This post was inspired by Andrew Walpole’s “What’s Your Go-To Web Stack” post. It seemed like a fun exercise, so I thought I’d give it a shot.
The stack I’d use for a website is a little different than what I’d use for a webapp, so I figured I’d answer this question in two ways: what’s my webapp stack, and what’s my website stack.
Go-To Website Stack
If I’m working on a site for myself or a client, the tools in my belt are pretty well defined.
The main piece of the stack here is the Static Site Generator (SSG) / “meta-framework” used to build the site. Until recently, my go-to was Next.js, but in the last ~6 months, I’ve moved most of my stuff over to Astro. Next.js is technically more “feature rich”, but I really like Astro’s zero-js-by-default approach. Astro also gives me more room to experiment with JS / CSS.
I’ve been using Netlify’s Edge and Serverless Functions quite a lot as well. While I’ve been using Netlify for years now, I’ve only really started digging into their serverless functions to help supplement Astro’s lack of server-side functionality.
For content management, I’ll typically stick to markdown files, but if the site needs to be edited by business users, I’ll use Sanity.io. Their free plan is super generous and the level of customization makes it easy enough to tweak the CMS to fit the level of control and visibility needed.
The Stack / TLDR
- Framework: Astro
- Content Management System: Either Markdown or Sanity.io
- Styles: SCSS
- Hosting: Netlify (Serverless / edge functions + forms are killer)
Go-To Webapp Stack
My go-to webapp stack is a bit more up-in-the-air than my website stack. Depending on what I’m working on / the needs of the project, the stack can change a lot. If I had to choose, the tech below is the closest I could get to a “go-to” list.
The main piece of the pie here is, again, the “Framework”. I’ve been using Flask a lot at work lately and have been really loving the back-to-basics web server approach it takes. There are tonnes of resources out there about integrating it with modern tech and practices, plus Python is just a dream to write. In cases where I need something that has a reactive frontend though, I’ll still reach for the tried and true Next.js.
We use mostly MS SQL for databases at work, but that is definitely not my DB of choice. I’ll reach for PostgresSQL whenever I can; it seems to work with almost everything you’d need it to, and benefits from being one of the “popular” databases with lots of tooling and educational content available.
For hosting, I’ve really been digging “dockerized” setups lately, which, by design, means you can kind of host anywhere. I host some stuff on a server in my house, and use cloud services like Railway to host most production environments for clients.