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How to choose a technology stack having a budget in mind

Web and mobile apps need a technical stack to run; but with so many languages and frameworks out there, how do you know which are best? The right one will save you costs and risk, while the wrong one may derail your entire project.

A business needs the right technology stack, meaning the right combination of software and hardware that allows it to run. The most suitable technology stack is a strategic choice, not an engineering one. It must be able to scale as your business grows, and it should make sense for your company’s culture and values.

Selecting the best tech stack means taking performance into consideration. With the rise of cloud-based solutions, optimizing costs becomes more attainable for small businesses across the globe.

This piece will walk you through the technology stack definition and give pointers on choosing the options for your app development.

What is a tech stack?

A tech stack is the collection of technologies that a company or individual uses to develop, maintain, and deliver its products or services. A company’s tech stack helps define the things it can do, the platforms it can use, and the languages it can use.

Technology stack examples include:

  • Programming languages: Java, C++, Python, and others.
  • Database management Systems (DBMS): MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and others.
  • Web development technology stack frameworks: AngularJS, ReactJS, Vue.js, and others.
  • Web servers: Nginx, Apache, and others. 

A tech stack is a blend of software development languages, frameworks, tools, and databases. It’s an evolving list of all things needed to develop software applications for your business.

A software application consists of two components: the frontend, which interfaces with the user and handles all user interactions, and the backend, which handles data storage and processing.

There’s a third component, the middleware, which technically does not classify as a development tool. It allows for the sharing and reuse of information, data, and services across applications, networks, and systems.

Middleware is an important layer in modern technology stacks because it provides services such as authentication, authorization, and internalization of user requests. The middleware layer allows an application tech stack to communicate with any other software components in the stack—for example, database servers or other applications.

Frontend tech stacks

A frontend technology stack is a collection of mobile and web stack technologies that are used to create the frontend experience for a website or application. Frontend developers typically use JavaScript, HTML, and CSS to create the user interface for an app or website.

Frontend tech stacks can be applied in many ways, from building single-page apps or websites with responsive design to building multi-page apps and websites that scale for mobile and desktop browsers.

Frontend software includes the browser, operating system, and tools like Photoshop or Illustrator. It’s what you see when you visit your website or read an article online.

Back-end tech stacks

The application of back-end technologies is not limited to websites and apps. It can be found in a wide range of areas such as e-commerce, online retail, financial services, and even social media platforms.

A back-end app or web tech stack is used by companies to manage data, process transactions, and store information.

The most common back-end software stacks are:

  • RESTful APIs: Representational State Transfer over HTTP
  • SOAP: Server-to-server communication protocol with XML payloads
  • Django: Python web framework that includes a template system for rapid web development
  • Python Flask: Python web microframework for rapid development of microservices

The back-end includes databases, servers, and other tools used to manage data storage and processing. It’s what makes your website work behind the scenes.

What is the difference between web and mobile app tech stacks?

Web applications are built using technologies like HTML, JavaScript, and CSS to create a user interface that displays data on a browser. Web apps run in browsers, not on dedicated servers or mobile devices. They are usually hosted on the internet, but can also be installed locally on local devices like PCs or laptops.

Mobile apps, on the other hand, allow users to access content and services through an application installed on their phones or tablets that run on platforms like iOS and Android. 

Mobile apps often use HTML5 features such as geolocation capabilities, push notifications, and offline support to deliver a better user experience than traditional web apps which often rely solely on HTTP requests to send information back to their servers.

Why is a tech stack important?

Choosing the right tech stack is critical. It’s the foundation of your business, and it’s important to get it right from the start. It allows businesses to optimize their workflows and get the most out of their investment. 

