Should You Buy A Ready-Made eLearning Solution Or Develop A Custom One?
Summary: Learning is among the multiple domains which have completely transformed due to technological advancements in recent decades. The education and learning landscape has been completely changed due to the availability of high-speed internet and smartphones.
eLearning Design And Development
The demand for online learning solutions in different areas has skyrocketed. In fact, we have seen the emergence of several eLearning platforms like Byju’s, Udemy, Unacademy, and Coursera.
According to Reuters, the global online learning market is projected to hit $275.10 billion in value by 2022. The corporate online education industry grew by 900% from 2001 to 2017, and at least 42% of companies that used learning apps saw a significant increase in profits according to data from the eLearning industry.
eLearning is more environmentally friendly than face-to-face learning. “Distance learning courses use 87% less energy and release 85% less CO2 than full-time campus-based courses,” according to a study by The Open University. There is not an iota of doubt that online learning is the way of the future.
It is certain that eLearning is going to be the next big thing and will be a highly profitable business in the decades to come. However, the biggest concern that puts the eLearning entrepreneurs in a huge dilemma is: Should they build a custom eLearning solution or buy a ready-made one?
The development of an eLearning application is a time-consuming and often costly process that pays off as students become more involved and inspired. Smartphones were in the possession of Generation Z children from the moment they were born. Allowing them to use their smartphones while studying is the most effective way to improve their academic performance. The benefits of incorporating an educational app into your learning process are undeniable. In this article, we will look at the advantages and disadvantages of both types of eLearning solutions. If you choose the latter choice, we will look at how to create a learning app in greater depth.
What Is The Concept Of Custom eLearning Software?
A custom eLearning solution is created from the ground up to meet the specific goals and needs of an entrepreneur or anyone else who wants to use eLearning for business, training, customer education, or blended learning. The functionality of the application and the eLearning framework change depending on the scope of the implementation goals.
The business model, corporate culture, and monetization goals all influence the needs of each company. An entrepreneur would not be able to find a ready-made implementation of such models. For solutions to train workers, custom eLearning software creation is the best option. In order to incorporate corporate eLearning within an organization, you’ll need custom solutions.
Regardless of the range of objectives, the custom eLearning production process is the same. Whatever your objectives are, you must take a similar approach in order to obtain your custom eLearning solution. You can either do it yourself or hire an eLearning production firm to do it for you. Your program will be built from the ground up in either case.
How Do You Build A Custom eLearning Program?
1. Decide Your Niche
Learning apps can be developed in a variety of ways in the education industry. You might want to design a personalized education system for a specific group of people. Let’s assume you want to build a reading and writing application for primary school students. Perhaps, you would like to let newbie athletes choose the best eLearning platform for learning more about diet and exercise. You could develop an eLearning software product that includes a variety of courses in a variety of subjects with varying levels of complexity and length.
It is also a good idea to build an AI chatbot to assist your users in learning languages or solving math problems. It may also be used to investigate internal processes during onboarding and to assess employee competency. Educational apps come in a variety of formats. So, what is it going to be? Is there such a thing as a language-learning app? Is it a forum for self-study? Perhaps a database of digital literature? The possibilities are limitless, and all of them may be extremely beneficial to anyone if you consider their needs.
2. Focus On The Concept
Create your idea before you begin designing educational software. Multiplicity, marketing, geography, identity, connectivity, time, and price are the 7 product dimensions to consider for your eLearning application:
You should begin by determining what your product should be. Should it be a stand-alone piece of software or part of a larger educational system? If you are creating Learning Management Systems for a larger online learning network, for example, you would be constrained by the latter’s expectations and specifications. If you create a gamified program for children to learn math, on the other hand, you can do anything you want.
Now you must determine if your software will be available only to a select group of people or to the public; for example, you are working on a language learning app and want to make it widely available. However, if you are creating an internal education management framework for a specific school, you will want to keep it private.
Another important decision to make is whether your target audience would be global or limited to a specific geographic location. If your app will only be available to a select group of people, you can tailor it to a specific geographic area.
Even more, you may want to decide whether to tailor the software to a specific person. If your product is aimed at athletes, for example, you should provide them with the knowledge that is important to them. If it is a site that offers online courses in a variety of subjects and topics, however, you should keep the app as impartial as possible.
Moving on, you must determine if the information flow will be unidirectional or bidirectional when it comes to communication. The contact will be one-way if your online learning software is limited to lectures. If you want your users to be able to take tests, answer questions, or talk with one another, you will need a two-way information flow.
You must determine if your app’s users can communicate with it in a synchronous or asynchronous manner. If your app has a chat room or an online conferencing service, for example, your users will be able to communicate in real time. You will encourage asynchronous interaction if your app has a discussion forum or some other means of communication that does not require an immediate answer. The first choice teaches students how to communicate more effectively and think faster, while the second allows them to think about their ideas more thoroughly.
The final thing is to consider if your app should be free or paid, and if so, whether in-app purchases should be available. You must determine whether monetization is feasible based on your goal and target audience. If you are creating an online dictionary, for example, you could make it free to use but charge for certain premium features. If you create a translator, there is no point in charging for it since there are so many rivals that offer their services for free. Instead, you can make money from ads. If your learning app will have any unique courses or tools, however, you can charge your users to use it.
