The first step in creating any kind of online marketplace is choosing the right technology stack. However, if you’re not familiar with the specificities of software product development, the choice might be a tough one, especially if you’re new to web design. There are so many options available that it can quickly become overwhelming. But don’t get discouraged too early – with a grasp of the basics of website creation and the general idea of what kind of marketplace your company wants to create, it’s always possible to narrow down the list of options to a more manageable number.
Below we present some advice on how to choose the right technological basis for your startup, as well as some useful information on tech stacks and a number of important things to consider when working with them.
What Is a Tech Stack?
Simply put, a technology stack is all the software products, programming languages and other tools that are used to create and then run a website or web application. It consists of two large parts: the server-side (also known as back-end technology stack) and the client-side (front-end technology stack).
Client-side technology stack
As you can tell from the name, the client-side of the tech stack is the visual part of your website, the one that users will interact with. It includes:
- Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), which tells the user’s browser how to display the web page’s content
Server-side technology stack
Again, as the name implies, the server-side tech stack is the part that powers the whole website or application but isn’t visible to users. It consists of:
- programming language, which is used to build the basic logic of the website or application
- a database, which is the place where the site will store the necessary data
- a server, which deals with the requests from the users’ devices.
Now, with the basics covered, we can move on to our tips for choosing and dealing with the technology stack for marketplace development.
1. Be Mobile
According to Statista, more than 50% of web pages viewed this year were accessed from a mobile phone or another mobile device. It means that more than a half of the potential users of your online marketplace will be viewing it on their smartphones or tablets.
Take this into account when choosing the technology stack for your online marketplace, because if you want it to be efficient and popular, you need to make it mobile-friendly. Your site should be adapted for different screen sizes, and its UI should look as great on a standard PC screen as it does on a mobile phone.
2. Be Flexible
These days trends and technologies are constantly changing in the blink of an eye, and to stay competitive your website should be able to adapt just as fast. For example, several years ago you could expect your average user to view your website from a desktop computer, while today, as we pointed out earlier, they are using some sort of mobile device at least half of the time. You should be ready to adapt your online market to a change in technology when the need arises.
By making your technology stack more granular, spreading different functions between different servers and applications, you ensure that it won’t be all that hard for you to switch to a newer kind of technology.
3. Be Well Informed
Before choosing technology to develop a marketplace, do some research on each of the available options. Give preference to those with a large community of active users. Then, if your site suffers some sort of software problems, you will be more likely to find the information on how to fix it.
Also, take into account the “maturity” of the chosen software. As a rule, products released more recently are less reliable than those that have been available on a market for a while. On the other hand, as with everything related to technology, technology stacks are constantly improving, and you don’t want outdated or obsolete software.
4. Be Brave
Getting to the market is far more important than polishing all of your site’s functions to a near-perfect state and trying to prevent all possible problems (this is especially true if you have limited financial resources). Once you get your online marketplace started, at some point the site will more likely than not suffer some sort of unexpected issues that you had no idea about while creating it. Even if everything goes fine, sooner or later your online market will need to expand or add new features. This is totally normal and can usually be managed with relative ease. Try to focus on getting your app up and running and fixing problems as soon as they occur, but don’t be afraid of launching it without checking every line of code several times.
Other Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing the Technology to Create a Marketplace
There are some universal things you need to pay attention to when choosing your technology stack for marketplace development. The success of your online marketplace directly depends on the following factors:
The size of your project
If you’re trying to make a fairly basic website in the shortest possible time, then simple technologies like WordPress or CMS will most likely do the job. However, if your goal is to create a huge online marketplace, you should use several programming languages, as well as other web technologies.
With the exponential growth of the Internet, the problem of digital crime is becoming more and more severe, so if you’re going to create anything cash-related on the web, you should think about the safety of your potential users. Create your website following the security guidelines available for your chosen technology stack to minimize the threat and avoid unnecessary vulnerabilities.
Creating and then maintaining a website requires a fair amount of resources, and this includes financial resources as well. The kind of software you choose has a direct impact on the final price of the project.
All expenses associated with the website can be divided into two categories:
- Developer payment – the more skilled the developers you hire are, the higher their salary is going to be;
- Site maintenance – it’s not enough just to make a site, you also need to keep it running. You can reduce the maintenance cost by using open-source technologies such as Sellacious or Multi-Vendor.
Human resources available to you are another important factor that will influence your choice of technology stack. Certain programming languages or software types are more popular among developers, while others are less common. For example, it’s easy to hire a developer who’s good at working with Java, but if you want something rarer like PHP, finding a good expert may be a problem.
Examples of Popular Technology Stacks for Startups
There are some technology stacks commonly used by startup projects. You may want to look into them if you are going to work on developing the project for your business by yourself.
LAMP technology stack
Being one of the first technology stacks that became popular, LAMP is reliable, time-tested and easily accessible. It’s also worth noting that most developers are very likely to be familiar with it.
LAMP pack includes:
- Linux operating system
- Apache web server
- MySQL database
- PHP, Perl or Python scripting languages.
Advantages of LAMP:
- General reliability and security – Linux is a popular programming language with developers
- Apache is the most popular web server option currently on the web – it’s used by companies like Apple and PayPal
- MySQL database is famed for its reliability and used by large websites like YouTube
- PHP is flexible and easy to learn – it’s also easy to integrate into most servers and databases.
Disadvantages of LAMP:
- Linux can be complicated for a developer who’s not familiar with it
- It doesn’t support many Windows programs
- Apache is not suited for heavy traffic
- MySQL has fewer features than most other databases on the market.
MEAN technology stack
- MongoDB database
- Express.js back-end application framework
- AngularJS front-end application framework
- Node.js back-end language environment.
Advantages of MEAN:
- Innovative and original
- MongoDB is very easy to work with
- Express.js is a very open application framework that leaves most of the tool choices up to the developer
- AngularJS is simple but effective for creating single-page applications
- Node.js shows better performance under heavy traffic than Apache.
Disadvantages of MEAN:
- MongoDB is less stable and reliable than other databases
- Node.js requires a professional developer to get the most out of its scalability and achieve the best results
- AngularJS can sometimes be unnecessarily complicated and is not recommended for use on simpler websites.
Choosing the right technology behind an online marketplace is a significant factor in its success. However, it may be a daunting task if you are not familiar with the intricacies of web development. There are many options to choose from, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. We recommend always seeking advice from professionals before making a final decision.