Social App Development: Choosing the Best Tech Stack

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November 28, 2022

We have a question for you; what apps on your phone do you use the most? We’re willing to bet that a lot of them are social media platforms.

Social media apps have become a massive part of our everyday lives. It’s not just mainstream social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. More niche social media applications like TikTok, Discord, Twitch, and others have also become more popular. New social media platforms are constantly being developed and accessible to the public, and some of them reach mainstream success like Clubhouse.

The easy accessibility of these apps has given anyone with a phone the power to create content. People spend an average of two hours and 27 minutes a day on social media, taking and sharing photos, connecting with friends, scrolling through their news feed, and even offering and purchasing goods and services.

According to a recent study, there will be nearly 3.6 billion monthly social media users this year, which is more than 8 in 10 internet users. This might be enough reason to for you to consider building a social media application of your own. However, the planning and development process can be overwhelming since there are a lot of things to consider when building your own social media mobile app.

We’ve compiled a rundown of the most common types of social media apps, trending technologies to be integrated, and the tech stack for social app development.

Types of Social Networking Apps

The following are the most common types of social media apps:

  • Social networking apps: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
  • Media sharing networks: like YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat
  • Bookmarking and content curation apps: like Pinterest
  • Discussion forums: Reddit, Quora
  • Consumer Review platforms: Zomato
  • Blogging and publishing platforms: like Medium
  • Chatting Apps: Whatsapp, Discord, WeChat

Essential Features and Technologies of a Social Media App

After you decide what type of social media application you want to make, next comes the process of defining your app’s defining features, use cases, customer journey flow, and aesthetic.

Intuitive User Interface

The UI should make it easy for the users to navigate through the application. That means creating an appealing and interactive visual design aligned with the app’s functionality.

Easy Search Functionality

Users should be able to search for anything through the app easily by usernames, tags, and location.

Visually Appealing Design

Poor design can lead to the failure of the whole social media platform. Users do not prefer apps that throw too much at them and give them sensory overload. A consistent and accessible design with thoughtfully chosen color schemes, fonts, and visuals is the key to an interactive and appealing application.

Secure Registration and Login

The registration and login process should be kept fairly simple considering the short attention span of most internet users. Your app’s users will probably share their personal information to sign up or log in to your app, which must be kept secure to prevent malware attacks.

Chatting and Calling Functionality

A chat and call feature for seamless in-app communication with other users is a must-have in social media applications.

Real-Time Notifications

Users want to be updated every time one of their connection posts, or their favorite brand announces a sale. Moreover, they need to be encouraged to return to the application. This can be achieved through push notifications, messages, and emails. Make sure to integrate the notifications feature into your platform.

Message Status

It’s a common but still useful feature to know if a message has been delivered to and read by the other person. Users should also be able to hide their message status if they like.

Payment System

To handle payments for products and services being offered through a social media platform, payment gateways like Paypal or Stripe have to be integrated within the application.

Integrated Data Sources

You can add additional data sources, like Google Maps or places by integrating Google Maps or Google Places APIs within your application. This will let your mobile app users send their current location, look up local businesses, and provide GPS directions.

Integrated Social Networks

APIs for other social networking platforms like Facebook can be added to the app to help people register for your app more easily. This way, they don’t have to put the same information over and over again to log in, like their name, email address, phone number, etc. Everything they need to log in can be pulled from the existing social networks they’re already a part of. You can also add social media sharing buttons to let the users share content with others, giving more exposure to your platform.

Trending Technologies to Be Integrated into a Social Media App

Social media is constantly changing. Features that were niche, platform-specific trends just a couple of years ago are industry standards today. Here are some of the trending technologies that are gaining traction in social media you can consider building into your app to stay ahead of the curve.

Voice Interfaces

Voice interfaces allow users to give voice commands to their devices, enabling them to send messages through voice commands when they’re on the go. Voice interfaces can be created by integrating AI-powered personal assistants such as Siri and Alexa within your platform. Voice interfaces enable two main functions: voice typing and voice notifications.

Online Reviews

Online reviews and recommendations are a great way to drive purchases and build trust with your mobile app users. It allows people to add products to their wishlist, comment, and leave recommendations for local businesses on the platform, which serves as rock-solid social proof.

Location-Based Services

A geolocation feature is a big plus to add to your social networking platform. Geolocation allows users to attach geotags to their photos and videos which is much more convenient and faster than manually entering their location with each picture. Users can create, exchange, and discuss location-based content as well as connect with other users in the same location.

Live Video Streaming

Live video streaming is a trending feature being integrated with social media platforms. We’ve seen Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube jump on the bandwagon too, letting users create live streams (like Facebook Live and Instagram Live).

