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June 17, 2022

Best Tech Stacks for Mobile App Development in 2022

There are many tech stacks used in software and mobile app development. So how do you choose the best software development stack for your mobile app project’s needs?

Of the most popular tech stacks for Android and iOS development, some are better suited for specific functionalities, traffic volume, and user types than others. These are just a few of the many factors to consider when choosing a tech stack for mobile app development.  

A full-stack mobile app development company like High Seas can guide you in choosing the best tech stack to ensure the app meets all your project requirements.

What Are Mobile App Tech Stacks?

The technologies for mobile app development and other types of software development are known as a “tech stack.” Tech stacks consist of a combination of programming languages, development kits, frameworks, and other tools and technologies used to create the end product—your mobile app. 

There are generally four main components of a tech stack:

  • Front-End Development: The front end is everything users see and interact with in your mobile app. It’s the client-side of the development process and includes creating graphical user interfaces such as links, buttons, and animations using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. With native app development, some native platforms have proprietary interface languages.
  • Back-End Development: Back-end software development stacks focus on scripting, databases, website architecture, and other behind-the-scenes activities that occur when users interact with the mobile application.
  • Development Platform: The development platform is a set of standard software that allows businesses to build, test, and deploy their apps in a short period of time.
  • Additional Needs: Other tools and technologies are often used to improve mobile applications' performance, security, and flexibility. 

Why Utilizing the Best Tech Stack for Mobile App Development is Important

Recent research found that there are more than 80 apps installed on the average smartphone worldwide, though the average person uses nine mobile apps on a daily basis and thirty mobile apps every month. Mobile devices are also now the primary way most people access websites on a daily basis, and mobile apps are expected to generate over $935 billion in revenue by 2023

These statistics show how important a business’s emphasis on quality mobile app technology is in its efforts to reach audiences worldwide, stay connected with employees and customers, and streamline business operations. 

The mobile app tech stack plays a significant role in the app development process and directly impacts the outcome of app creation. Choosing the right technologies for your mobile app development will determine how well your app performs, how scalable it is to handle heavy influxes of traffic, and how easy it is to maintain. Using the wrong tech stack for app development can quickly lead to inflated mobile app development costs, longer development times, and more complex maintenance issues in the future. 

Considering how important mobile applications are in a business’s success these days, it’s only natural that the tech stack you use will also have an impact on your business’s bottom line.

The Best Tech Stack for Your Mobile App Development

Each tech stack has its pros and cons, from native app development to cross-platform development technologies, which is why a hybrid approach to app development is often the best option. Below, we’ll cover the most popular technologies used for creating native iOS and Android apps along with cross-platform tech stacks that simplify the development process.

Native App Development

Native mobile applications are built to run on a specific mobile platform, with the most popular being iOS and Android. Two of the most widely used technologies for mobile app development, native iOS and native Android apps can integrate into the operating systems, enhance user experience, and allow app developers to publish updates and fix bugs rapidly. 

In addition to more easily achieved high performance and security standards, native apps have smooth responsiveness and access to gesture control, device notifications, the device’s camera, GPS, contacts, and other hardware and software components. Another beneficial feature of native applications for larger companies is that they can work offline. 

While they may be exactly the type of mobile app technology a business needs, native app development can also be costly and time-consuming, requiring developers to create separate versions of the app for each supported platform. 

The following are the programming languages generally used with the most popular tech stacks for each operating system:

Android

  • Kotlin: One of the top Android programming languages in popular tech stacks, Kotlin combines object-oriented and functional programming features. Using Kotlin allows developers to extend existing classes with new functionalities, reduces crashes during runtime, and supports full Java interoperability (using both languages simultaneously without issue). Another unique feature is the Kotlin “lazy loading” feature.
    Kotlin is ideal for developers who want a modern, quick and slick way to create a program. The downside is that it doesn’t offer the same level of functionality integrations as some other programming languages like Swift and Objective-C++.
  • Java: Widely used for developing large-scale apps and software, Java is an object-oriented programming language offering easily accessible, flexible, and reusable code along with millions of available libraries for developers to reference. Compared to other programming languages, Java offers excellent support but a slower execution time.
  • Android Developer Tools for Eclipse IDE: ADT is an Android plugin for the Eclipse IDE (integrated development environment) that contains a guided project setup, tool integration, custom XML editor, graphic builder, emulator, test automation support, and an integrated environment to build Android applications.
  • Android NDK: Android NDK is a native toolset for building Android applications that allow developers to implement parts of an app in native code using languages such as C and C++. When a developer is working on certain types of mobile apps, they can reuse code libraries with Android NDK, speeding up the development process. Though it requires a high level of skill and coding acumen, NDK is more stable and quickly executable than other coding languages.
  • Android Studio: Android Studio is an IDE that’s been adapted to perform typical tasks in developing applications, whether for phones, tablets, Android Wear, Android TV, or Android Auto. Developers use structured code modules to divide projects into units of functionality that can be built, tested, and debugged independently of the other units. 


