Web Application Development

Tools for building a high-performing web app in 2020

A guide helping you choose the right technology for your web application

Choosing the right technology can be a critical factor in the success of your product. How come? Tools that are well suited to the type of your app and your team’s skills will simplify the web development process. Furthermore, tailoring the tech stack to the right devices and platforms will increase the chances that end-users fall in love with your app. In this short guide, we’ll share our favorite tools as well as some web dev tips.

Which platform best fits your needs?

Your choice of technologies will depend on several factors. We recommend that you take a moment and try to answer the following questions:

  • How will your audience interact with your app?
  • Which devices will they use?
  • What will be their goal?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can look at the pros and cons of different technologies and decide which ones suit your needs best. It may even turn out that you don’t really need a web app but rather a native mobile app or a progressive web app (PWA).

Let's recap the primary use case of different platforms

Opt for a web build if:

  • It’s a prototype or a proof of concept,
  • You need content creation features (e.g., adding blog posts or videos),
  • You plan to have continuous updates to your product,
  • The content of your app needs to be highly sharable.

Consider a PWA if:

  • Your app should be accessible when offline,
  • The app should work in kiosk mode (e.g., during an event or as an element in your brick and mortar store),
  • Your product will be used on mobile devices, but you don’t want to put the apps in app stores (because of frequent updates, for instance).

Go for a native mobile app if:

  • Your app will use the following features: built-in AI, GPS, push notifications,
  • The product will be used on mobile devices and require high processing power,
  • You want the app to be available in app stores and become part of the users’ app ecosystem.

Now that you’ve picked the core platform for your app, it’s time to think about particular technologies to build it with. Below, you’ll find a list of web development technologies recommended by Apptension. If you want to learn more about building a mobile app, head to our mobile development page.

Do you want to chat about the needs of your particular product with our software development experts? Schedule a free consultation call with us.

How to build a high performing website in 2020?

When picking the tools to build your web app, you have to consider the frontend of the app as well as the backend. The frontend technology may seem the easier one to pick—after all, everyone is using a similar tech stack (HTML, CSS, JavaScript). Dig a little bit deeper, however, and you’ll see a multitude of JS frameworks and libraries you can utilize to bring your product to life. Developers themselves will have their own favorites and passionately argue about “why use React over another framework”.

Which solution is best for you? Let’s take a closer look at three popular JavaScript frameworks we recommend to our clients: React.js, Vue.js, and AngularJS.

React is the framework we’ve built the bulk of our projects with. It’s mature enough to have a big community and some well-established patterns. One of our favorite things about React is its flexibility and modularity: you can add components as the app grows. The components themselves come from large libraries like Material-UI.

A cool thing about React is that it’s not limited to web apps: React Native is a framework that allows you to build mobile apps. There are also interesting React-based products for server-side rendering (Next.js) or building static pages (Gatsby). Utilizing the rich React ecosystem, you can build a high-performing web app that’s perfectly suited to your audience’s needs.

Looking for case studies? React has been developed by Facebook, so it’s the building block of their most famous apps: Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

Angular is the framework we recommend for large apps and well-established concepts. It comes with all components you might need out of the box, which makes it very powerful. On the other hand, however, Angular has a steep learning curve, so make sure your team of developers is up for the challenge.

Vue - the newcomer that has quickly amassed an enthusiastic community. Vue.js is easy to get started and flexible: you can add components continuously. It could be great for building prototypes and MVPs. Yet another advantage of Vue is that its components can be integrated with apps built using other frameworks.

Backend technologies for your web app

Python, being one of the most popular and powerful programming languages in the world, might be the best backend technology for your app. Due to its popularity and extensive usage, Python comes with well-established patterns and plenty of useful tools. The language itself is very versatile and works great for both traditional web apps and AI-powered projects. It’s also a great tool for data science. We use Python with Django (and its admin features): this combo allows us to create robust applications that are easy to manage by the clients.

Node.js allows developers to use JavaScript as the language for their app’s backend. Needless to say, it’s very convenient for JS-skilled programmers, but Node.js has more advantages than that. It’s very fast and flexible, making it an excellent choice for real-time apps (e.g., chats).

6 steps to build a high performing web app

In order to build a successful web app, you should follow a proven web development process. We’ve prepared a step-by-step guide for all CEOs and project managers who want to create a web app. From product ideation to post-launch maintenance, you’ll find plenty of web devlopment tips there:

6 steps to create a great web app

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