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From the idea to the MVP: The technological Stack

Par Anis BENZIANE Publié le 03/08/2019 à 22:43:54 Noter cet article:
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Summary

This series of articles demystifies marketing myths and jargon for software product design and MVPs.

Here is the summary:

Introduction

After the product design and MVP specifications, our next step is the design and architecture of the technological Stack.

This is the technical part of a digital product. Even if technical, it is complementary to the business plan and is an important factor in the success or failure of a digital product.

Let's start by defining the term Technological Stack. You will often hear this word used as a shortcut by technicians. It represents the different technologies used in the development of any digital product.

What a technological Stack is

In our context, "Stack" is a buzzword that generally means the architecture of software.

In order to understand where this word comes from, let's look at how digital products have been developed in the past. The "Digital Product" is also a buzzword that means "software".

I will use the following definition of Bret Victor : Software is software that operates in a machine and interacts with humans through a human-machine interface: such as a mouse, keyboard, monitor or touch screen.

Machines do not understand human language, they only process bits of 0 or 1.

The programmers who developed the software needed to somehow translate the human requests and interactions into 0 and 1 so that the machine could process them.

Since speaking in a language of 0 and 1 is very painful, software developers have simplified it by using an abstraction layer. They use a language closer to humans when they speak to machines. This layer of abstraction and translation is a layer in the Stack layers.

And that's where the term Stack comes from today.

Why ?

On the principle that we are developing something useful, everything that involves software operations should be reused to build even more interesting things. In the same way as cooking, as soon as you know how to prepare a sauce, you use it to cook more elaborate recipes.

When a set of features solving the same problem is grouped together, it creates a layer of software, which can be used to build more complex software. These software layers are stacked to form the technological stack of your digital product.

Software architecture is the activity of searching and choosing the right layers of software to build software.

When you're looking for a “Full Stack Developer” you mean a developer who can work on each layer of the stack.

In the initial phase of product design, all digital products need the software architecture. I will try to summarize the different layers involved in the software stack of an MVP these days.

How the stack works

These parts are managed by the following layers:

  • Data through the database

  • Data processing is managed by Back-End or Server programs

  • Communication with other software programs is done by the Services and APIs

  • The back-end stack is located on an Infrastructure Server or the “Cloud”.

  • The Front-End presents a User Interface to the people who use the product

The work of the software architect, the one who has the CTO position in the company, is to search, choose and put together the right technologies for each layer of the Stack.

At each layer, the software architect must evaluate the situation and make decisions according to the following criteria:

  • The relevance of the technology to quickly solve the problem.

  • What are the prices and how do they align with the business plan?

  • What is the size of the company and the cost of support?

  • How easy is it to hire experienced developers

  • How easy it is to maintain and update.

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