developers can write mobile code using frameworks.
  • Performance issues because it is generating hooks between JS and native API.
  • There may be bugs associated with working with device APIs (camera, storage, location, etc.) because they are developed by third parties.
  • As native plugins are written by JS developers, they will be slower.
  • A framework’s limitations can make it difficult or time-consuming to create custom views or animations.
  • Different application flows and features on the web and mobile will lead to separate codes and break the concept of cross-platform development.
  • To get new OS functionality, you need to wait for framework updates.
  • Framework limitations may prevent the addition of new features. 
tech stack for app development

Hybrid stack

Xamarin and React Native are frameworks that allow building mobile applications for Android and iOS with a single code base, based on wrappers over native widgets:

  • The same codebase for Android and iOS.
  • Material Design is used for Android UI / UX elements.
  • Cupertino Design is used for iOS UI / UX elements.
  • Better performance than with Ionic/Cordova/Capacitor.
  • Default Android / iOS animations are implemented in the framework.
  • Different codebases for mobile and web.
  • Because of limitations in the framework, it may be difficult or take a lot of time to write custom views or animations.
  • Since native plugins are written by JS/C# developers, they will be slower than if they were written by native developers.
  • There will be performance issues due to the middle framework above the native API.
  • New features will only be available after framework updates.
  • Framework limitations may prevent the addition of new features.

Flutter is a hybrid technology. Codebases from web applications are not reused to create mobile apps. Because of its own drawing engine, Flutter is more effective than Xamarin or React native:

  • The same codebase for Android / iOS/web/desktop.
  • Similar to native performance.
  • With Flutter, you can draw Android designs on iOS and iOS designs on Android. It can be implemented via a custom 3D engine and drawing ecosystem.
  • There are default animations implemented in Android and iOS frameworks.
  • It is possible to write custom views or animations that are similar to the native API.
  • Because native plugins are written by JS / C# developers, they will be slower than those created by native developers.
  • Teams will have to wait for framework updates to get new functionality from OS updates.
  • Framework limitations may prevent adding new features.

Wrapping up

The choice of the technical stack can either make or break a project. Customers are not always tech-savvy enough to choose the right programming languages, frameworks, etc. Consulting with mobile software development experts before launching a project fills the knowledge gap and eliminates the risk of failure.

Innowise possesses a vast pool of top-tier mobile developers who leverage the most sophisticated technologies, helping customers receive turnkey solutions that make businesses thrive. We are capable of employing technologies to provide our clients with consistently high-quality products. Our company uses the best of each technology stack and knows where to apply a particular language/framework to make the most out of it. We take care of all the technical details while you concentrate on the strategic aspects of your business.

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Eugene Shapovalov Head of Mobile

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