Borrow (or Buy) Functionality… Don’t Build it!

I am a fan of using third-party tools and pre-developed solutions instead of developing new features for clients.

Why?

  • You don’t want to be dependent on me.
  • You don’t want to pay for one-off development.

This month I found and used a free script from Yahoo! that allows people to click a button to hear a streamed sermon by Rev. Mary Moore, a minister for whom I just finished a web site.

Locating the tool, implementing on the client’s web site, and testing it took less than an hour. Spectacular!

Of course, with third-party products, especially those that are free, we’ll have to check periodically to make sure that they’re still working as we expect.  In the case of Rev. Moore’s web site, the critical period of it to be working is a two-week period every two years…   not a very stringent testing requirement.

I regularly use a third-party menu-building tool (see left-hand navigation on Rev. Moore’s site for an example of that feature). I also use a third-party form creator for displaying forms and emailingthe filled-in data to the appropriate person (see Rev. Moore’s contact page for a sample form from that tool).

It’s not that I cannot code.  I was an assembly language programmer in my early career.

But paying for the time spent coding custom applications is beyond the budget of most of my clients.  Plus, third parties who specialize in a particular function are likely to have designed and tested their product much more thoroughly than I could for a one-time use.

If you’re working with a web designer who wants to build a custom solution, call me first.  I’m happy to tell you what third-party application I’d use, where to look for already-created tools, or else applaud your designer for tackling a truly unique situation.

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