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magento & ecommerce

Benefits of Open Source eCommerce Development

According to a BigCommerce survey, 96 percent of Americans shop online, accounting for 35 percent of retail expenditure. Naturally, this demand breeds competition. Web store owners need to provide secure platforms for shoppers. These platforms also need to offer the web store owner the ability to make changes as needed.

When developing eCommerce stores, businesses must decide between closed and open source platforms. The two options offer differing approaches to development.

Closed Source

Also known as proprietary software, closed source software does not make its code available to others. In eCommerce, a closed source solution usually relates to the website’s content management system (CMS). Using such a solution ties the web store to one developer when additional work is needed.

Open Source

With an open source solution, anybody can access the code. Developers can implement the existing code as a base and work on it to create more features. This frees web store owners up to work with anybody who can code for the open source platform.

The Benefits of Open Source

Open source offers web store owners some key benefits. These include the following:

•    No Lockdown

When developing eCommerce stores, businesses must decide between closed and open source platforms.

With an open source platform, the business is not locked down to a single developer. All those who download the platform gain access to its licenses and code. As such, more people understand the code and can work with it. Web store owners can access a larger talent pool to get work completed. Additionally, web store owners don’t have to worry about their developers going out of business.

•    Quality

Open source platforms develop communities around them. These people want to make the platform better by overseeing new features to ensure they meet high standards. Features that don’t meet the development community’s standards tend to fall by the wayside. Web store owners benefit from this due to the access it provides to quality features. Further, a focus on quality creates a more reliable platform.

•    Integration

Combining legacy systems with closed source platforms presents a lot of problems. In many cases, the new platform won’t integrate with the existing system at all. This results in more work to replace legacy systems and retrain for the new platform. By contrast, open source development opens the door for integration. It allows for the creation of custom modules and plugins that pull what you need from your old systems into the platform.

•    Customization

The flexible nature of open source development offers more customization options. A web store owner can think of a feature and browse an existing library of plugins to bring that feature to his or her website. If the feature doesn’t exist yet, the store owner can commission somebody to create it. This ensures the store meets the needs of both consumers and the business.

•    Lower Costs

When developing eCommerce stores, businesses must decide between closed and open source platforms.

A basic open source eCommerce platform is free to use. The source code is available for download and editing. As such, those launching basic eCommerce sites only incur costs related to hosting and working on the site. Even with more complex solutions, the cost of integration is low. The fees the web store owner pays for plugins and custom changes fall below those they would pay when using a closed source platform.

•    Security

The idea that open source is less secure than closed source is a misconception. In reality, having a community of developers around a platform ensures its security. More code exposure means faster response times to bugs. As such, an open source community continually creates patches and updates to fix security issues that may go unnoticed on closed source platforms.

The Right Solution

Using an open source solution is not ideal for all of your company’s needs. Some systems must be proprietary if they handle business processes unique to the company. However, the argument for using open source development for an eCommerce website is strong.

More flexibility and better security allow you to scale your site to meet customer needs. This all comes at a lower cost while allowing for more customization and integration.

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By interactivated • on July 11, 2017

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