When it comes to choosing between open-source software options, it can easily become confusing. Organizations often find that rushing the decision and using software that doesn’t work for them can be a costly mistake. Therefore, choosing the right open-source software for your projects is important.
This post includes some main considerations to think about when choosing open-source software.
Consider Your Requirements
One of the biggest considerations involves thinking about what you require from open-source software. Be sure to consider how you want the software to function both now and at later stages. Thinking about the scope of your project will help you narrow down your search to find open-source software that can meet your needs.
Oftentimes, open-source software will have alternative options available which could include more specific features that suit your project better. Furthermore, developers tend to look for open-source software that comes with plenty of functionality and can be extended.
In addition to this, if you’re working with a team, you’ll want to consider how each individual will be using the open-source software so that you can find the package that’s best for everyone.
Securing open-source software is an incredibly important element to consider. Open-source tools come under fire from cyberattacks more often compared to other forms of software. Therefore, you want to ensure that the open-source software that you implement in your code is secure and free from threats.
The open-source software that comes with support in the form of security teams is an ideal option. This is because you can feel more assured in knowing that there’s a team working to scan for threats and vulnerabilities and remove them. Patches and updates may be given regularly which can help you and your team feel more confident in the security of your chosen open-source software.
This also means that there’s a smaller chance of the open-source software creating vulnerabilities within your applications. You can get a good idea about the security ratings of open-source software by seeing what other users have said about it.
A great additional benefit that comes with some open-source software includes a community of people. Choosing open-source software that has a community of people who are using it can be a superb form of support.
If you or members of your team are struggling with something, you can turn to the community and see if anyone else has experienced similar issues. This is an easy way to overcome challenges and continue progressing with your applications.
Furthermore, if there are vulnerabilities within the software, people who are active in the community can post about it to let others know. Not to mention, having a community can enable developers to collaborate on their projects.
Considering whether your chosen open-source software is compatible with your project is a big factor to think about before you make a final decision. You can do some research to discover whether any other developers have used the software in a similar way that you intend to.
You can use this information as a guide about how well the software will work with your project. The website or documentation available with the software may also include details about how it can be used within projects.
It’s also worth considering whether you intend to integrate the open-source software with other software within your projects. If so, make sure to check if the software is compatible to provide you with the freedom to integrate it more easily.
The longevity of open-source software is crucial if you were looking for reliability. Be sure to look out for signs of the community activity dropping as this could be a sign that the software is on its way out.
It’s also common for the funding for open-source software to be stopped which means that developers sometimes find themselves using software that’s no longer supported by a community or company.
One of the ways to avoid these issues is to know the duration of your project lifecycle. You can then focus your search on open-source software that fits the length of your project lifecycle. Ideally, you’ll want to find open-source software that exceeds the duration of your project to allow for any delays that may happen along the way.
Make sure to focus on how active the community around the software is. You can also check if any software releases are coming up shortly to gauge whether it’s going to continue being used and supported.
The open-source software that has a track record of regular releases is also a good indication that it will continue in the same manner. Not to mention, a website that is properly managed can give you an idea about the level of support that the software has to offer.
Open-Source Software Version
It’s recommended to use open-source software with its most recent release rather than a snapshot or development release. Whilst some developers find that development releases come with additional features, the reliability of these releases is often unstable.
If there’s a problem tracker, make sure to check that any bugs have now been patched and updated. Developers often find that if these bugs have been left without being patched for too long, it’s a sign that the software is dated.
Using open-source software that’s up-to-date ensures that you’re using code that has been patched and updated to perform better and with improved security.
Choosing the right open-source software for you will highly depend on the type of project that you’re working on and the requirements that you need to meet. Be sure to think about the budget, project lifecycle, collaboration, flexibility, and security of open-source software before making a final choice.
Hopefully, the information found throughout this post has provided you with some insight into what factors to consider so that you can pick the open-source software that’s best for your projects.