There are many other benefits to having the proper tech stack, including the following:

  • Faster and more accurate product features: The best tech stacks will help you build features faster and more accurately, allowing you to iterate quickly and focus on customer experience.
  • Flexibility: The right tech stack allows businesses to be more flexible in their infrastructure. This means that they can easily add or remove components as needed, without having to completely rebuild their system.
  • Scalability: It also allows businesses to easily scale their infrastructure. This is essential in today’s market, where businesses need to be able to quickly adapt to changes in demand.
  • Cost-effectiveness: It also is more cost-effective than traditional infrastructure. This is because businesses can choose the components that best fit their needs, instead of having to purchase an entire infrastructure.

By using a good combination of software and web technologies stack to create a complete solution, businesses can save time and money while also improving their productivity.

The first step to picking a tech stack is knowing what you want to build and how you want it to function, and then start narrowing down your options.

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Key factors to consider when choosing a tech stack for your project

Choosing a technology stack can be a bit like choosing a car, with your requirements and budget in mind. You want it to be fast, reliable, and cheap.

Here are some key criteria to consider and questions to ask yourself when choosing a tech stack: 


The first question you should ask yourself is “How fast do I want my application to run?” What is my application traffic volume? How many users do I expect to have in the future? What is the average load per user? How much memory does my application use? These questions will help you determine how much memory and CPU power you need for your application.

Performance is a key consideration when choosing a tech stack. Speed of execution is important in all aspects of life, and this applies to your website as well. You want the fastest possible response time on your website, and this will depend on the type of technology you choose. The more powerful the hardware, the better.


This is an important factor for any application that requires high availability or growth over time. If your application needs to be able to handle hundreds of users at once, then it’s likely that you’ll need a scalable solution. On the other hand, if your app just needs to handle a few users at once (such as a small personal blog), then having a smaller number of servers may not matter so much (although having more servers does make things easier).

The best stacks for web development and app design can scale without issues, so long as you prepare for growth. Your website or software should be able to grow with you, allowing for more customers and more traffic without compromising performance.


Modularity refers to being able to break down an application into smaller pieces that can be reused across multiple projects without having to rewrite everything from scratch each time something changes (which would take longer than re-writing things from scratch). 

For example, if you have one piece of code that handles all invoices in your accounting system and another piece of code that handles all sales orders for a company, it would be nice if those two pieces of code could be combined into one piece of code so that they can be reused across multiple projects. This is called modularity because it allows you to break down your application into different components.

Modularity means that each component on your site can be replaced easily if necessary, which means that any part of your site can be updated or changed without affecting other parts. You should choose a modular technology so that every part of your site can be replaced or updated separately with minimal downtime.

Ease of Maintenance

Another important factor is how easy the tech stack is to maintain over time. The easier it is for you (or someone else) to maintain it, the better — especially if it’s something important like an e-commerce site where profits depend on customer satisfaction

With popular technology stacks such as JavaScript, Ruby on Rails, or Python Django frameworks, for example, there are many different ways for you to develop your web application using different technologies and languages like PHP, Java, and Python. This allows you the flexibility for selecting the right programming language for a project, as well as which tools make sense for your app needs. The downside is that this choice can mean more time spent learning new things

Maintainability refers to how easy it is for developers or other people who are working with your code base (like maintenance engineers) to maintain it over time. If they have trouble keeping track of what they changed the last time they worked on something, then this can become a problem.


Does the project stack require a lot of security? If your app is going to be used by children and you want to ensure that it is secure, then you should use a more secure technology like Node.js. If you only need basic authentication then plain old PHP will work just fine.


Do you have the budget? This depends on how much money you want to spend on this project as well as how long it will take to complete. The longer it takes, the more expensive it will be in terms of the overall cost. You should also consider whether you want to hire someone else or do it yourself (and if so, what kind of person).

Project scope

What are your goals for this project? Are they realistic and achievable? Is there anything that you want to add but don’t think is possible? This can affect how much time it takes and how much money it costs to get things done – if your goal is too big or too small then you may not get everything done in time or within budget!

