Uber has become a household name. The incredible platform enables users to book cab service in only four simple steps. The Uber app guarantees quick service as well as optimal convenience, no wonder it has exploded in popularity.

Did you know that Uber has 98 million monthly active users? Also, the company generated $11.1 billion in revenue in 2020? Uber has set a classic example for startups and existing taxi services. Every organization is aiming to replicate the success of Uber by offering quick and convenient taxi-hailing services.

If you are also awed by the immense success of Uber, this article is for you. Here, we will discuss the Uber tech stack and software architecture, and this will give you a better understanding of the platform and help you build your taxi services app from scratch. So, let’s get started.

How Do I Build A Real-Time App Like Uber?

To build a real-time app like Uber, you must first understand the different components of it, which are as follows:

Passenger app

If you have used the Uber app before, you will easily identify with the passenger app functionality. This component of the app has all features that the users require to book a cab, such as choosing the ride, fare calculator, online payments, GPS tracking, etc.

Driver app

The driver’s app is used by taxi drivers that show new cab requests from passengers. Using this panel, the drivers can either accept or decline ride requests and check the passenger’s exact location using the built-in map.

The Marketplace

The marketplace connects the two applications-Passenger app and the Driver app. It carries out the most complicated tasks that involve matching the passengers with the drivers and handling payments.

So, if you wish to create an app like Uber, you will require three different panels. The first panel will enable passengers to book a cab, and the second panel will allow the drivers to accept ride requests. And finally, a third panel will receive requests from the first two and manage all online operations.

Building a real-time app like Uber involves several steps, from conceptualization to deployment. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you understand the process in short

1. Purpose & FeaturesDefine the app’s primary goal and list essential features.
2. Tech StackChoose technologies for backend, frontend, real-time data, database, cloud services, and payment gateways.
3. UI DesignDesign an intuitive user interface and ensure consistency across screens.
4. Backend DevelopmentSet up servers, databases, APIs, and ensure data security.
5. Frontend DevelopmentDevelop apps for drivers and users; integrate with backend.
6. Third-party IntegrationIntegrate GPS, payment gateways, and notification services.
7. TestingConduct various tests to ensure the app’s functionality and fix bugs.
8. DeploymentHost on a cloud service and publish mobile apps on app stores.
9. Post-launch ActivitiesMonitor performance, gather feedback, and implement marketing strategies.
10. Continuous ImprovementUse analytics to understand user behavior and make regular updates.

If you want to understand the process in more detail, check out this article on taxi booking app development.

How To Build The Next Uber?

Uber is a highly successful taxi-hailing service that offers ultimate convenience to passengers. Developing an app like Uber may involve a significant amount of money and a competent app development team.

Apart from that, there are a few other things to consider while developing an app like Uber.

Check out Your Competitors.

It is a great idea to search for apps that are currently attempting to solve the same problem you seek to address with your app. Looking at these apps will help you gather an idea about their features, functionalities, as well as target audience.

Additionally, a thorough look at the competitive landscape will help you understand how your competitors operate. For instance, checking their social media will enable you to gather insights about their marketing strategy, product evolution, and customer satisfaction ratings. All this will go a long way in helping you launch a successful app.

Know Your Potential Users

Before jumping into app development, you need to know who will use your app. Only if you know your target audience will you be able to properly communicate with them.

You can gather all demographic data of your potential users, such as age, location, gender, behaviors, preferences, etc. Once done, you can discuss your app’s idea with those people you think highly of.

Stay Focused on User Experience.

User experience is one of the key aspects of a successful app. People want to use apps that offer a simple yet intuitive UI and UX. A stunning UI offers a seamless navigation experience, and an intuitive UX ensures ease of use.

Providing a good user experience leads to better user acquisition and greater downloads.

Test with An MVP

A minimum viable product (MVP) is the first basic version of the product that supports minimal yet crucial features. Creating an MVP before developing a full-fledged app is advisable as it enables faster time to market, attracts early adopters, and accomplishes a product-market fit from early on.

Once the MVP is released to the users, their initial feedback is obtained. Based on this feedback, you can reiterate, fix bugs, and introduce new features that will provide your product with a competitive advantage.

