Almost everything you do in life can be made easier by using an app or a website.
The improvement of the internet has made creating either of those tools easier than ever. Whether you are a startup or an experienced entrepreneur, you have all of the opportunities to improve your business available to you. This is all thanks to the internet! How convenient is that?
It can be pretty time-consuming to create your app or website, but thankfully there has been a drastic change in the efficiency of the internet. Not only does the internet now offer more information and entertainment, but it also offers many solutions to our business concerns.
Are you currently in the app development process? Are you wondering whether or not you should third-party software while you are building your application?
Well, look no further because you’re in the right place!
Continue reading to learn what third-party software is, the pros and cons of using this software, and receive great tips on how to make the best decision for you and your business.
Understanding Third-Party Software
A fairly new and exciting practice that may bring you more business is the integration of another company’s tools into your app or site. This is possible using APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces.
API usage is quite common in-app, software, and/or web development nowadays. This is because they allow us to customize software easily without having to code the entire thing from scratch. APIs are wonderful, but not all APIs use third-party software solutions.
Third-party software can be defined as programs that are created by companies other than the company that developed the computer’s operating system.
For example, although you can download and use the Tinder app on an iPhone, Tinder was not created by Apple. This would make Tinder a third-party platform. Similarly, any Windows program that is not developed by Microsoft is considered a third-party solution.
The two biggest and most popular tech companies are Google and Microsoft. Despite their popularity, most programs are developed by neither Google nor Microsoft. This means that the majority of the software programs we use are third-party applications.
Integrating third-party software into your business means that you would be adding external data to an existing project using various APIs. Third-party APIs aid developers in building new solutions faster. This is because they are using components that already exist instead of creating a new code from the ground up.
A real-life example of this would be the need for your app or website to have a chatbox. Creating a new chat interface could take a very long time. So instead, your developers can find an already available third-party API and integrate it into your app or website.
Integrating third-party software into your business can be very enticing. But even though they can boost your productivity, they have some downsides as well. Imagine if your app contained way too many third-party integrations, this can cause the application’s performance to suffer.
Third-party solutions come in various forms. Here are the most common types of third-party solutions:
- Libraries are useful for delivering source code for your application components (i.e. Google Maps). They can be free or cost a small fee.
- Platforms are ready-made solutions that you can add to utilize a specific feature (i.e. email). They can also be free or cost a small fee.
- Tools. There are a large number of tools that can make the app development process more effective while increasing the quality of your product.
While some entrepreneurs can afford to invest a grand amount of money in developing a high-quality app and wait for extensive periods until it is finished…
Most start-up businesses need to develop their high-quality apps without assistance, and faster than normal, due to limited time and budget. This is one of the exact reasons why third-party platforms are so useful.
Building a new application from scratch takes a lot of time and effort. That’s why developers today use so many tools, libraries, and platforms to avoid reinventing the wheel and writing common features from scratch.
There are several benefits and problems associated with third-party integrations, which might affect the overall performance and look of the website. So…
Without further ado, let us discuss all of the pros and cons of third-party software.
Let us see if they are as helpful as they say when it comes to building an awesome, high-quality, web application.
THIRD-PARTY SOFTWARE PROS:
First, let’s look at the pros of using third-party APIs when developing a website.
Completion Time of Products
Third-party software boasts a very rapid time of product completion.
If need be you can always utilize buying or licensing third-party APIs to temporarily work with your application. After this, you can take your time to work on developing your version of that specific function of API.
This helps in three ways:
- Once your product is ready, you can use external third-party API integration for additional features.
- You get your product onto the market quickly, without spending a lot of your own time and resources.
- You can focus on developing your version for future use.
Third-party software can save you a lot of time and money. They save you time by allowing you to roll out the product faster. This in turn lets you generate revenue sooner.
While this is happening, you and your developers have more downtime for developing extra features to add in the future. You could even opt to continue using the API and spend your downtime maintaining and enhancing your product itself.
This can also save you initial development costs and requires less marketing time.
No Constraint on Development
No constraint on development means that this software allows you to use features that are out of your area of expertise. This is a huge perk for smaller and start-up companies.
