Software or service?Apr 18, 2011
Edicy is a service from that movement. All the server and tech yada-yada is taken care of by us. All that users need is a super simple interface to deal with things that matter to them — content, design, analytics. Hundreds of thousands use the same engine, so that they instantly get all the improvements and fixes without any extra cost.
But many companies are still forced to use software
Software or service?And then there's a way to do it yourself — install an app into your own server, tweak and manage it. Reboot it when it gets stuck. Install new versions and plugins. Program custom features. Who on earth would do it if you could just sign up to a service managed by specialists? Apparently — developers.
On one hand, developers like to be in control with every little detail with their own stuff. They say that if a particular web app isn't open source software and isn't running in a server that you own, you'll be in trouble. You'll be locked in and tricked into giving your data into the hands of strangers. Service might be shut down anytime, new prices might be set whenever they feel like it.
I've heard this argumentation often from web agency guys building their customer websites on Wordpress, Drupal or Joomla and launching them on custom servers.
But hey, this isn't about open source at all.
It's about software. Configuring, installing etc are developer values. Normal people live in another world. They want to use and create not manage and program. Even more, we don't share the opinion that openness and high value for the end-user could be applicable to server software at all. For real openness you need a service.
The downsides of software
Often another upside of open source software is listed — that there are no recurring costs other than hosting involved. This isn't entirely true when we go out of the developer bubble. The benefits for developer become liabilities and problems if projected to the end-user.
You'll be on your own. You'll be responsible of the IT side — software and hosting.
Secondly, open source software is often created by developers without proper help from usability specialists and designers. Therefore you'll probably need to invest more into schooling your team. Tasks difficult to learn are continuously outsourced from the tech firm.
Third layer of costs is a lot harder to notice. Developers tend to keep things simple for themselves and customize parts of the server side code of the software. This becomes a recurring cost haunting you every time you need to update the system and leave the customization to work.
A new road to openness
There's a way you can enjoy the benefits of the openness without the
whole responsibility for tech details though. End-users don't need
software. They need service. An open service. A cloud tool that combines software, hosting, updating, support together.
It doesn't often matter if the underlying software in that service is open or not. What matters is that the service is open for signing up, using, customizing, connecting and — if necessary — leaving together with your data.
Usually subscribing to an online service is a better choice than managing an application on your own. A dedicated team takes care and is responsible of the whole tech side. Strangely enough, services built around the most delicate data have grown much more popular than their installable open source counterparts — because of usability, reliability and security of these services. Gmail, Dropbox and Google Analytics are most well-known examples.
Similarly, we believe building websites on Edicy and other online web editors is a wiser choice for the end-user. It comes with a lower costs than on open source CMS-s.