iOS

  • Swift: One of the fastest growing programming languages in history, Swift is a technology for mobile app development that offers fast execution, great performance, and easy integration with UIkit, a front-end framework that enables developers to create responsive user interfaces. Though Swift is an independent language with core features such as data structures, flow control, protocols, closures, and more, it has a simple syntax and can interoperate with existing iOS Objective-C code that’s been used for Apple products in the past.
    A downside of Swift is that there aren’t many tutorials outside of iOS development. Developers need to spend extra time learning it before using it on other platforms.
  • Objective-C: As the primary programming language for OS X and iOS, Objective-C is a superset of the C programming language that provides object-oriented capabilities with a dynamic runtime. It has the same level of performance as Swift but doesn’t support UIkit, meaning developers will need to create their own responsive interface when working with Objective-C.
  • Apple Xcode: A full-featured development environment for macOS, Apple Xcode is not only used for mobile app technology, it’s also used to develop software for macOS, iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Xcode comes with integrated support for GIT repositories, debugging tools, and a graphical editor for building user interfaces and documentation.
  • Xcode IDE is one of the most popular tech stacks that, when combined with Swift, makes developing apps easier.
  • IntelliJ AppCode: IntelliJ AppCode is fully compatible and interoperable with Xcode and supports Objective-C, Swift, C and C++, JavaScript, XML, HTML, CSS, and XPath. The IDE has strong refactoring capabilities with on-the-fly code analysis, debugging, and the support of several testing frameworks. 

Cross-Platform App Development

Cross-platform technologies for mobile app development are applications designed to run on different mobile platforms and are usually created simultaneously. A full-stack development company building a cross-platform app for your business can give you a competitive advantage, help your business reach a broader audience, and increase your sales. You’ll often have a faster deployment with an affordable cost since the same code can work on different platforms, and you’ll only need one development team. 

The downside to cross-platform development is that finished applications are comparatively slower and less responsive than native applications because the app is relying on multiple technologies. For example, using HTML/CSS for styling, JavaScript as the programming language, and CSS or jQuery animations instead of hardware-specific graphic rendering slows download times by adding an additional layer. 

Another disadvantage is that Android and iOS users expect the UI to be customized for each platform. The third downside is that specialized applications, such as Bluetooth-connected devices, may require specific coding to be compatible with the operating system. 

The following frameworks are popular for creating enterprise-level, cross-platform applications:

  • React Native: React Native is an open-source JavaScript framework for creating cross-platform applications. Its most beneficial feature is that React Native lets programmers use the same code for Android and iOS apps, allowing for a smoother, faster development process.
    React’s UI paradigm, combined with the JavaScript library, allows responsive applications to interact with native APIs. Because of this, React Native is considered the most efficient way for developers to create cross-platform applications due to its wider acceptance and mature market presence.
  • Flutter: Created by Google, Flutter is a free, open-source UI framework designed to create native mobile applications. With a single codebase and programming language, developers can use Flutter to create mobile applications for both iOS and Android devices, making the process much simpler and faster. Another great feature is developers can quickly view newly added app features and bug fixes without restarting the application.
  • Xamarin: Xamarin is an open-source developing platform for building modern, performant iOS, Android, and Windows applications with .NET. C# is a commonly used programming language with Xamarin that allows developers to directly connect to each operating system’s native APIs and access a comprehensive, open-source toolkit.
    The robust performance rate of Xamarin is hampered only because it relies on using Java instead of JavaScript (unlike React Native), though depending on your needs and what the app’s intended use will be, you might not even notice the slower performance rate.
  • Unity: Unity is a popular modular tool offering cross-platform capabilities that help developers produce highly engaging 2D and 3D mobile games. Unity is versatile, capable of developing applications for numerous platforms and hybrid apps, and uses its IDE to provide built-in support for audio, animation, and physics.

Hybrid App Development

Hybrid app development works by running the app in a simplified browser, or webview, that’s compatible with most mobile operating systems and devices. Several advantages of a hybrid app development strategy are faster development times, lower development costs, greater market reach, better cloud and enterprise solutions support, and easy maintenance. 