Time for project release

The fourth factor when choosing a tech stack is time for project release. If you have less time available then perhaps an open source solution will work best for you because it allows for customization and development as needed without needing any specialized knowledge or skills beyond those needed for a programming stack in general. 

What determines the cost of the tech stack?

The cost of the tech stack is determined by several factors:

  • How many features are included in the product. The more features you want in your product, the more expensive it will be to develop. This can be especially true if you want to include advanced features such as artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML). This is because these technologies require more developers and engineers who have expertise in these areas.
  • The number of developers that are needed and the skills required for each developer. In other words, if you have lots of developers and they’re all very experienced in their trade then the cost will be higher than if you only have one or two senior devs.
  • The team size. A smaller team can produce software faster than a larger one because there are fewer people involved in each step along the way — reducing the time it takes for products to go from idea to launch.
  • The amount of time it takes to develop your project. If you have a lot of features that need to be built then it will take longer than if your project is smaller and simpler.  The longer it takes, the more money it costs.
  • Specialized tools. If specialized tools are used, it will add another layer of cost to your final costs. Specialized tools include things like source control systems (SVN), version control systems (Git), bug trackers and issue trackers, etc.
  • The amount of money invested in the software development stack and development time:  In addition to paying employees and contractors, there’s also a cost associated with software licensing and maintenance fees.

Can you migrate from one stack to another?

Yes, you can. 

There are many reasons why you might want to migrate from one stack to another. Maybe you’re looking for a more robust solution, or perhaps you’re trying to simplify your development process. Whatever the reason, it’s important to know that it is possible to migrate from one stack to another.

But there are a couple of caveats here.

First, your team of developers will probably need to do some work on your existing codebase before you can start using the new stack. You might have some custom functionality that is specific to your old stack but that you’d like to keep in place, or you might have preferences for certain libraries or tools that are specific to your old stack.

The second caveat is that if your old stack was built on just one technology and now has accumulated lots of custom code over time, it means the old codebase might not be optimized for the new stack. And even if you’ve got all of this stuff working with your new stack, there may be areas where there isn’t any overlap between the two — For example, if you’ve got an API endpoint in both places but not everyone uses it at the same time.

Your development firm may choose to use a tool that can efficiently automate the migration process for you. For example, if you’re migrating from a Ruby on Rails application, some tools can help automate all the deployments and changes across your entire infrastructure without any manual intervention required.

The main thing that makes these tools so powerful is their ability to change (almost) anything in your system with just a few keystrokes or a click of a mouse button. They’re scripts that run on every machine in your network, so they’re extremely flexible and easy to use.

How to choose a technology stack having a budget in mind?

If you are new in the tech world or want to build a web application that will help your business but do not know where to start. We will try to help you, with one of the first steps in your journey, to select a tech stack for your web application.

When you start to investigate a technology stack that is the most suitable for your needs, you will find a ton of information on the benefits of one technology over another and different opinions on the same topic. That is normal, as “every cook praises his own broth”, so you are probably drawing in opinions and articles written by smart people that know what they are talking about.

We like numbers, and a lot of decisions we make in a company are based on research and comparison. So I suggest we take the same approach here. We will not consider the performance of technology here, CPU usage, memory usage, strict types support, convention over configuration or any other “tech” terms. What I suggest is to choose a tech stack based on the adoption number and workforce available on a market to work with that tech stack. In my opinion, a good amount of web applications does not require a fancy tech stack and can be done for half of the budget if you get a tech stack correctly.

Technology market adoption

In 2021, Stackoverflow conducted a survey for developers to understand current trends in the technology world. 83 031 developers across the world took part in this survey to share some insights on technology stacks they like, use and see as a future.