Technology Stack for Social Media App Development

A technology stack (also known as a tech stack or solutions stack) is a combination of technologies a company uses to develop and run a single application. Putting this simply, a tech stack is a combination of software, programming languages, frameworks, and database stacked together to build and run an application.

Here are the most commonly used development tools for social media app development.

Front-End Development

Front-end development is building a graphical user interface of a website – the part of your website your users can see and interact with. Front-end development is about coding and creating visual elements that the user can click on, and making sure that they are functional. This is called the client side of an app.

Ionic, React, and Redux are the most popular options for front-end development. The most commonly used open-source frameworks are AngularJS and ReactJS, developed by Google and Facebook respectively.

Here are some of the most widely-used frameworks for front-end mobile development.

It is a vast TypeScript-based open-source web app structure operated by Google’s Angular team and a network of people and companies.

It is a free and open-source back-end web app structure for the Node.js framework delivered under the MIT license. It is deployed to build web apps and APIs.

Created by Microsoft, ASP.NET is an open-source, server-side web app structure to be deployed by web developers to create dynamic site pages and apps.

Backend Development

Back-end development is about building code that makes communication between a database and an application possible. Back-end developers are responsible for maintaining the back end of a website, including databases, servers, and apps – the parts of a website hidden from users.

Back-end development deals with working on server-side software, focusing on elements that one cannot see on a website.

Node.js is a game-changing technology that’s used to create dynamic, data-centric applications. It’s great for creating social media apps with chats, likes, and comments. It’s also excellent at data processing. When you pair it with Ember.js, you can make your application scalable. Microservice application strategies must be followed to make your application scalable. While creating a microservice for a social networking app, It’s easier to scale because it will only affect that one isolated part of the website when something goes wrong.

These are some of the most popular backend web development frameworks.

Django is a free and open-source, Python-based web framework that facilitates rapid development of secure and viable websites. It follows the model-template-views architectural, ensuring a fast turn of events.

Laravel is a free, open-source PHP web framework, that eases common tasks of a majority of the web projects, like authentication, session, and routing, ensuring a smooth development process. It was made by Taylor Otwell for the building web applications following the model-view-controller architectural pattern and based on Symfony.

CakePHP is a free open-source web framework that follows the model-view-controller approach and is written in PHP. It is a structure modeled after the ideas of Ruby on Rails and helps programmers develop web apps.

Falcon is a CrowdStrike platform dedicated to put a stop to breaches through a set of cloud-delivered technologies to ward off every type of attacks including malware attacks. It is an open-source structure released under the conditions of the BSD License.

Programming Languages

Programming languages work behind the scenes as back-end development tools and serve as the foundation of a social media app. Choose a programming language that most closely aligns with your app’s main function, since everything depends on how efficiently the language of an app functions.

Let’s look at the top 5 programming languages for social app development.

Java, a veteran in the development space, is an object-oriented programming and software platform language with vast open-source tools and libraries and has been around for over 2 decades. It has a solid structure that is quick and secure. Due to the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), it doesn’t require the use of a compiler and is highly preferred by developers. This can speed up the development process as well. Its rules and syntax are based on C and C++ languages.

Another reliable programming language, PHP, is a general-purpose scripting language focused on web development. Its flawless software helps with social networking. Numerous large-scale corporations like Facebook use this programming language for smoother operations on their platform.

.NET is not considered a programming language. Rather, consider it a framework (another back-end development tool), created by Microsoft. It helps the developers in producing programs that execute within the Microsoft.NET framework.

Although Perl is not an all-time go-to option for the developers (like Java), it is known for being faster and more efficient than most newer languages, producing stable code. It was originally created for text manipulation but is now widely used for various other tasks such as system administration, web development, networking, and programming, but it works best when creating dynamic web pages.

Python is similar to Java in many ways. It’s actually faster than Java, although not as secure, and was created to be easier to use. It is an object-oriented, high-level programming language used to build websites and softwares, automate tasks, and conduct data analysis. Big companies such as YouTube, Reddit, and Pinterest implement Python in their systems.

The social media landscape is constantly evolving, leveraging advanced immersive technologies leading to shifting trends. Nevertheless, the purpose of social media will always remain the same – to connect people globally across artificial borders, regions, and countries..

If you’re looking to build the next big social media platform that leverages advanced technologies like AR/VR, we’d love to help you get there. Reach out to CitrusBits for a free consultation. CitrusBits believes in the power of connectivity and community-building. As a social app development service provider, they emphasize creating platforms that foster meaningful connections among users. Their expert team carefully designs features that encourage users to interact, share, and collaborate with one another, thereby enhancing engagement and user retention. Whether it’s integrating chat functionalities, implementing user-generated content, or developing personalized recommendation systems, CitrusBits focuses on creating social networking apps that bring people closer together.

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