The development of E-Commerce solutions has its own peculiarities and requires special frameworks and tools. Fortunately, there is a wide range of E-Commerce software development technologies and tools to choose from. Their choice depends on the particular business needs of a certain retailer. Businesses can use ready-made tools for building lightweight e-commerce sites or develop more complex solutions by referring to custom e-commerce development services.
In this article, we uncover the specifics of e-commerce development and explain which programming languages, frameworks, and tools to use for e-commerce projects.
What is an E-commerce Technology Stack?
Companies planning to develop an e-commerce solution usually run into a challenge: which technology stack to choose for it. What this stack should include and how to select the right one?
Basically, a technology stack is a suite of programming languages, frameworks, tools, platforms, and other ready-made solutions that are used to build the final product.
When selecting a tech stack the development team usually takes into account the two major components for the solution:
- Front-end or client-side – is the client-facing layer; front-end development languages and frameworks are utilized to create the layer that end users will see when approaching the solution;
- Back-end or server-side – is the layer that ensures application functionality; this usually involves diverse back-end languages, tools and frameworks interconnected with each other so that they can function smoothly and efficiently.
Why is an E-Commerce Tech Stack Important?
For any e-commerce solution a tech stack is the set of technologies that determines many properties of the developed solution as well as its success in the market. For example, a well-chosen tech stack shows:
- the developed product characteristics – scalability, performance speed, efficiency, security, maintainability, etc.;
- how the solution will store the data – locally or in cloud;
- how well the product can meet the business and project objectives;
- how the developed solution will function and its requirements to the devices it’ll run on;
- the complexity of the product – some tech stacks are aimed at lightweight solutions while others are composed for enterprise level apps;
- how easy for software developers to build the requested solution;
- which features can be included in the developed solution.
Top E-Commerce Programming Languages and Frameworks
Software developers implement various programming languages, frameworks, and a number of tech stacks for building E-Commerce sites. Let’s have a closer look at some that suit best for E-Commerce development.
Front-End Development ToolsFront-end development tools are used for building the components of an E-Commerce site a user can see in his browser and manipulate. Basically, everything that a user sees when he enters a site or an app is built with front-end tools.
- validate user data on the client-side, making them load faster and use less server traffic;
- make sites give immediate feedback to its users, eliminating the necessity to wait for a page reload;
- create dynamic interfaces that respond to the users’ activity on a site;
- add drag-and-drop components, sliders, carousels, and much more.
Node.js development has got many advantages for E-Commerce solutions, some of them are:
- Scalability. Node.js can easily scale apps in horizontal and vertical directions. It means that software developers can add more machines to the pool of website resources or increase the capacity of the existing hardware by adding CPU or RAM power in the machines as the project grows.
- Large Community. In case software developers have any questions on Node.js they can always refer to their colleagues or download ready-made solutions and codes from GitHub. All of these speeds up software development.
Angular is a front-end framework for building dynamic web, mobile, and desktop apps. It’s considered to be a robust and comprehensive solution developed and supported by Google. Many companies prefer Angular development services for building E-Commerce sites. Angular is so good because it uses:
- Two-way data binding. It helps to decrease the development time and eliminates the necessity to create additional code to establish View and Model synchronization.
- Directives. Directives help software developers to create dynamic and rich content with HTML extensions and DOM structure.
- Dependency injections. They make code components easier to manage, test, and reuse which, in turn, speeds up software development and minimizes the number of code errors.
- Large community. Angular has strong community support on various resources. Software engineers can find a wide number of training materials, helping tools, and solve any development issues within the community.
A great number of web developers use React.js as it is:
- Reusable components. React is great because it offers software developers to reuse already written code components. It significantly facilitates and speeds up software development and also makes the projects built in React look consistent.
- The virtual DOM. It helps to carefully consider the structure of the future web app or a website. The virtual DOM representation allows adding new features in DOM memory and after software developers can apply them to real DOM in the most effective way. This results in minimized update time and better app performance.
Back-end development tools are used to develop a server-side architecture that handles order management, shopping cart products, catalog products, SEO settings, and website page editing, payments, user registration, and much more.
Here is the list of the most popular web back-end development tools.
PHP is a back-end software development language widely used for web app solutions. It’s an open-source and general-purpose scripting language. PHP development is great for E-Commerce for many reasons, it’s:
- cost-efficient due to being open-source, meaning that it’s free. Moreover, PHP is very popular, therefore, PHP development services won’t cost much either.
- compatible. PHP can run on most popular platforms, such as macOS, Linux, Microsoft, and even UNIX. Above all, it integrates with a wide range of databases, including MongoDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and many others.
- scalable. PHP offers a number of tools for the development of effective E-Commerce site architecture. Software developers can use diverse functions and cloud computing infrastructure for PHP scalability.
- range of frameworks. PHP has many frameworks that speed up software development, make it more consistent, and less buggy. The most known PHP frameworks are Zend, Laravel, Symphony, CakePHP, Codeigniter, and many others.
C# is a general-purpose programming language that is used for the development of versatile software solutions, including E-Commerce apps. This language was developed by Microsoft for the .NET framework.
C# has got many features that help software developers build powerful, secure, and effective apps. It has a simplified syntax, can work with other programming languages on the .NET platform, helps to handle code errors, and other useful functions.
For building web-apps, C# has got a separate web framework called ASP.NET. There were many sites built with the ASP.NET framework, including Microsoft, Dell, WildTangent, TacoBell, and others.
