Top Technology Stacks for Enterprise Software Development

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When designing enterprise software, prioritize business goals and long-term viability by choosing these business-oriented stack options.

Enterprise software has its own special set of priorities. The architecture needs to be scalable but cost-effective, secure yet user-friendly, and above all should deliver the kind of high-quality user experience that gets results.

Trying to balance business pressures with technical realities can be a challenge for even experienced developers.

What gives those experienced developers the edge is knowing the best tools for the job.

Every technology has distinct advantages and limitations; using ones whose strengths play into those enterprise priorities leads to superior software.

Here are some of the best back- and front-end technologies around for building powerful enterprise software.

Back-End Technologies

NodeJS

NodeJS is at the top of a lot of technology lists for good reason. It lets developers build with JavaScript from front to back.

Having a single language across the stack breaks down communication barriers among the team and makes for more easily maintainable software.

Built on Chrome’s v8 engine, Node features non-blocking IO.

It can handle multiple requests simultaneously, meaning apps scale better, run faster, and take up less system RAM.

The Node Package Manager (NPM) is one of Node’s biggest draws. It houses an expansive repository of packages created and tested by other developers, that’s growing every day.

Incorporating reusable JavaScript like this shortens development timelines and lets teams focus on innovating instead of reinventing the wheel at every turn.

.NET

The continued value offered by Microsoft’s .NET is a compelling argument for using mature technology over tools which are “cooler” but less tested.

This open source cross-platform development platform is used to build, deploy, and run modern Windows applications across devices and environments.

Technically, .NET has a lot to offer. It’s easy to write and maintain, which both contribute to lower development costs.

Developers have plenty of tools for building in security from the start. Plus, .NET lends itself well to horizontal scaling.

That combination of value and enterprise features is what’s kept .NET popular even as newer tools are released.

PHP

Despite being developed back in 1994, PHP is still the most common language for server-side development. About 79% of all websites use at least some PHP.

PHP’s popularity is due in part to budget concerns. It’s open source, and all features and updates are free to use.

Since it was designed specifically for the web, developers need less time to create websites with dynamic features.

Open source tools and shorter development cycles translate into a smaller upfront investment.

The other half of PHP’s appeal is ease of use. One of its core strengths is powering database-enabled websites with intuitive content management systems (CMS) that can be managed by non-technical employees.

Employees are able to update and query their own system without having to do more than a short tutorial.

Python

As of 2018 Python is the fastest-growing programming language out there. It emphasizes clarity, simplicity, and versatility, putting developers in the best position for high productivity.

The fast edit-test-debug cycle makes it useful for Rapid Application Development, too.

What’s really fueling enterprise growth is Python’s data science applications. Companies that want to stay competitive need to make the most of their data.

As a flexible, high level programming language, Python can create the machine learning tools and analytics software to help turn that data into actionable business insight.

Front End Technologies

ReactNative

In a mobile market where companies have to balance development speed, platform coverage, and budget, it’s easy to see why ReactNative is gaining ground.

It takes an innovative approach to cross-platform development by using native user interface (UI) building blocks and assembling them with React’s special brand of JavaScript.

Apps look and feel like native apps because they render like native apps.

Besides providing near-native performance, ReactNative has the same economical appeal as hybrid apps.

Developers can build one app, then tailor it to cover multiple devices with only minor changes.

Maintaining that single code base is both easier and less expensive than juggling a collection of separate native apps.

AngularJS

Angular, part of the enterprise-oriented MEAN stack, is a flexible tool for building organized mobile and web apps.

It focuses on simplicity as well as ease of testing and construction.

The newer versions come with a variety of “starter seeds” for different purposes, and there are in general a lot of ways to do the same thing.

That gives developers the flexibility to design exactly what they need. Privacy-conscious customers also like that Angular is optimized for security.

Angular is suited to CRUD client-side apps, though Single Page Apps (SPAs) are the most popular applications right now (especially those that require a lot of data retrieval).

Plus, as a Google property it’s a solid choice for projects which rely heavily on other Google technologies.

Vue.js

This JavaScript library has a narrow focus with broad impact. As its name suggests, Vue handles only the view layer of the user interface.

It’s lightweight, easy to learn and use, and integrates well with other JavaScript applications.