From that survey we can see a current trend in programming languages and technologies in the picture below:

  1. Javascript: As we can see from a diagram the most popular programming language in the world by far is Javascript. This is no wonder, as using javascript you can do pretty much everything, you can write single-page web applications, mobile applications, desktop applications, and much much more. So no wonder that javascript adoption is 68.62% as using this language you can pretty much solve any problem you need. We will skip HTML/CSS and SQL for now, as those technologies are a must for developers that are writing using Javascript in most cases, so I would say Javascript, HTML, CSS, and SQL  are best friends that always come to work together.
  2. Python goes next with 41.53% of developers that took part in the survey responding that they use this language. It is also not a big surprise, because you can do so much using this technology. Probably the best use cases for it will be AI, BigData, Data analysis, all kinds of trading applications, bots and so much more.
  3. TypeScript and Nodejs – those two are used by 36.42% and 36.16% of developers respectively. But I would say that we should add it to Javascript developers as technically javascript is used under a hood in both of them. So in most cases, developers that use NodeJs for example are also using Javascript.
  4. Java – has 34.51% of users in the developers’ community on Stackoverflow, this is a big chunk of the community as well. Java has a long history of being used in all kinds of desktop and web applications across the world. But most of those use cases will go to big companies that have been building software for ages. 
  5. Next, we have C# with 29.81% – which is a big community as well. This language is mostly used for tools and applications that are working in the Microsoft ecosystem which is big, that is why the percentage of C# usage is so big as well.
  6. Bash/Shell has 27.63%. This is a scripting language that is mostly used in the Unix system to script some kind of behavior of the Unix system or applications that are running there. So it is not really relevant to our goal of finding the best tech stack for web applications. We will skip it in our research.
  7. PHP has 22.54%, which is good considering that this is one of the oldest programming languages on the list. After all these years and versions, it is probably one of the most popular languages for web development. Just consider this list of CMS written on PHP: WordPress, Magento, WooCommerce, and many more. Having almost a quarter of developers still using it, means it is suitable for what it was designed for.
  8. C and C++ with 16.64% and 19.94% of adoption. Is also one of the oldest programming languages. But it is mostly used in more hardcore applications and in many cases to work with hardware. Which means it is not very suitable for our case.
  9. PowerShell has 10.96%. This is also a script language like Shell and Bash but for windows. Which means it is not really suitable for our needs.
  10. GO is used by 10.51% of developers. It is used mostly for desktop applications and BigData processing, so not suitable for us as well.
  11. Kotlin has 9.09% adoption, but it is designed for Android applications. So we will exclude it from our list as well.
  12. Ruby comes next with 7.89% of usage by developers. It is a good and easy language, which was super popular a couple of years ago, but it looks like it went to its peak already and now is not that exciting anymore. Even though it is used to build web applications that are fast and scalable.

Now having this data let’s try to create a list of languages that will go into the next round of consideration.

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The top 5 tech stack options

Taking into account a list from StackOverflow and our goal to find a technology that we can use to build web applications, let’s create a list of possible candidates:

  1. Javascript — definitely, it has huge adoption. So finding resources that will be able to implement web applications using this language should not be a problem.
  2. Python is also a good candidate. Flask and Django are frameworks that have a big adoption, so again the workforce should not be a problem.
  3. Java — good old technology that was proven to be awesome over years.
  4. PHP — an old, but constantly evolving language that is heavily used for web applications.
  5. Ruby – once a super popular, easy-to-use, and scale language that brought widely used concepts into programming.

Okay, so we have a list of potential candidates, what is next? Now we know how many people are using which technology, and the next big thing in every project is a budget. So let’s try to calculate which technology from the list above will be the most cost-effective.

Salary by technology stack

If we consider a budget for an application one of the driving factors for its success because the less money we spend on development the more money we can spend on marketing, management team, and so on. Then “cost of technology stack” becomes very important.

Let’s use the same report from the developers’ survey, but this time review the average yearly salary of developers by technology. But please note, that those numbers are average across the world and may vary from country to country. What we are looking for here is a relevant amount we need to spend for developers between different technologies. So I would use it as a multiplier rather than an actual value.

