Development

Fresh Productions

Meet Technology Stacker, a Tech-stack Planning Platform

January 19, 2018

Anna McCallon

By Anna McCallon

Meet Technology Stacker, a tech-stack planning platform created for designers and developers, sales and project managers, and business users. Technology Stacker creates a visual representation of the technologies that apps and websites are built on.

Users create and edit tech stacks, as well as view public stacks for other companies. We’ve been working on the tool for a while now, led by CEO Jeff Dance and Software Development Director of Fresh’s Asia/Pacific office, Will Lingard.

The benefits of tech stack planning

The idea for Technology Stacker came from an internal need for a streamlined tool to plan out the tech stacks we use for our clients’ projects.

When Fresh Consulting does app and website audits for our clients, we create and share a deck with the client that includes a visual assessment of their current tech architecture with recommendations for any improvements. It’s much easier to understand visual representations of tech stacks since it’s mostly all “under the hood.” A tech stack, exactly like it sounds, is a physical stack of technologies and frameworks layered on top of one another. Seeing it first hand can be helpful.

You might ask why spending time planning a tech stack matters. The reason? Paper is cheaper than code. In other words, reworking a blueprint is much more inexpensive than tearing down a house. Like creating a sketch of a design before a mockup, you should also be planning out your technology architecture early on, evaluating options and iterating or collaborating with your teams or clients.

Since creating Technology Stacker, we’ve exported and used the outputs in project deliverables and project lifecycles.

Putting time into tech planning and tech stack transparency at the outset of a project saves you time and cost later, when you:

  • Find the best technology option that integrates well with the rest of your stack
  • Discover new proven technology that is better than what you used previously
  • Discover flaws in your tech stack before development starts
  • Have a holistic plan that covers important categories often forgotten: security, continuous integration, browser testing, API documentation, etc
  • Ensure all teams are on the same page and have weighed in on the requirements and concerns as proposed technologies are evaluated
  • Make project kickoffs and onboarding more efficient for setup and understanding early on
  • Understand if new technology will be easy to integrate or not in the future
  • Get updates about your tech stack documented up front that could make your development work faster

building tech stacks

Who should review the tech stack?

Everyone might be impacted by choices made early on, so designers, developers, project and product managers, and business stakeholders can benefit from understanding the stack.

Think about the decisions that go into something as simple as planning an eCommerce website, which still has its own tech stack:

  • The marketing team will ask: will it be easy for me to update the content?
  • The sales team will ask: will our CRM work with this?
  • The project manager will ask: how much traffic can this handle?
  • The designer will ask: how easy will it be to build my interactions or custom design?
  • The business stakeholder will ask: how much will this cost and how long will it take?

Technology Stacker was built to make tech stack discussions more streamlined, collaborative, and considerate of different perspectives, so teams can understand and weigh in.

Why use an online tool for your tech stack?

There are a few reasons why an online technology architecture tool is a better choice than a static stack often presented in a spreadsheet, Word document, or PowerPoint.

First, a web-based tool is more accessible to a variety of users on the fly.  

Second, technology and tech stacks change often, so it serves as a point of living documentation, which is editable on the fly.

Third, our application offers not only options as you plan, but also knowledge and updates about the technology in your stack that could impact your development plans.  

Tech stack inspiration & collaboration

Another reason to use an online platform: you can research other companies’ publicly viewable stacks – such as AliExpress, Dropbox, and CNN – to get ideas for yours.

public tech stacks

Lastly, Technology Stacker allows you to build a stack in minutes and share it with your team to understand and collaborate. You can also export your tech stacks via Excel, Word, and PDF or quickly share a link to present to internal and external teams.

Tell us what you think!

Technology Stacker is a brand new app we’re releasing to the wild. Your user feedback will make it better! We’d love if you would take a look around http://www.technologystacker.com and try building your own stack, then tell us how we can improve it for you. Have an idea for a new feature? Found something frustrating? Let us know at connect@freshconsulting.com. 

Anna McCallon

Anna McCallon

Sales & Marketing Coordinator

Anna's tech tastes lean towards CRMs, Google products, and Android. She's also a big fan of DIY, books, and watching full seasons on Netflix.

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