Vue can be used to add interactive elements to an existing project or expand a page’s functionality instead of building a whole new SPA.

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are a common Vue application.

Although it isn’t a complete framework like React or Angular, it shares benefits like faster development and lower costs.

In addition, Vue’s small size and lazy loading of components gives it an edge in speed.

It’s a perfect example of a tool that does a few things well rather than dividing its focus across a huge feature set.

Building a Business-focused Stack

While these are all enterprise-friendly stack options, keep in mind that there’s no magic technology that fits every business plan.

Each project has unique priorities.

Sometimes performance is the overriding concern. Sometimes it’s more important to cover as many platforms as possible in the least amount of time.

Be sure to choose stack technology that supports the client’s business goals. It may take more consideration up front, but it’s the best way to avoid the hassle of being stuck with an ill-fitting stack.

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What Is the Best Front-End/Back-End Combo for an Enterprise App?

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Originally published Feb. 20, 2017, updated Aug. 15, 2018.

Choosing the best front-end and back-end combination is probably the most complicated part of building an enterprise app.

There are so many exciting languages, frameworks and databases to consider, and no single combo works in every situation. It’s easy for options paralysis to set in.

To navigate through the maze of choices, let’s take a closer look at the popular databases and front-end framework solutions in enterprise computing today.

Databases

Oracle

The longtime king of the hill in enterprise databases is Oracle.

For large government agencies, international corporations and high-value data centers, Oracle’s reliability is hard to beat.

IBM DB2

IBM’s DB2 is one of the highest quality, most cost-effective RDBMS platforms on the market.

It’s easy to install and supported on Unix, Linux, and Windows.

DB2 is ideal for companies running high-volume, high transaction workloads.

It’s most popular in industries like insurance.

Microsoft SQL Server

This versatile database platform offers enterprise companies complete data management and powerful business intelligence (BI) capability.

SAP Sybase ASE

This stable, cost-effective, high-performance, low-risk database has seen better days.

Under its previous name Sybase, it was part of the database power trio: Sybase, Oracle and IBM. It lost market share and was eventually sold to SAP.

The database still sees wide usage in industries like banking, but its star is falling.

Newer databases continue to edge it further into obscurity.

Teradata

For enterprise organizations with huge data warehouses, Teradata database fits the bill.

This self-described Very Large Database System (VLDB) was the first database focused on handling terabytes of data.

It features intelligent optimization which responds rapidly to requests.

Popular users include telecom companies and large retailers who handle enormous amounts of transactions every day.

EnterpriseDB

Based on the open-source PostgreSQL database, EnterpriseDB (EDB) adds performance and security features suited for enterprise-level workloads.

Front-End Frameworks

The field of top-quality front-end frameworks is constantly evolving.

JavaScript solutions like Angular and Ember have grown into an important element in many enterprise stacks.

Bootstrap

Since its release in 2011 Bootstrap has become the most widely-used open source framework in the world.

It’s a popular tool for HTML, CSS and JS development.

Bootstrap scales easily on websites and apps off a single code base across desktops and mobile devices.

Its documentation is incredibly thorough, though the variety of styles included makes the file size a little large.

Foundation

This enterprise level front-end platform used by eBay and Facebook is useful for creating highly responsive sites.

Foundation is a collection of frameworks for the front-end that creates attractive, fast sites, email messages and mobile apps.

The tradeoff is that it’s too complex for beginner; it takes a skilled developer to build with Foundation.

Angular.js

Angular has rapidly become one of the most popular JavaScript frameworks for enterprise computing.

It emphasizes simplicity, testability, and ease of construction, letting developers get more functionality from less code.

The framework is rigorously maintained by Google. Two versions are planned for 2018.

Version 6, which was released in early 2018, adds more tools for cross-compatibility going forward, and Version 7 is already in beta for a Fall 2018 release.

React.js

Like Angular, React has grown in popularity over the last couple of years, offering a series of new releases and development tools and enjoying increasing adoption for new projects.

Unlike Angular it’s not a fully-fleshed front-end. Instead, it’s a simplified way to create dynamic view layers for apps.

React got a serious boost in popularity from Facebook’s release of React Native for creating mobile apps.

