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5 Key Differences Between Generic And Custom Software Development

Read on to learn about the top differences between generic and custom software development.  

Written by Niel Patel · 2 min read >
Ai Software development

There are several key differences to understand between generic and custom software application development. Modern-day businesses have a few distinct options when simplifying workloads with innovative software products. Specifically, they can engineer bespoke systems themselves – or purchase commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS). As a software specialist, you need to understand the various similarities and distinctions between these unique programming models.

This way, you can take advantage of all the latest trends in app development. Plus, you can optimize your workflow, save time, and reduce unnecessary operational expenses.

Read on to learn about the top differences between generic and custom software development.  

AspectGeneric SoftwareCustom Software
FunctionalityDesigned for common tasksTailored to meet specific needs
CostUsually less expensiveMore expensive due to customization
MaintenanceEasier to maintainRequires more attention from developers
IntegrationEasier to integrate with other software and systemsMay require more effort to integrate
OwnershipLimited control over the software and its developmentComplete control over the development and ownership of the software
Comparison table for generic and custom software:

Required Skill Sets

Before you choose a software development method, consider the required skill set for each model. Bespoke software engineering typically requires a much higher technical aptitude, expertise, and level of exposure. Programmers need to understand a wide range of coding languages, database architectures, configuration dependencies, and other resources. Generic development, on the other hand, tends to be slightly simpler. You can access a number of built-in features, functions, and tools that simplify the end-to-end programming process. That being said, these projects can often be completed without complete mastery in the software world. Surely, consider the differences in required skill sets for traditional and custom software development.  

Availability Of Advanced Programming Tools

When debating between bespoke and traditional software development, you need to consider the availability of different programming tools and supporting technologies. Developing bespoke applications, you’ll have unlimited access to powerful resources that automate development processes, bolster strong team collaboration, and minimize vulnerability occurrences. For example, use JFrog Artifactory’s Docker registry to facilitate tighter version control, simplify containerized image distribution, and accelerate deployment procedures.

You can even create your own registry with the official cloud-based registry – Docker Hub. With commercial off-the-shelf software on the other hand, this functionality is simply unavailable. You’ll be limited to the features, tools, and capabilities imposed by the original third-party developer. Certainly, consider the differences in development tools availability when comparing generic and custom software development. 

Levels Of Technical Debt

Of course, attempt to calculate the differences in technical debt encountered with generic or custom software development projects. Think of technical debt as the time, money, and resources it will take to deliver a new software application. Include the cost of conducting regular maintenance, releasing new versions, and developing new features. Upfront, the cost may be much higher with custom software development. After all, you need to appoint a programming team, gather comprehensive requirements, and conduct quality assurance (QA) testing. With COTS applications, you just need to purchase licenses, install software, set credentials, and distribute access. However, these costs can become much higher when you eventually decide to scale, upgrade, or modify the system. Indeed, think about technical debt when choosing between traditional or custom software development. 

Average Time To Market

There’s also major differences in time to market with traditional and custom software development. With generic, third-party applications, you’ll usually have a working application in less than sixty days. For simple functionality, less than one month is typically needed for end-to-end installation, integration, and deployment. Custom-built applications can take much longer to design, develop, and release – sometimes up to one year. After all, everything needs to be aligned with highly specific functionality needs and requirements. Definitely, review the average time to market for commercial off-the-shelf and custom-made software applications. 

Functionality Potential

Consider the unique differences between the functionality offered with generic and custom software development. Custom-written code can be modified, tweaked, and configured however you like. It makes the functionality, integrations, and capabilities unlimited. You’re also free to optimize the software with your preferred tech stack, APIs, hosting systems, and databases. This is unlike traditional development models, which limit ownership and alterations. Product owners are typically confined to the existing codebase, options, and design palates. Absolutely, look at the differences in functionality potential between generic and bespoke software development models. 

There are several important differences to consider between traditional and generic software development. First off, look at the differences in required technical expertise for each build methodology. In addition, consider the vast differences between the availability of different development tools, programming resources, and supporting technologies.

You should also think about the technical debt you’ll encounter with both project types. Then, analyze which development model will give you the functionality, capabilities, and customization potential that you need. Plus, don’t forget about the average time to market for these unique development and deployment methodologies. Follow the points above to learn about the top differences between generic and custom software development.  

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