EPISODE:
11

  

OPEN SOURCE VS PROPRIETARY?

MOBLE a better way

Faced with a complicated decision when trying to navigate through a broad range of options to power your company online? Where to host? What website platform to use? And then there are marketing solutions to consider. Not to mention how to report on metrics that really matter to growth goals.

Your choice of content management system (CMS) underpins all these decisions. Historically, the choice of CMS has been a decision between open source and proprietary, but these decisions of old are now perhaps embarking on change as new technology providers pave the way into a new age of web maturity and risk mitigation.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of open source vs. proprietary.

 

Open Source
 
Cons:
  • Buggy
  • Low-touch or reactive website maintenance
  • No accountability
  • Developers can't understand each other’s code, so you're locked in your original developer.
  • You have to host.


Pro:
  • You host. You have control.
  • Can be built cheaply by developers.


So what's the Open Source consideration, is it still valid today?

Open Source presents an easy way for developers to build websites cheaply, though often creates serious problems for the client in maintaining the website after the developer has finished. CMS systems like Word Press, Drupal and Joomla could be installed remotely on a server and modules or plugins (e.g. forms, galleries) could be picked up from developers all over the world and installed for free.

 

Sounds great right?  Well not so great for businesses, consider this: 
 

Your website is complete, your web designer has now been paid and your new website is live. Often the website is a theme purchased cheaply for under $50.
 
Now, as technology continues to evolve, things like browsers (e.g. Chrome, Safari) that power websites on the internet need to be updated. As they update, the modules and plugins that you use on your website need to update too. Well, if your web developer is not at hand, or if the unknown developer that originally created the plugin has gone on a leave of absence, then who is doing the maintenance and updates, and who is getting paid for this? Are you paying them? How can you or your developer pay them if you don't know who they are?
 
Having a website that isn’t updated is much like having an app on your phone that you don’t update. Eventually, as your phone improves with new releases, your apps will stop working.

For apps on your phone to work, you need the operating system like Apple iOS or Google Android to be updated. The app developers also need to update their apps and you have to make updates on your phone.

Websites are no different. That’s why we see so many unfixed bugs, broken bits and unhappy business owners who’ve used open source. Nobody is accountable, that's not good news for serious businesses.

 

Is Proprietary Better?
 
Cons:
  • Feeling locked in and trapped (though the Open Source has this too)

Pro:
  • Maintenance is proactively planned
  • Bugs get fixed for an (often low) monthly fee


Businesses that have been through the Open Source website process once, or twice, might feel slightly scared and look for more security and accountability. They now upgrade and choose a Proprietary system that is fully hosted and maintained. Well, this sounds perfect, all bugs are fixed for you whenever they appear, at no extra cost, other than your fixed monthly hosting and license fee. You can just get on with running your business.

 

So what went wrong with the Proprietary solution? 
 

Imagine you’ve been burned by the open source website process. You’re looking for more security and accountability. You now upgrade and choose a proprietary system that’s fully hosted and maintained. All bugs are fixed for you whenever they appear, at no extra cost, other than a fixed monthly hosting and license fee. You can just get on with running your business.

What’s wrong with this scenario? Well, proprietary systems are just that: owned by the developer. If your development company that owned the CMS was slow, or too busy, you’d be locked in and have to wait. You couldn't shop around with other developers.

You could feel held for ransom. This feeling also exists in open source, as your developer would use their own specific coding execution that only they could decipher. Due to this developers often won't work on other developer’s code.

So even in open source like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, if your developer was slow or unresponsive, you would be faced with starting again. This issue is true for both open source and proprietary, meaning both solutions were, and are today, fundamentally flawed for businesses.

Things had to change.


MOBLE offers the best of both worlds
 
Pro:
  • Fully maintained.
  • Not locked into MOBLE.
  • Low-cost hosting.


Latest CMS technology like MOBLE is built in a way that is hosted and fully maintained but is also open so that any developer can have access to make changes to the code. I.e. you're not locked in. This is improved further by having a consistent well-documented methodology for code changes that makes it easy for other developers to follow and work in a consistent manner that other developers can contribute.

As Australian pioneers of this technology, MOBLE understands this problem. It’s what we set out to solve when we started building this company.

Head of innovation Danny Liang contributing a Ph.D. on streamlining ways to write code that would later be used to power MOBLE. Danny is a strong advocate of the open source and wanted to build a technology that could harness the power of the open source community, in a way that could work for businesses, used by any developer on any site and be fully maintained.

MOBLE enables developers to reformat open source technology and install it in a way that can be globally maintained.
 

"The open source community has a powerful part to play in the rapid development and sharing of creative technology on the web. Consider MOBLE as a conduit between the Open Source Community and the Business Community, bridging the gap between inspiring creative talent and commerce. Our model ensures that everybody is looked after along the way"
Paul Davenport, Co-Founder.

 

MOBLE has also done away with the old theme-based approach that, while being powerful to build cheap websites quickly, would too often become difficult to customise and edit. MOBLE induces a more granular-based approach, giving the power of creative back to the true graphic web designer.

And it’s still rapid and easy to use.

If you ever thought the web was starting to look a little 'samey', MOBLE offers a sense of freedom and creativity that can only be good for the design world. |

So whether you're looking for a low-cost website design built quickly, or an expensive website finished with all the bells and whistles, modern CMS like MOBLE is surely painting a colourful path to a brighter future of web design and development.