How Does The Uber App Technically Work?

how uber works

The Uber app processes a vast amount of data leveraging the ML and data analytics platforms that are developed in-house. When a passenger requests a cab, a lot of data is generated. For instance, the app receives data about the passenger, his location, credit card info, ride cost, nearby taxi drivers, etc. And gradually, all this information travels across the entire system. Let’s see how.

Once a ride is requested, the platform:

  • Saves all the ride information on the database
  • Processes the ride request with the passenger’s geolocation
  • Sends all the processed data to the matching algorithm powered by ML
  • Looks for information about drivers present nearby in the database
Tech Stack Storage Overview of uber
Tech Stack Storage Overview of uber

Requirements for Uber-Like Projects

Uber was launched in 2009, and for the longest time, the platform had a backend with a monolithic architecture. In other words, the app used a single database along with several app servers to manage all online requests.

For the initial period, this worked just fine. However, as the platform grew, the need for new features also surged. And to integrate new features, the development team had to deploy all the code at once. This affected the app’s speed and made the process of introducing new features extremely risky and time-consuming. This is because every integration could potentially bring the entire system down. This led to the adoption of microservices architecture.


Uber’s microservice architecture circa mid-2018 from Jaeger
Uber’s microservice architecture circa mid-2018 from Jaeger

In 2014, Uber adopted the microservices architecture to ensure better speed and performance. Essentially, this architecture includes a group of services targeted to one another’s functionality. Thus, the development team can easily deploy new code independently with the microservices architecture, ensuring complete system scaling.

DOMA (Domain-Oriented System Architecture)

Although microservices architecture was a huge upgrade to the monolithic architecture, the development team at Uber didn’t stop there. They adopted a new approach called DOMA- Domain-Oriented System Architecture with time.

According to this approach, the developers orient their design around collections of related microservices. And these collections are called domains. Furthermore, the domains are also classified into different collections called layers. The specific layer that each domain belongs to establishes what dependencies the microservices within that domain can take on. This is called layer design.

The developers then make every domain independent from the others by using Gateway API. Thus, every domain has its own logic and is not related to the other domains inside the same layer.

Gateway API
gateway showing internal details of the domains – multiple services, data tables, ETL pipelines, etc.

In simple words, by providing an organized architecture, predefined extension points, and domain gateways, DOMA transforms the microservices architecture from something complicated to something that is easily comprehensible.

Which UI Framework Does Uber Use?

Uber’s design team focuses on constantly upgrading the app’s design by adding new features. However, this is a time-consuming process. So, to streamline the design team’s efforts, they have created a React UI framework called Base.

strength-meter designed with base web framework
strength-meter designed with base web framework

Base includes pre-designed Uber app elements, such as colors, grids, typography, lists, buttons, and iconography. The framework has enabled the design team to create designs at a faster pace while maintaining high UI/UX standards and consistency.

What Is The Tech Stack Behind The Food Delivery App Uber?

In 2014, Uber’s backend included languages like Python, Mongo, and MySQL. On the other hand, the dispatch system used Node.js and Redis, whereas the mobile apps were powered by Java and Objective-C. However, as the requirements evolved, developers changed almost all of the platform’s components.

Marketplace Technologies Stack

Uber’s marketplace is an important aspect that manages all data streaming and data analytics. And the tech stack used for building this marketplace includes languages like Python, Go, Java, and Node. Now let’s have a look at this marketplace technologies stack in detail:

The trip execution engine

Since the trip execution engine is an integral part of the marketplace, it was originally written in Node.js, which was preferred for its asynchronous, simple, and single-threaded processing. Node.js also allowed the Uber team to manage large quantities of concurrent connections. However, now, the company creates new services in Go, which is known for its efficiency, concurrency, and type-safe operations.

The frontline API

The frontline API directs requests from the driver and passenger mobile devices to other APIs and services. This is written in Node.js, except at the edge. It uses NGINX for the front end and performs SSL termination and some authentication.

Real-time connection

To seamlessly support the highest availability demands, the marketplace stack must receive information in real-time. Thus, the developers use Ringpop, a library for erecting cooperative distributed systems. Owing to this library, the developers get a highly-available connection with distributed databases such as Riak and DynamoDB.

