In the technology world, there’s more competition today than ever. Customers are starting to have higher expectations, and that means your technology tools and platforms need to be built for these new expectations. You can do this by maintaining a forward-thinking stack that’s always reaching further and preparing for the next thing.
There’s no room to get comfortable when things change rapidly. In order to make sure your tech company is around tomorrow, you need to put some systems in place to ensure you’re “future proof.” This term is more than just a buzzword. It’s about being flexible and scalable. It means you know how to use the best technology and ideas to create things that continue into the future.
Building your technology stack too high too quickly is a recipe for disaster. Instead, you need to have a system for making smart choices that benefit your projects instead of getting in the way. No matter what you’re trying to build, you need to make sure it’s scalable. This isn’t always as easy as it seems, so that’s why we’re sharing 5 tips for building a scalable tech stack on any cloud or server.
1. Examine the Technology Ecosystem
When of the most important things to consider when choosing a scalable tech stack is the ecosystem. While open-source solutions will prevent you from needing to completely build everything from scratch, you still need to check the current ecosystem. Beyond just understanding the language, framework, and features, you’ll need to see what’s behind these basics.
There’s a community surrounding every tech stack. How big is this community? Is it welcoming to new members? More importantly, is it even active? You’ll want to look into support options whether you’re checking for Stackoverflow questions, online tutorials, or relevant blog posts. See what Google Trends has to say about it and whether it looks like something that’s going to be around for a while.
Another ecosystem resource is awesome lists on Github. It’s all about the stuff behind language and frameworks like articles, tutorials, and packages. If you find dead air behind your chosen tech stack, odds are there isn’t much room to grow. However, if you discover a lively community that’s supportive and welcoming, you might have landed yourself a winner.
The ecosystem behind a tech stack is a clear indicator of its effectiveness and longevity. As we said before, things move fast in the cyber age. It seems like as soon as a new trend steps forward another is left behind. You don’t want to be working in a ghost town.
2. Research the Market
Another important step in deciding on a tech stack is to review long-term trends and support options. In the previous section we talked about the importance of the ecosystem behind a stack, but you’ll also want to pay attention to the lifecycle of the market. Tech has a lifecycle, and you want to choose your tech stack at the precise time.
You want to choose technologies that are mature. These are more reliable, and they’ll be more likely to have a strong ecosystem behind them. Basically, they’re future-proof. They’re not likely to change drastically in the near future, and they won’t become obsolete quickly.
While nothing is set in stone when it comes to the digital age, you can review some of the industry-favorite tech stacks on techstacks.io. Beyond comparing the stacks of your competitors, look into market support. Some technology vendors aren’t around for a long time, and that can leave your product in a vulnerable position. For example, Google is behind Angular so that’s a good sign it will be around for a while. Smaller companies don’t always have this same confidence.
You need to be sure you’ll have access to the latest versions and ongoing support. That means looking into tech support options that clarify how updates are handled and how the migration process works. The code base between Angular 1 and Angular 2, for example, were not compatible which has led to a lot of friction in this community. You’ll need to create a plan to deal with these problems and mitigate them when possible.
3. Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome
One of the biggest pitfalls of tech stacks is not thinking carefully about new projects. It’s easy to fall for the latest-and-greatest tech and trends, but consider how these integrations will fit into the bigger picture. Before building or buying new things, ask yourself if you actually need them.
In many cases it makes senses to use older technology. It shouldn’t be discounted since it usually already has an established knowledge base, plus you don’t have to worry about training your entire team on something new. That means fewer errors and less time spent researching.
Of course, there’s always a time and a place for innovation. However, the key is to avoid unnecessary growing pains and choose tech that will integrate well with your current system. There’s always a disruption when you introduce something new, so you’ll want to make sure it’s actually serving a purpose that advances the stack.
4. Monitor Feedback
As much as we wish everything we launch will work 100% of the time, that’s never the case. Things happen that are out of our control, and that’s why we need to be vigilant about monitoring feedback loops and handling issues as soon as they pop up. First, you need clear goals for your technology updates. What metrics are you measuring regularly? How are you indicating your launch is a success?
Once you know these, you can make smarter decisions. From there, you’ll need to include a feedback and monitoring system. This helps you identify problems before they occur, and it gives you a backup to run on if things do go south quickly. Click for more details for a free Syslog to measure your application output.
Nobody is perfect. You should build the room for error into your stack to make sure you have a plan if you need to act quickly. As long as you’re monitoring your efforts throughout your deployment systems, you’re on track to making as few errors as possible. Know your metrics, analyze them, and create a structure for stopping problems in their tracks.
Thousands of products and software every day is ignored by users because it fails to live up to expectations. Don’t let that happen to your own development. Recognize that while you can’t prevent all problems, you can go a long way in preventing most of them. Small errors won’t likely wreck your entire user base, but big ones will. That’s why you should take user feedback seriously and always look for new ways to improve.
5. Consider Security
We’ve all seen the negative effects of security breaches. Every day it seems a new application or big company falls to a security concern, and the general public is not very forgiving. Security should not be an afterthought for those building platforms and online applications. No matter what data is being used, you need to value it and protect it from cyber attacks.
Most cloud-based architecture comes with security systems in place, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add your own measures for safety. The best way to ensure a secure platform is to start thinking about security before you start developing in the first place. That means you’ll be able to include compliance and other data issues throughout every step. Developing a mature identity and access management (IAM) early will have reduced overall security costs later down the line.
Ultimately, security needs to be a top priority. An example of this is the free graphic design invoice template by FreshBooks which is on a secure server and protects private user information. Even if you’re not accessing users’ financial information, you should still consider new ways to protect your users from outside attack. Your reputation depends on it, so don’t take this tip lightly. Depending on your industry, you might need to take security even more seriously. Healthcare, for instance, has some of the strictest data laws, and with good reason. No matter what enterprise you’re in, pay attention to how your users will be kept safe while interacting with your software.
Developing for the Future
Stack architecture needs to be designed with two things in mind: today and tomorrow. What seems normal today will quickly be old news tomorrow, and many companies are feeling the pressure to create and produce more technology than ever. This increase in competition is leading to new innovations we couldn’t have dreamed up years ago, but it also presents new challenges.
Not only do tech stacks have to focus on consumers, but they also have to create new ways to scale their own projects. One thing is for certain: there are no finish lines. There will be no point where we’ve reached peak technology. We will only keep learning new things, and designing new ways to push into the future.
If you want your team of developers to survive another day in this competitive landscape, you’ll need to be ready for anything. Learning how to streamline deployment, plan with the big picture in mind, and monitor feedback area all integral parts of the production process today. Scalable technology is something you can count on being around for a long time. It’s a smart investment, and one your company should take seriously. The days of traditional development are long gone. Today, it’s all about reaching further and outsmarting the competition.