Java is an object-oriented general-purpose programming language. Many developers prefer using Java for its ability to run on almost any platform. Besides that, it has fundamental concepts that determine consistent Java application development, it’s robust and secure, and ensures high performance of its apps.
Java has a number of frameworks for various development purposes. However, the most popular is Spring. With Spring software developers can create robust and complex E-Commerce sites.
Spring is a Java framework that allows developing secure and effective software apps safely, easily, and fast. Spring represents many kinds of frameworks gathered under the Spring umbrella.
For building E-Commerce sites, it has a special Spring WEB framework that includes a well-designed MVC web development pattern. Also, Spring offers many out-of-the-box solutions that make it a flexible, productive, fast, and supportive framework for E-Commerce development. With the Spring, framework software developers can build any app with any degree of complexity.
Groovy on Grails
Groovy is an object-oriented language used to strengthen Java. It makes Java flexible and can enhance apps with special features whether these apps are made from scratch or already developed ones. Groovy can be used for web application development. It helps to build apps that run on Java Virtual Machine (JVM).
Grails is a framework that runs on Groovy and facilitates web development. Unlike most frameworks, it has a completely different development approach.
It doesn’t use XML configurations which saves up time that is usually spent on configuring core features in frameworks. And it excludes the addition of dependencies. The Grails prepares its applications by itself. As well as Groovy, Grails also runs on JVM, therefore, it integrates with Java libraries and frameworks.
Python is an interpreted, object-oriented programming language with simple, and fast-to-learn syntax. It supports code modularity and allows reusing it multiple times along the development process. All of these puts Python among the most appreciated and frequently studied programming languages.
Python works great for E-Commerce web development. Many software developers use Python together with its Django framework for building E-Commerce solutions. Here is a number of reasons why:
- fast. Django and Python provide software developers with a number of tools that significantly accelerate the development process;
- secure. Django’s security features allow preventing SQL injections, XSS, CSRF, host head validation, and other hacker attacks;
- scalable. The program code written with Django and Python is easy to scale
- a large number of adds-on. Django framework is compatible with a great number of libraries and adds-on that can significantly enlarge apps’ functionalities and speed up the development process;
- simple. Python and its Django framework are simple to learn and use. Therefore, many developers start their careers with Python. As a result, there is a big Python community and developers can find many ready-made solutions in Python online.
Main Factors in Choosing E-Commerce Technology
Selecting a winning tech stack for an E-commerce solution can be quite challenging as there are too many options to choose from. Moreover, these options can make an ideal match for one project and be completely unsuitable for the other.
Business owners who decided to develop their own E-Commerce sites can easily get lost in the extensive range of programming languages, frameworks, and tools offered in the market. To alleviate the process, we’ve compiled a list of points to consider when forming an E-Commerce development tech-stack.
#1 Start with the existing tech-stack
If you consider developing an E-Commerce solution for the first time and don’t know which technologies and tools to choose, start with the most popular ones. The most robust, secure, and stable solutions have already been invented, so there’s no need to form your tech-stack from scratch. For example, these could be the following tech stacks:
- LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP. This is one of the fastest tech stacks for web development. However, they aren’t much scalable and can perform slower with the growth of your E-Commerce project. This is a great solution for a quick start, though might be not the best one for the perspective.
- MEAN is Mongo DB, Express, Angular, and Node.js. This tech-stack is a perfect blend for E-Commerce development, mostly used for building online stores.
- Python & Django is another tech-stack widely used for E-Commerce development. Above all, it provides strong security for the back-end. Software developers usually use Apache as a web server and MySQL or PostgreSQL for database management together with this stack.
#2 Define your project specifics
Each project has its own requirements, demands, and resources. Therefore, check if there are any specific features required – some companies might require to embed the features that are specific for their business niche, e.g. automated invoices for supply chain partners, special offer notifications, a mobile version of the E-Commerce solution etc.
#3 Consider project length
Time to market is a crucial factor in E-Commerce. The faster you get to market, the more customers you can attract and the more successful your project will become. Therefore, it’s essential to decide on development milestones and deadlines, whether you need to release an MVP, if it’s worth starting with the LAMP tech stack, how many developers you want to include in your project.
In E-Commerce, scalability is the second most important factor. You need to think from the perspective of how your project is going to develop. It’ll determine the tech stack and resources needed to support the project in the future. With some frameworks it’s easier to do than with the others. Scalability is the main factor for the businesses that are aiming at further expansion in the market and increasing their customer bases.
#5 IT talents available in the market
Talents define product quality and project expenditures. The more widespread the technology is, the easier it’s to develop and find specialists. However, sometimes there aren’t enough talents for specific needs in your area or the costs are too high.
There is always a solution – searching beyond the borders of the available market, for example, switching to outsourcing software development. It’ll allow you to reach a wider pool of talents with extensive expertise. Moreover, outsourcing software development is often a cheaper solution than building your E-Commerce solution internally.
Before initiating the development of an E-Commerce site, it’s vital for the project stakeholders to decide which programming languages and frameworks to include in the software development tech-stack. The tech-stack determines the functionality of the created E-Commerce solution and also its further development strategy. Therefore, companies should form their tech-stacks carefully.
If you decided that you want to develop your E-Commerce site, though you have doubts about how to choose the right tech-stack, then it’s better to refer to a team of software development experts. They can help you to compile the best tech-stack for building an E-Commerce solution that will be able to meet the current demands of your business and will also work for the perspective.