The matching logic

The matching algorithm, i.e., the system that manages alerts from drivers and riders in real-time and then matches them, are written in Go and Node.js. Riak is their distributed database, whereas Redis offers caching.

Dynamic pricing optimization

The marketplace team at Uber manages optimization and balance all through dynamic pricing, intelligent matching, and supply positioning. Earlier, most parts of this stack were built using Python with Flask and uWSGI. However, now, the developers are replacing most Python with Go to achieve greater performance.

Data streaming and machine learning

Uber uses Kafka and its own production databases for data streaming. And data storage depends on Hive, HDFS, Elasticsearch, MapReduce, and file storage web services. The company has also developed its own LIDAR that ensures internal sharing. The LIDAR runs Jupyter, JupyterHub, integrated with Apache Spark and their own data platform.

Moving on, it is noteworthy to note that Uber has its own ML platform. In 2015, the company decided to scale ML in order to standardize tools and workflows and avoid ML anti-patterns. Consequently, they developed Michelangelo in 2017.

Michelangelo is an AI and ML-powered platform that helps to manage data, evaluate and deploy models, make trend forecasts, and monitor prognosis. The ML platform comprises a mix of open source systems and in-house components such as:

  • HDFS
  • Samza
  • Spark
  • MLLib
  • TensorFlow
  • Cassandra
  • XGBoost
UberEATS app estimated delivery time feature
UberEATS app hosts an estimated delivery time feature powered by machine learning models built on Michelangelo.

Stack Technologies of A Web Application

For the web-based app, the Uber developers use Node.js, an open-source platform with a huge community of web engineers. Node.js also enables the developers to share JavaScript code between the server and client to create universal web applications. Lastly, they use Browserify for all client-side bundling as it comes with Node. js-based module requirements.

Uber’s web server called Bedrock is built on Express.js, a popular web framework that offers complete security and internalization. Their in-house service communication layer, known as Atreyu manages all communication with backend services as well as integrates with Bedrock. This communication layer also enables the company to make requests to their SOA service APIs easily and quickly.

Uber uses standard Flux and React.js for application rendering and state handling. The build system, Core Tasks, is a pre-defined group of scripts to compile and version frontend assets that are built on Gulp.js.

Stack Technologies of A Mobile Application

To develop an app like Uber, you need to create four different mobile apps: Android passenger, Android driver, iOS passenger, and iOS driver. Developers create IOS apps using Objective-C and Swift programming language, whereas Android app is developed using Java. But apart from them, there are few other technologies used by the developers. These include:

Android app tech stack

  • Gradle
  • OkHttp/Gson/Retrofit
  • Butter Knife
  • Dagger
  • Espresso
  • Picasso
  • RxJava
  • Timber

iOS app tech stack

  • Buck
  • Masonry/ SnapKit
  • KSCrash
  • OCMock

What Programming Languages Can I Use To Create A Food Delivery App Like Uber?

If you want to develop an app like Uber, you can opt to integrate the following technologies:

  • Node.js – for Marketplace web app
  • Python – for web-based booking app
  • Go- for improved performance and speed
  • Browserify – for client-side bundling
  • Java – for third-party service integrations
  • Apache Hive data warehouse – for analytics and data query
  • ELk – for storing logs, processing, and shipping
  • Apache Cassandra – for managing huge volumes of data
  • MySQL Database Service- for relational database management
  • Docker – for data center infrastructure
  • HAProxy – for proxy server and load balancer

This is a quick roundup of Uber’s technology stack. However, simply copying this tech stack without doing your own research can be detrimental to your business model. Also, applying the same technologies will not guarantee success for your cab-hailing business.

So, it is advisable to build your app with a few technologies as possible. Gradually, as your business expands, you can keep on adding newer features by leveraging newer technologies. You must only use Uber’s tech stack as a source of inspiration to get started.

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EmizenTech's Mobile App Development team is led by Naren Bhati, who designs and develops technically innovative solutions for our global clientele. He has the technical expertise to steer our app development team on the right path.