In today’s digital age, it is almost impossible to get away with running your business without some form of technology and social media. I really can’t think of a business right now that wouldn’t benefit from a well put together website and social media profile.
The problem is there is still a very large barrier to entry to get started. Websites like Square Space, Shopify, or Wix are platforms that make it easy for you to just create an account and get something online quick, but they are limited when a business needs custom features beyond just a landing page or online store.
What happens when you need custom application features
What happens when you need to build out a full platform with a customized application and feature set that is not possible on these easy to use sites? What happens when you need to create a custom mobile app that interacts with your web site? Right now that means hiring a development team to build your application because your application requirements exceed the capabilities of a platform like Square Space. This often means your development team needs to reinvent features that are already available on most websites on the internet today.
Let’s look at an example
If I have lost you at this point, let’s take a step back and give you an example of what I mean. I’m sure you are familiar with most of the features that Facebook provides. Let’s highlight a few relatively generic Facebook features has that I believe are useful for most businesses; user login, chat messages, and event management.
You can imagine that most businesses could benefit from having a platform that allows their customers to create an account on their website. You can also imagine that it would be great for the business to communicate with it’s customers over chat messages so they can post product or service updates. And I think we can also imagine that when the business has a customer event, it would be good for the business to be able to list it on their website and know who will be attending.
All of these features are available on Facebook today, the problem is that Facebook owns that source code and I can’t run it on my website. This example is true for several other platforms that we use daily. We need the features that these platforms provide, but we want to control it and integrate it with our own web application.
Some Examples that show we are on the right path
Obviously what I’m telling you is nothing new, the open source community has been doing this for a long time. But what I think is new is bringing the open source mentality into every business around the world. We know we all need the same core features to succeed, why not work together?
I think Gitlab is actually one of the best examples I have found yet of a company that is really on-board with this mentality. They have an open source platform that you can get running on your own server, your own laptop, or even something such as a raspberry pi. You can view, change, and improve the source code for gitlab as you see fit.
Then you ask, how does Github make money? Well they build applications on top of their core platform that they charge for! The open source community behind them makes their core platform better, then they focus their own engineering efforts on making great custom applications that they can charge for. It’s a win for them, and it’s a win for other companies around the world.
Jeffery Adolor is a web developer and a Techie, interested in writing and deploying web application and leveraging on computer languages to help solve computational problems and help promote businesses, also a vibrant digital marketer and strategist, active and leveraging on available Platform to help promote businesses through social media and search engines