Software and Product Development

Open source, flexibility, ad-hoc support: what Custom Software is today

In software development, there are two main categories to be considered when dealing with customisation. On the one hand, we have ready-made solutions, designed to satisfy the needs of a wide user base but limited possibilities to tailor this to individual needs. On the other, we have genuine custom software which can be developed to meet specific requirements.

The concept of custom software development has changed over time. In the past, references to custom software meant a complex solution built entirely from scratch. This was expensive both in terms of maintenance and generally had a very poor UX & UI, due to the limited amount of advanced resources and libraries available on the market and the difficulty for developers to access these.

Things have now changed, with the web offering new tools and very sophisticated libraries that allow developers to create advanced applications while reducing development costs.

What custom software means today. Today, there is not only standard software and custom software: the current custom software development scenario includes many intermediate solutions that often respond to the needs of many companies. Generally speaking, there is no longer any need to develop software from scratch and it is much more efficient to integrate software already on the market, for example by developing ad-hoc plug-ins. This allows companies to meet their internal processes while simplifying development with related cost savings.

This is why, when the complexity of internal processes is not in line with a market demanding more and more customisation, the choice to invest in custom software can prove to be the winning choice.

The importance of open source, interoperability & community support. There are viable open source solutions that can meet many needs. These software packages usually offer a plugin model that allows ad-hoc extensions to be developed to customise them. The same approach can be used for commercial products.

In these cases, it is highly recommended to use open source solutions maintained by a large community to ensure that the software will be continued into the future and to use standard protocols for integration, which are supported by most products, including commercial ones.

In software development, it is of fundamental importance to use known and standard languages and to limit the use of commercial libraries or external third-party services. This is to avoid both the so-called vendor lock-in and to have a guarantee on future software maintenance.

When the need for a customised product or service comes up, it is, therefore, crucial to rely on a company that is aware of the technologies on offer in the market, that has the skills to develop all types of integration, that is in contact with the largest open source communities to quickly solve issues or malfunctions and design and test solutions that have not been implemented yet, and that is able to advise on designing the most suitable solution for each case. This ensures flexibility in the choice of solutions, continuity of service even in the event of a change of supplier, and the best value for money.

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