Wonder how much does it cost to develop a web application? And what’s the best tech stack to choose for your web project? People search the web for such answers and this topic is discussed all over the web greatly. Though the truth is that it really depends on many factors: features set, design vision, platforms, app administration, location and structure of the development team, etc.
One of the most important factors is the purpose of a web application. If it is meant to serve the startup’s goals, it is totally different from the decisions that an enterprise should make regarding web app development.
So in this article, we’ll put our focus on the tech side of the application development cost, which cloud services, languages, and frameworks to choose that will best serve either a startup or enterprise needs.
How to Select a Cloud Service
Hosting your own server is not a popular option anymore, especially when you need to scale your business fast. Nowadays cloud services are a preferred way of hosting your backend or web application.
There are various cloud platforms where backends can be hosted. And they can be divided into 2 types:
- Platforms focused on the number of features.
- Platforms focused on ease of use.
Platforms Focused on the Number of Features
These are AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.
Their benefits are:
- They are cheap. The costs of using them are low and scale with actual numbers like storage, traffic, etc.
- Anything you might need – can be found in those systems. They do everything to leave you in their ecosystem, and so Machine Learning, IoT, all variants of database hosting, etc. are available there.
Their drawbacks are:
- They are bloated with features, and so their interface is not intuitive.
- You’re responsible for your web app infrastructure setup. And so you also need to maintain it.
This means that you need to hire a DevOps to set up such a system, and to maintain it later.
Who benefits from such services?
The target audience of such services is:
- Enterprise – Netflix, Samsung, Unilever use AWS; Adobe, BMW, HP rely on Azure;
- Successful startups that have scaled – Paypal and Twitter use Google Cloud Platform.
Both of them benefit from the ability to optimize their server infrastructure and save costs at scale due to that.
Platforms Focused on the Ease of Use
These are Google Firebase, Heroku (owned by Salesforce), and Netlify.
Their benefits are:
- Simple and intuitive interface. They’re easy to set up and use.
- Most of the features are pre-set and working out of the box.
- They are responsible for the website uptime, not you. So, you don’t need a DevOps.
- There are free pricing plans that allow you to start with minimum investment.
Their drawbacks are:
- They’re free or cheap to start, but the price grows pretty fast as your project scales. More expensive than AWS, Azure, and GCP at scale.
- They’re not as flexible as AWS, Azure, and GCP. They may lack some features for non-trivial scenarios, or you may hit some limitations of those systems.
The target audience for such systems is:
- Startups. Such platforms allow them to start with fewer investments and a smaller team.
- Enterprise R&D projects. Same as for startups, it’s easier to start and test an idea, and no need to allocate DevOps for it.
How to Select the Right Language & Framework for a Web Application
However, that’s not always right. Different languages and frameworks also have their target audience and work best for a particular purpose. It’s best to select them based on the project industry, phase, and goals.
Java is the most widely used language in Enterprise. And this is not surprising since it’s been in the market for over 20 years. There are a lot of existing enterprise ecosystems written in Java, and those systems are still being developed and supported. Since Java has been there for such a long time – there are a lot of tools and libraries available.
C# & ASP.NET Core
C# has also been there for a lot of time, but until recently it was supported only on Windows. In 2016 .NET Core was released, and now C# has become available on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS.
ASP.NET Core ecosystem is younger than Java, but more promising, since:
- It runs faster than JVM (Java virtual machine)
- C# language is developing faster and has a lot of syntactic “sugar” loved by developers. It’s regularly named as the “most loved language by developers” at various events.
- It works really well with Microsoft Azure and feels like a part of its ecosystem (which is really convenient), although you can use it with any other cloud platform.
Same as with cloud platforms, there are solutions that put speed in the first place, and there are other solutions that perform better at scale.
Each Language/Platform Has Its Purpose
To conclude, there are no winners or losers. Each solution has its purpose:
- C# & ASP.NET Core is gaining popularity in Enterprise development and making a good competition to Java, due to its high performance, security, and capabilities in terms of project scalability and architecture.
- Java will still be there for some time yet in Enterprise development, since there are a lot of existing systems written in Java, and it’s still doing its job well.
So, How to Save Money on Your Web Project Development?
The key is to select the right technologies for your purpose.
If you’re a startup and you need to launch quicker, with fewer costs and a smaller team – go with Node.js full-stack development and publish your app on Firebase or Heroku.
If you’re developing a large enterprise system that needs to be secure and stable and going to be maintained and improved for years – my preferred option would be to use ASP.NET Core with Microsoft Azure (or another cloud provider). Why not Node.js? Developing such a system with Node.js would be fast initially. But when the project becomes large and complex – development would slow down a lot, and maintenance would become more expensive.
And if you already have a ready working system written in Java – no need to change the technology now. Java is still alive, maintained, and will be there for a decade probably.
We assume that now you have some idea of how to develop a web application cost-efficiently and what tech stack is the best match for your web project.
If you wish to get a more detailed estimation of your web application idea, it’s time to contact the web app development companies. Though make sure to choose the right technology partner whose values and vision align with yours.