Let’s review a comparison based on the StackOverflow report:

As you can see from the data, Ruby developers have more than double the salary in comparison to PHP developers. This means that you can have twice as much work done using PHP than Ruby with the same budget.

Top 5 development technologies based on salary overview

Now using a new dataset, let’s try to create the list of 5 technology we will use, taking into account developers’ salaries:

  1. PHP – Using PHP for development will be the most cost-effective solution for your application based on data from StackOverflow.
  2. Java is the second best option. 
  3. Javascript — again, a pretty good option for you, just because there is a huge number of resources that use this technology, so finding people will not be an issue and it is relatively less expensive.
  4. Python is a good option, but again taking into account expenses you can hire 1.5 PHP developers for the same budget. So 50% savings is a good option, I think.
  5. Ruby is the least beneficial option from what we have selected.

Getting things together

Now, when we review technology adoption and budget for each technology, let’s try to create our best options to pick up technology for web applications. 

Again we are not talking about some specific use cases, where we have special purpose software requirements and we need to build them using a specific language designed for it. 

We are talking about most web applications out there. But even if there are some specific requirements, we can use this approach as those specific components can be done with specific language and all the rest using the methodology described here. This will not provide that much savings, but it will provide some.

So let’s get back to our list. If we consider adoption and price, here are the top technologies to use for web development:

  1. PHP has a high adoption rate of 22.54% and one of the lowest expense rates. Also, this language is one of the oldest and most proven technologies.
  2. Javascript has a huge adoption rate of 68.62%, which means a big group of people can use it. Also, it is relatively low on the expense scale. Which means it is also a good option.
  3. Java – popular programming language, very stable, with a good adoption at 34.51% and a relatively low impact on the budget. The only downside of it is that development using Java probably will take longer in comparison with using the options above.
  4. Python – a great programming language, very powerful with a great adoption at 41.53%, but in my opinion, and as numbers say it is a bit overhyped. So if you choose this one, be prepared to pay some premium for development.
  5. Ruby – once a very popular language and still pretty powerful and innovative. But as our research shows, it has the least adoption from the list at 7.89% and the highest expense rate. So I would not recommend using it if you are starting a new application.

Our expertise with technology stacks and web & app development

As you can see, any task is complicated once you start working on it. But as we have just reviewed, even if you know nothing about programming and do a little research using public data you can choose the right technology stack for you based on numbers and not based on hype or someone’s opinion.

I invite you to do your own research and when an exciting moment to start hiring a team comes, you will be ready.

SaaS web applications can be very complex and require a team of expert developers.

Scimus is that team. We work tirelessly to deliver quality tech products on time and within budget, using advanced SaaS technologies. 

Scimus is a custom software development company that specializes in building web and mobile applications using the latest technologies and techniques. Our expertise with web technology stack and app development using Reach Native has helped us build products that are used by millions of people every day.

At Scimus, we design and develop highly complex enterprise-level responsive SaaS web applications. This includes software development using cutting-edge responsive UI frameworks like ReactJS and VueJS, API frameworks like Grape, Ruby on Rails, and Laravel, backend framework NodeJS as well as some other modern tech stacks we use to deliver results beyond your expectations.

We’re proud of our ability to create amazing products for our clients, but we don’t stop there. We also build systems that help our clients manage their business processes.

We love what we do, and it shows in everything we do!

Conclusion: It’s worth finding a stack that satisfies your needs

To sum things up on how to choose a technology stack, try to look beyond the hype and company marketing when evaluating options (Read more about web and app development). 

Make sure you take the time to explore all of the aspects that each technology brings, and how an option can complement your needs now and in the future. Though this process may take some time, it’s ultimately worth it to find a stack that satisfies your needs on a practical level, while ensuring the long-term financial health of your web or mobile project.

It is important to see what your tech stack options are based on your project’s needs, and also within your budget. Don’t be afraid to hire an expert development partner like Scimus who will be able to dedicate enough time, energy, and resources to create the type of experience you want for your product.

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