In Plain English — What is a tech stack?

In the famous words of Hydric Media’s lead Android Developer, Kelvin Bulwinkle:

“A tech stack is literally just the technologies chosen by a company to build a product”.

A tech stack is a combination of both software products and programming languages used to develop a web or mobile application. Companies will usually compose their tech stack based on technologies they are fluent with and like to use. It’s important for a company to choose a set of technologies that are capable of developing both the user-side (front-end) and server-side (back-end) of their application.

Original image from SV/SG

A diagram of a tech stack compiled with Java Script, CSS and HTML.

Tech stacks give you the capabilities to create a centralized system that takes care of common tasks between the different features in your app. In plain English, it allows the different application activities to run on the same infrastructure so that they can communicate to the same database.

Some commonly known tech stacks that work well together include MEAN.IO, LAMP and MAMP.

Interested to see what companies like Spotify and Airbnb compile in their tech stacks? You can check them out on stackshare for yourself.

‘In Plain English’ is a series that, in 200 words or less, describes technical “jargon” in a non-technical way. The descriptions aim to provide ‘just enough’ detail to allow non-technical stakeholders to understand and contribute to, high-level technical discussions.