Custom development vs "Out the Box" open source solutions

From our experience, these numerous open source technologies and solutions “Out the Box” CMS website solutions such as Joomla, .Net Nuke, WordPress, etc, solutions normally look impressive at first but turn out to be more expensive, restricting in layout and design options and do not provide the functionality and adaptability that is generally required. Clients that have chosen to have their websites developed utilizing these solutions generally redevelop their sites due to the following similar issues:

  • “Out the box” functionality does not meet exact client requirements or keep up with changing requirements.
  • Due to platforms being open source, changes and upgrades are done by communities and generally are not completed ⁄ available when client requires them,
  • Because the platform and code is free and open source, it allows different companies to create their own modules. This creates another issue as the code style, functionality and methodology are normally different from each developer and this leads to different front end functionality and inconsistency throughout the website,
  • Managing and updating content are sometimes difficult and tedious and therefore sites become out of date and layouts of pages inconsistent,
  • Sites utilizing open source technologies look very similar to each other and therefore do not provide a unique image ⁄ brand of a company,
  • Often suppliers do not have the necessary technical understanding to customize or re-develop modules,
  • Because new modules can be downloaded and used there is no accountability or support structure should there be major issues with an area on the site,
  • 9 times out of 10 the open source components you find aren’t a good match to what you need and more time and cost is then spent trying to fix and change it,
  • Most clients get a company to customize an open source solution and this cause numerous long term issues
    • Once it is customized it is then a custom developed application and no longer “open source” in the true sense of the word
    • Developers leave or move on and clients are left with items they can no longer support, change or maintain
    • As the core of the application gets updated more older modules need to be re-updated as well
    • Most clients have to settle for set functionality that are provided and forced to settle for what is currently available rather than specific needs.

    From our experience the open source platforms do have their place in a market and if used correctly can provide a solid solution to meet a specific requirement or need. They are generally well suited when the platforms are used in their core state and with their own developed modules with no changes are made to the functionality and workings of the site. If, however, you wish to change or have your own custom elements then this can pose a few issues in the long term.

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