What Is a Software Stack?
The term “Software Stack” is frequently used by engineers to describe the different layers involved in software development. For example, an internet browser relies on a web server to display websites and the computer’s operating system to send and receive data.
Every layer of a software stack interacts with the layers above and below it. A common example is the process of accessing the internet. When using a web browser, data is sent over the Internet Protocol (IP) network, which is transported by the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). TCP sits on top of the internet layer of the internet protocol suite, which sits on top of the network access layer, which in turn sits on top of Ethernet.
In order for the function of browsing the internet through a web browser to work seamlessly, each layer of the software stack must function perfectly.
Difference Between a Software Stack and a Technology Stack
A software platform serves as the foundation for building applications. This platform can include hardware, operating systems, programming languages, libraries, and frameworks. On the other hand, a technology stack refers to the technologies used by an organization to create or support its products or services. Typically, a technology stack consists of three layers: hardware, operating system, and middleware.
In contrast, a software stack encompasses all the software components that support an application. This includes programming languages, coding frameworks, web servers, client interface tools, runtime environment, database tools, and more.
Some Examples of Software Stack
The LAMP stack is a widely used stack in web development. LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP/Perl/Python. This stack is utilized by over 25 percent of all Internet websites and is a popular choice among developers due to its open-source nature and cost-effectiveness.
MAMP is a software stack designed for macOS or Windows, enabling users to easily set up a web server. With the Apache Web Server, MySQL relational database management system, and PHP, users can run dynamic websites on their own computers. MAMP is an excellent solution for individuals who want to develop their own websites from scratch without the need to install software on a remote server or purchase server space.
MEAN is a development stack that utilizes MongoDB, Express, AngularJS, and Node.js. The acronym represents the four open-source technologies that form this full-stack software solution.
The choice of software stack depends on the specific needs and requirements of a project. Each software stack offers a unique set of advantages and disadvantages in the development process.