App stacks are only the latest trend in the constantly evolving tech industry. They’re turning Android and iOS devices into a business owner’s most loyal sidekick.
But before you hire a mobile app development team and ditch your current software suite, learn a little more about this mysterious “app stack.”
What is app stack, anyway?
Here’s everything you need to know about the app stack app, from its features and types to its benefits and drawbacks!
What Is App Stack?
An app stack is a collection of apps that work together to streamline workflows, better manage tasks, and ramp up productivity.
Unlike other types of mobile stacks, app stacks sit on the enterprise level and infuse end-user applications.
An app stack for a small business could feature:
- A browser
- An instant messaging tool
- An office suite
- A workflow organizer
- A time tracker
Picture being able to switch from one office tool to the next in one fell swoop. With an app stack on your device, that’s 100% possible (and the norm).
The Components of an App Stack
App stacks generally have four components, describing everything from the app’s foundation to how user’s experience the stack on their devices.
These four components are:
- Frontend: The part of the app that users interact with
- Backend: The area between input, server processing, and output
- Development: The design facets that include libraries and interfaces
- Additional (or Supporting): Extra elements that guarantee a smooth-running stack, including flexibility and security
App stacks require all four of these elements to work as a bug-free, user-friendly package.
App Stack vs. Software Stack
App stacks sound complicated if you’re not a techie. Many novices confuse app stacks with the similarly named software (or solution) stacks.
The key differences between the two lie in their deeper inner-workings.
A software stack is a suite of digital tools or programs that sit on the infrastructure level and aid in application development.
With that in mind, a software stack might feature:
- An operating system (OS)
- Firmware (BIOS)
- SaaS vendors
- Programming language
The end-user rarely interacts with any of these layers directly. Rather, all components combine forces to create one functional, user-friendly app.
The app simply runs on this foundation or platform.
What Is the App Stack App?
If you own an Android device, notably a Samsung smartphone, you may discover an app called App Stack (“AppStack”) pre-installed on your phone.
This business-savvy app essentially offers an a la carte app stack to meet the unique needs of businesses.
At a discounted rate, you can bundle apps like:
Your completely custom bundle can save you 35% on exclusive subscriptions, help you qualify for free trials, and consolidate your apps in one marketplace.
It puts a non-techie spin on the sometimes complex app stack!
Types of App Stack
App stacks, sometimes dubbed technology (or tech) stacks, aren’t exactly one-size-fits-all. They generally fall into three sub-categories:
Native App Stacks
Native apps come built-in with your Android or iOS device and don’t need an API (third-party) to function. They’re generally high-security options.
Unfortunately, choosing a native app stack means you confine users to one operating system (i.e., Android or iOS).
Hybrid App Stacks
Hybrid apps launch quickly and are more affordable.
They’re also limited in their scalability and tend to be more expensive to maintain.
Cross-Platform App Stacks
Cross-platform apps are compatible with various operating systems and don’t require a unique code for Android, iOS, or the web. With such a broad spectrum of compatible operating systems, these stacks are more versatile.
However, cross-platform app stacks have their pitfalls, too. They often have trouble integrating, poor latency, and fail to integrate seamlessly.
None of these three types earn that top spot.
Because, again, it depends on:
- What you need in an app stack
- Which resources you have on-hand (e.g., a mobile development team, a ballooning budget, operating systems)
App Stack Features & Uses
Now that you know not all app stacks fit in a neat, ribboned box, it’s time to talk about what an app stack does from a developer or business owner’s perspective.
The hottest app stack features include:
- The freedom to switch from one app to another with relatively minimal effort in between
- Customizing your app stack to meet your business’s needs, all while remaining compatible with your devices
- Full function of all apps within the stack (i.e., one app’s features won’t interfere with another’s)
- Integrating accounts, data, and details between the apps in the stack for smoother, less interrupted workflows
- Advanced data storage and a permanent log-in feature
- The luxury of removing unneeded apps when they lose their practicality (last one in, first one out — LIFO)
- Keeping your favorite and most useful apps in one location
- Absorbing and recording all user data between apps (with users able to find their own data)
- Search capabilities to find a specific tool or app
App stacks aren’t just customizable in the design process. If you decide you now need a digital office suite or no longer crave an in-built time tracker, you can install and remove apps at your leisure.
App Stacks: What to Look For
No matter what you imagine your future app stack to look like, no two combinations will fill that digital gap flawlessly. What your business venture or client needs could fail miserably in another industry!
To select the best mobile app tech stack, don’t overlook:
Whenever you install an app on your device, there’s an underlying concern about security vulnerabilities. Dedicated hackers will wiggle their way into even the most secure stacks.
There are generally two ways to avoid this:
- Select a development team with expertise in app security
- Prioritize apps with lengthy documentation and unwavering reputations
Not budgeting for a secure app stack could leave company data like customer financial records in the hands of thieves.
Why You Need the App
All app stacks strive to complete one central goal, which should always be top of mind during the mobile development phase. Then, build your ideal stack around your goal.
For example, how important is latency?
You also need to factor in your network and device compatibility, how long until you launch your app in the marketplace, and user experience. If you want to reach users across all devices, cross-platform stacks are the best option.
Read Also – Ultimate Tips to Secure Your PHP Web Application
When choosing an app stack, don’t forget to think about the future.
If you need to scale, onboard more users or apps, or accept more traffic, will the stack still thrive?
The Company Behind It
As a developer, you have the freedom to add whichever apps and features you want to your stack. But parent companies like Apple or Google tend to be more reliable and offer better customer service than lesser-known names.
An app stack is only helpful if employees or users can use it. Don’t forget to weigh how your chosen stack will interact with the company’s technological devices. An iOS-only stack is useless on Android devices or web browsers.
Benefits of App Stack
If you’re still wondering why a tech app stack is a good choice for your company, think about the following benefits they bring:
- If you want to add or remove apps a week or month from now, you can.
- Switching between apps is swift and bug-free.
- You can search the stack via Depth First Search (DFS).
- The IP routing prevents network errors.
- It’s easy to manage algorithms, suffixes, and prefixes.
- There’s immediate access to the most-used apps.
- Most app stacks are cross-platform.
- You can access information directly in the app.
- Memory and language are easy to adapt.
- It improves smartphone and device efficiency.
- Real-time demonstrations are possible.
- You can see all the apps on the home screen.
- Productivity is in full swing.
These reasons alone are more than enough to convince you that a well-chosen app stack can clearly benefit your company or client!
Drawbacks of App Stack
While app stacks are incredible tech tools for businesses and mobile developers alike — they’re not foolproof.
- They tend to be expensive to create or personalize.
- It requires a team of skilled mobile developers.
- Some stacks aren’t compatible with iOS, Android, or web browsers.
- Not all stacks offer high-end user experience or flawless performance.
- Time to market can take a while.
Once you consider these factors, you may want to reconsider taking the plunge into the app stack world.
Whether you’re a business owner, app developer or simply curious about creating and installing app stacks, no two stacks are the same.
Some work best on Android devices or with confidential information. Others are more affordable and simply do the basics.
Regardless, learning more about app stacks and how to customize one to your liking is crucial. Hopefully, this guide revealed the key features, uses, types, pros, and cons to help you get those creative juices flowing!
Caitlin Sinclair is the Property Manager at 7th West at Midtown with five years of property management experience and many more in Customer Service. She shares her passion for her community and looks forward to making 7th West at Midtown the place to call home.
I am a passionate blogger and developer sharing business tips. I Help others solve programming problems on various online forums.
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