Ember.js

Ember offers easy migration between versions and rock-solid stability.

It’s been trending downwards in popularity lately, but not because of quality.

Instead, the problem seems to be that Ember is highly structured and standardized, and most newer developers like JavaScript for flexibility and freedom of style.

Ember is useful for building highly scalable Single Page web apps.

Backbone.js

Backbone provides structure to enterprise front-ends, with features like key-value binding, collections with a robust API and views complete with declarative event handling.

Some developers regard Backbone as too light for modern apps, but it still has a loyal base of users.

Conclusion

These are just a few of the many dynamic tools available for building modern apps.

Choosing between them- that’s better done on a case-by-case basis.

There are some helpful guidelines when weighing the options.

For example, a solid MVC framework like Angular or Backbone is a reasonable choice.

Also, worth considering is that while the database and front-end are the core of enterprise installation, more tools are needed to optimize the system.

These could include components like API middleware, jQuery, underscore templates, and custom fonts.

The best way to create the perfect front-end and back-end combination is to outline the specific project at hands requirements and assemble the stack that fits those.

Looking for direction on your next enterprise app? Sit down with one of Concepta’s experienced developers for a free consultation on what’s best for your business.  

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What Back-End Technologies Are Used to Set Up a Mobile App?

back-end technologies for mobile app

If you are developing a mobile app, you may be trying to figure out which back-end technologies to use. The good news is there are plenty of choices that work, but you must be aware of the trade-offs for each.

Consider what elements are most important to you: lots of bandwidth, low latency, regular frequency updates, static or dynamic data, concurrent sharing or other features.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the popular options you can choose from.

Cloud Platforms

Cloud platforms like platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) are increasingly popular. Examples of PaaS include Parse and Google App Engine.

Cloud platforms allow you to get started quickly because you can utilize their free tier to begin operations and then tap into the pay-as-you-go option as you grow.

With this approach, you don’t have to be concerned about setting up a server, performing upgrades, shutting down the server when needed and other time-consuming tasks.

Infrastructure as a service options include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Compute Engine, Microsoft’s Azure and others.

In this case, you are provided with a Linux server for adding whatever you want: Apache, Ruby on Rails, Java, Node.js and databases. The trade-off is that you must handle everything yourself — if your product scales quickly, you will be responsible for adding more servers, each with similar maintenance and security needs.

Languages

You can select from a wide variety of languages, including Ruby, PHP, Python and Java.

PHP was developed to be a server language, while Python and Ruby are scripting languages. Which one you choose depends on your proficiency with the basics of the language and how it performs as a server back-end.

Ruby and Python are relatively easy to learn and have a significant number of valuable open-source libraries.

PHP is still very popular and powers much of the web, although some industry observers feel it is losing ground every year. On the other hand, the Laravel framework for PHP is growing.

It will also benefit you to learn CSS and HTML, but you will naturally pick up much of that knowledge in the process.

For each language, there is a server framework that will make it easier for you to build the server. Python has a number of frameworks, including Bottle, Django, Tornado and Flask. Ruby has Sinatra and Ruby on Rails.

Also consider Node.js, a JavaScript runtime that will allow you to add JavaScript to the server.

Look into a framework called Express for working with Node.js.

If you go with JavaScript, consider using Mongoose for accessing MongoDB, and look at Feathers, an API layer and open-source REST.

Database Servers

Database servers are software programs that allow computers to access databases. Examples include Informix, DB2, Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle.

The servers locate, change and save information that can be handled using back-end languages.

Smaller operations will typically use a database server that also performs the function of hosting applications.

In enterprise companies, the database server and application server usually have their own dedicated machines.

Application Servers

Application servers handle transaction-based applications. They take care of all computing between end-users and back-end business apps.

Apache Tomcat, Internet Information Services (IIS) and IBM WebSphere are examples of popular application servers.

Selecting the proper back-end technology for your situation requires you to understand your options for languages, servers and frameworks.

In the end, your choice will depend on your technical resources, the skills of your team and their specialized knowledge. Whether they are more proficient in Ruby, Python, PHP or another option will play a large part in the path you choose.

Beyond programming language, however, you must have a clear vision of what business goals you are trying to achieve.

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