Open source vs. proprietary battle shows differences in app quality

Creating the perfect application has often come with a number of considerations to address, but with new devices emerging and changing user demands, there are even more factors in play. Whether organizations decide to go with native coding or HTML5 development, they must make their choice based on which will better meet staff requirements, improve overall benefits and drive further innovation in the future. While native and Web approaches have been hotly debated, there is another element that requires contemplation: open source and proprietary code. Although the proprietary product may seem like it would be more secure due to its restricted use requirements, the preference is leaning toward open source for many software projects.

Application development has become more complex within just a few years due to the substantial fragmentation of the market and the amount of options available. Coverity recently found that open source software had fewer errors and defects per thousand lines of code than their proprietary counterparts. In fact, the open source code had less high-impact defects to patch than C and C++ developers, while open source projects had overall better quality than the proprietary products. The reason for this development is pretty simple - in open source environments, developers often will submit patches for any vulnerabilities much faster, enabling the user to have the right tools from the start. With proprietary offerings, the software is licensed and can be utilized under only certain conditions, restricting developers from modifying or reverse engineering it to meet their own needs. This lack of freedom can severely hinder the app builder's capabilities and can make fixing integral issues much slower.

Software processes continue to change
With the amount of devices on the market and the variety of options available to app builders, it should be no surprise that the way programs are built is shifting substantially as time progresses. Linux contributor Amanda McPherson pointed out that while open source was once used secretly within businesses, it has now become a mainstream trend that can provide extensive benefits to organizations. By using this approach, developers can create their products more cost-effectively and quicker than ever before. The extensive availability of code bases will also empower app creators to expand their services and easily provide users with the tools they will need to succeed.

"Developers, too, are winning with exposure to new tools and development practices, significant growth in their skill set and a large, strong knowledge base from which to draw expertise and support," McPherson wrote.

Dealing with new project difficulties
While open source coding is not new and has become more prevalent in app creation, developers will likely have some new challenges to deal with in their software management processes. BizTech Magazine contributor Michael Desmond noted that it's becoming more important to establish a plan at the beginning that will deliver a successful product due to the rising costs of failure. Unfortunately, not all app projects have positive outcomes, often stemming from lack of quality testing or inadequate navigability. If the software does not have the tools that employees require, they will abandon it and look for alternatives. Organizations will need to ensure that their programs meet any compliance rules while still providing the flexibility that users are looking for both at work and when leveraging their mobile devices.

"Organizations that conduct inaccurate audits and put the wrong kind of license against a database can easily face costs that range into the hundreds of thousands of dollars," Desmond wrote. "Software tailored to monitoring cloud-based application activity can help determine if a company is overprovisioned."


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