Abbreviation of “technical stack”, the term “tech stack” refers to the technology used to operate software. More broadly, the concept of “tech stack” is widely used by developers in the technical project design phase. Knowing the definition of a “tech stack” in general is essential for the company, because it allows it to fully analyze its own technical environment.
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What is a tech stack?
Also called “technology stack”, “data ecosystem” or “technology stack”, the tech stack is the technical environment of software or a computer program. It includes the programming language(s) used, but also the frameworks and tools that developers use to communicate with the application.
Why care about your tech stack?
Any computer design project includes multiple technologies that must work together to bring a complete program to life. For example, a website is composed at least a database, a server-side programming language, a language or framework for displaying client-side data, and hosting. All these elements form the tech stack. It is essential to know them to understand how the ecosystem of the program is organized and to ensure its maintenance and troubleshooting.
Developers are interested in the technical stack of a program or software to know its strengths and weaknesses from the way it was designed. By way of comparison, an architect can look to the original building plans of a house to understand how it was laid out in order to plan new layouts.
Marketing managers and owners of websites, mobile applications or any other computer program have every interest in taking an interest in the tech stack in order to be able to act quickly in the event of a technical problem, but also to meet a constant need for evolution. technologies and business processes. In summary, analyzing your tech stack is the best way to have the keys to intervene technically, whether to update your software or integrate it into another, for example.
Finally, a good knowledge of its tech stack is important to recruit developers whose skills correspond to technical needs. Indeed, developers increasingly tend to specialize in particular technologies or programming languages. The professionals in charge of their recruitment and the framing of their missions must understand the basics of the functioning of their technical environment in order to properly guide the work of their teams.
Examples of tech stacks
To understand what a tech stack is, it can be useful to delve into the tech stacks that surround Internet users on a daily basis, without them even realizing it. The technical environments detailed below are those of major platforms and social networks. These are complex technical stacks, which are all subject to change based on decisions to update or integrate software.
Airbnb tech stack
The tech stack of the popular accommodation booking platform Airbnb can be described as follows:
- Amazon Cloud Front.
- Google Analytics.
Specifically, this means that the Airbnb website has been developed with the Amazon CloudFront CDN (Content Delivery Network) and is linked to Google Analytics to track its statistics. As far as Braintree is concerned, it is Airbnb’s preferred payment solution for paying for stays. For its part, Twilio is an API used by Airbnb to contact its customers by SMS or phone call. Finally, MixPanel is an analytical platform focused on marketing and user experience.
Tech stack Uber
Another example is the VTC reservation platform Uber, whose tech stack also includes the Twilio and MixPanel tools, but also:
- Zendesk, a sales CRM and customer service software.
- PayPal, online payment platform.
- Optimizely, A/B testing software for professionals.
Some tech stacks are even more specific, due to the very nature of the final application. Netflix, for example, presents the following technical stack:
- Oracle, a database management language.
- Amazon SES (Single Email Service), an email service.
- Airship, an application experience platform dedicated to professionals.
- GitHub, a web hosting service.
Tech stack of social media platforms
On the social media side, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter provide very good examples of varied technical stacks.
LinkedIn, for example, uses the Oracle server-side programming language, Google Analytics, Adobe Experience Manager (a multi-channel web content management platform) as well as Okta (a user account management solution) and Unbounce ( a marketing conversion-oriented landing page builder).
For its part, Facebook has no technology in common with the technical stack of LinkedIn. Its development environment is composed of:
- BitBar, a testing application for mobile applications.
- Campaign Monitor, an email marketing platform.
- Confluence, a collaboration tool for remote work.
- Framer, a prototyping tool for website or mobile application.
- Stetho, an open source library developed by Facebook to debug access to the social network from native applications.
Finally, if it borrows from Facebook the use of Campaign Monitor, the rest of the technical stack of Twitter differs from those of the other main social networks. Its technical environment thus includes the following elements:
- Fastly, a content delivery network.
- HackerOne, a software bug tracking platform.
- UserTesting, a platform for testing websites and mobile applications.
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