There are some drawbacks to hybrid app development, however. In addition to slower performance, it can be difficult to create high-quality user interfaces. It also takes more time to build a hybrid app than other options because two development teams have to work together on both the front end and back end of the project if they don’t have a team of full-stack mobile developers. 

Some functional limitations of hybrid development are not allowing users to do everything they could in an internet browser, like log in to their account or make a purchase without directing users to another webpage. 

The following are the best tech stacks for web apps and mobile apps in hybrid app development:

  • Cordova/PhoneGap: Cordova is an open-source framework for building hybrid apps using JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS3 instead of using platform-specific APIs like those in Android, iOS, and Windows. It’s easier for developers to quickly build hybrid apps that work with the most common browsers, and Cordova is the most cost-effective tech stack for developing hybrid mobile apps.
  • Ionic Framework: Ionic Framework is an open-source UI toolkit that developers can use to build hybrid apps. It runs a JavaScript-based library, but unlike others, Ionic offers more built-in features such as animations and various UI components, which allow designers to have more styling options without adding additional plugins or third-party libraries. Ionic also includes a selection of prebuilt layouts.

Factors You Should Consider When Choosing the Best Tech Stack for Mobile App Development 

There are many factors to consider when choosing the best tech stack for your app, and the best isn’t always the most popular tech stack. The following are some of the most common factors to consider, but you’ll want to consult a full-stack development company to ensure you’re using the right mobile app technology for your project.

General App Requirements

When choosing technologies for mobile app development, your general app requirements are one of the most important factors to consider. Think about which platforms you’ll need to support, the type of features you’d like to include in your app, and how much control you want over the look and feel of your app. 

Hiring a professional full-stack development company, such as High Seas, is the best way to ensure you’re choosing the right tech stack for your project, even if you’re unsure of where to start.

The Main Goals of the App

What are the main goals of your app? What do you hope to solve or streamline by integrating a mobile or web app into your business’s operations? The tech stack can vary considerably when a high-latency application is compared to a low-latency application. For example, apps that need to handle a large load will need a better, stronger tech stack than a simpler app.

Target Audience

The type of audience you hope to reach with your app also plays a large role in informing the correct tech stack to use. For example, in the US, approximately 58% of the mobile operating system market share is held by iOS and 41% by Android. On the flip side, if your target audience is in India, iOS development may be entirely unnecessary, as 94% of the mobile operating system market share belongs to Android.

User Base

How many users will your app need to support? What type of devices do they use, and on which operating systems? Determining the user base will help you and your full-stack mobile developers decide which tech stack is best for your project.

Data Security

Data security should be a key consideration when it comes to mobile app technology. If your app stores sensitive user data, you’ll need a tech stack with robust security features and protocols. 

No platform is perfect, however, and you’ll need to consult with a full-stack development company to weigh the pros and cons between each tech stack option before making your decision. 

Regulatory requirements, such as HIPAA compliance, also often require extra levels of security. A professional full-stack development company like High Seas is familiar with and able to recommend optional approaches for meeting any regulatory requirements.

Scalability

You’ll also want to consider scalability when choosing a tech stack, meaning how an app handles increased traffic volume without experiencing significant slowdowns or disruptions. For businesses that are expecting rapid growth, this is especially important to keep up with demand. 

With so many factors to consider, you should consult a professional mobile app development company that can ensure your app is built with the best tech stack for your business needs.

Validation

You can get an idea of the user experience and user interface and how they will appear to end users by testing the product with a hybrid approach and interacting with potential users.

Budget

Like any custom development project, the budget is one of the most important factors in mobile app development. Your budget should include costs for all phases of the project, including continued maintenance and updates. Development budget and timelines are influenced by many factors, such as the cooperation model you’ve chosen, the number of team members and their skill sets, available technology, and the intended features of your mobile app.

Project Timeline

You’ll need to ensure the tech stack you choose for mobile app development fits within your timeline. Before beginning the enterprise mobile app development process, it’s essential you get an accurate idea of your timeframe so the full-stack mobile developer team can help determine the best tech stack for your project.

Let’s Determine the Most Suitable Mobile Tech Stack for Your Project

Mobile app development can be complex, depending on the scope of your app, the number of intended end users, and the features and functionalities you will need. Choosing the right tech stack can make or break a project, which is why it’s absolutely essential that your developers use the appropriate technologies for the job. 

Professional full-stack mobile development companies like High Seas have the skill sets and resources to find the best tech stack for web app or mobile app development. Let us guide your project toward a successful outcome that hits all your business requirements.

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