Smaller development teams may have an extremely diverse skill set. Third-party solutions allow them to integrate advanced, and sometimes expensive, features into their programs.
Think about it like this…
If the API is from a reputable development company, i.e. Microsoft, it is going to be of higher quality in comparison to the product that would have been developed by an amateur developer.
Easy Data Accessibility
When using third-party software it is very easy to access your data. This pro allows companies access to data that they may not have had access to before.
For example, think of a transportation service such as Uber. Aside from the data that is required to recruit potential users and fulfill current requests. Uber probably has a third-party solution map API integrated into its program. That API can be considered what helps them easily access the data they need to run efficiently and effectively.
THIRD-PARTY SOFTWARE CONS:
Now that we know the benefits of using third-party API when choosing an external web development service, let’s look at some of the cons.
Dependence on Multiple Outside Providers
The first con of using third-party software is the limited control you would have over the multiple dependencies. The main problem that arises from adding multiple external APIs to your program is that it will start to depend on too many outside providers. This may affect the overall performance of your product.
Too many dependencies can be a problem, both now and in the future. A short-term issue is that they can interfere with the functions of your main application, i.e. your website. A long-term issue is that they can cause issues with adding other external third-party API solutions in the future.
Can Sometimes Be Costly
In some cases, integrating third-party platforms into your business can cost a lot of money.
The main reason for this expense is the cost of licensing these APIs for use with your product. These costs are usually controlled and dictated by the developers themselves.
So, the less popular the API or, more commonly, the bigger the developer… The higher the cost may be.
This is where using a third-party software solution may not be the best idea because it may not bring the revenue that you would need to offset the expense.
Third-party platform usage may result in a noteworthy difference in the performance times of your application.
Due to the functionality of your program depending heavily on multiple service providers, you can expect that any issues with their processes and performance will result in a negative effect on your product as well.
If you are too heavily dependent on these other providers, you will eventually affect your performance heavily as well. This can result in you unintentionally turning away potential clients and consumers.
Knowing and Choosing the Right API Provider
It can be quite difficult to recognize the right API provider for your business. Choosing the right provider is arguably the biggest issue with third-party external API software.
When researching different providers you may come across similar third-party solutions from different developers. Before researching you may have set some personal metrics for your business, and while those metrics can be useful in your decision… They may not be the best way to choose the perfect third-party solution provider to use during your app development process.
A pro tip is to look for a third-party API from some of the biggest developers out there, such as Facebook, Microsoft, Google, or even Twitter.
This is because smaller companies may not be available 24/7 to help you in case you have any issues or emergencies. While bigger companies have support teams available at any time to help you out if need be.
Choosing third-party software is becoming a necessity for developing a user-friendly, reliable website with extensive features.
It may seem like there are a lot of issues that can arise if you decide to use external APIs, but knowing what you want and how much you can spend to develop it makes choosing the right API provider a piece of cake.
How To Choose The Right Third-Party Software
Being aware of the pros and cons of using third-party software doesn’t make this decision any easier. Not all third-party platforms are created equal, making this even more complicated.
Choosing whether or not to use third-party software can impact how your app functions and its scalability. This decision can also affect how your database is created and coded, as well as its services. When making this decision try to remember a few things.
Remember to consider the following:
- reputation matters
- research, research, research
- the frequent outage is a red flag
- support system or customer service
- technical support
- maintenance schedule
The ultimate question you want to ask yourself is “how relevant, and beneficial, is this software to my business?”.
Which Will You Choose?
To integrate, or not to integrate third-party software… That is the question.
Let us help you make a reasonable decision. Here are some steps to remember:
- evaluate your product
- decide the budget for the third-party software before looking for one
- evaluate all of the financial risks and benefits that may occur before choosing to use one
- ask questions regarding the logic behind the software
- always take the user experience of your consumers into account
- the quality of your project is what defines its success and relevance, do not sacrifice it
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand third-party solutions, along with the advantages and disadvantages of using them.
If you have more questions and would like further assistance in choosing third-party software in your app development process, feel free to contact us.
You got this!