3. Form A team
You must select your team based on what your product should be, what your time and budget constraints are for creating an educational app, and what special features are needed. It is critical that the developers understand how to make learning apps, so take a close look at their work. You’ll need a team of experts to help you with the creation of an educational app. If you want to use AR/VR, you will need to find professionals who specialize in the field. If you want to use Machine Learning and AI in your app, you will need to employ people who are knowledgeable in these fields.
Another thing to think about is whether you should employ freelancers or an agency. While the first alternative is more cost-effective, the second is more dependable. You should also talk about payment strategy at this stage. Do you want to sign a Statement of Work or do you prefer to work on a “Time and Material” (T&M) basis? In the first example, you will know a fixed price ahead of time, allowing you to prepare your budget. However, a fixed price normally covers all of the risks that the vendor could face, so it may end up being higher than the T&M final price. In the latter case, you will have the ability to devote more time and resources to improving the product or introducing new functionality.
4. Perform A Stage Of Exploration
The discovery stage of eLearning application development is critical. Have you decided on the design of your app and who you will collaborate with? Now, do extensive research to assess available applications and eLearning tools, as well as to better understand the users’ requirements. You will be able to rethink your concept before beginning the educational app creation process if you do so.
You will learn if the market is underserved or overserved, if there are any additional features you would like to see, what makes a good education app in your industry, and which pitfalls to avoid. It is critical to execute the discovery stage after you have hired your team because a competent market analyst can spot opportunities or potential problems that you might overlook otherwise. Furthermore, you should be aware that your original product concept is unlikely to survive.
You can need to rethink your target audience, communication model, or pricing strategy after the discovery stage. It is a normal part of educational app creation that aims to enhance the result, so if you trust your development partners, do not be afraid to accept the improvements they propose. If it’s a chatbot, you’ll need to choose which channels it should be able to access. As a result, your partners will assist you in selecting the technological stack that will allow them to create the best-functioning application.
What Exactly Is Ready-To-Use eLearning Software?
The ready-to-use eLearning applications, which are also known as off-the-shelf eLearning solutions, are based on the concept of “one size fits all.” Software vendors invest their own time, money, commitment, and analysis into the creation of eLearning platforms and create solutions from the ground up. Vendors market these proven solutions to multiple clients as ready-made products.
To put it another way, ready-to-use eLearning solutions are the product of research into common business models, with the expectation that more entrepreneurs will follow suit. Ready-made solutions keep up with the latest industry developments, from incorporating popular features to incorporating the popular monetization platforms.
When you have a great business idea in place, then off-the-shelf solutions are the safest bet. For example, you might have noticed that Udemy or Byju’s is having a lot of success with the pay-per-course model for micro-courses. You could buy a ready-made Udemy or Byju’s clone, which may fetch you almost the same results. Spending a fortune on custom eLearning creation would be pointless if your aim is to build an eLearning application that may have most of the common features like Udemy. Purchasing a ready-made Udemy clone, on the other hand, can save you a lot of investment as far as money, time, and effort are concerned. Other ready-made solutions, such as Varsity Tutors Clone, Coursera Clone, and Udacity Clone are also available in the market, which can be bought off the shelf.
Which Is Better: Ready-Made eLearning Creation Or Custom eLearning Development?
In terms of usability and cost, there is a major disparity between these 2 solutions. Let us look at the two solutions in more detail to see which one fits better in these circumstances.
Which One Is The Most Cost-Effective?
When compared to custom production, ready-made solutions are usually less expensive. The obvious explanation is that custom solutions are created exclusively for a client and cannot be resold. Ready-made solutions are marketed as a commodity, and the manufacturer is free to sell the same solutions to different customers. Furthermore, it is impossible to provide an exact cost estimate for custom eLearning applications. To provide an estimate, a software provider must consider factors such as complexity, money, time, testing, implementation, and maintenance. Whereas off-the-shelf options provide a precise calculation of fixed maintenance and support costs. As a result, pre-made solutions are much less expensive than custom eLearning production.
Which One Is Easier To Implement?
This issue has two sides to it. On the one hand, both are simpler for the entrepreneur to adopt because vendors now handle anything from production to implementation and maintenance. You do not have to be concerned with anything as an entrepreneur. On the other hand, there is this other side where both have a massive acquisition cost difference.
Despite the vendor’s assistance, there are few variables that they cannot manage. Because of this, a new custom solution is often prone to errors or bugs. These problems are only resolved over the course of time as the program matures after extensive field use. That means your company will be used to test custom applications created specifically for you.
The ready-made solution is sold as a commodity by vendors. As a result, they thoroughly test the application before launching it in the market. A more polished and robust approach is one that has been on the market for some time. You do not have to do any of the tests yourself. As a result, ready-made solutions are more straightforward and easier to execute and deploy. They are much more bug-free and reliable.
Which One Is More Customizable?
When creating some type of business software, the golden rule is to make it customizable enough to cater to future needs. That is, the program should be able to accommodate a simpler way to change the code, add innovative features, delete unnecessary features, and redesign the UI if required. Customizable software provides code access, which allows any professional developer to make the necessary changes.
If you build custom software to meet the current eLearning platform needs, it will only be considered customizable if it allows for simple changes without breaking existing codes. It must adhere to standard coding practices so that everyone can recognize the codes and make the necessary changes at a later stage.
Whereas, when we talk about the ready-made software, we must ensure that it is customizable by ensuring it has open-source code access and adheres to modular coding practices. In the market, there are a variety of SaaS-based off-the-shelf solutions. Be aware that such solutions are not open for customizations as they do not offer access to the source code. Only self-hosted eLearning solutions and open-source code-based solutions are the ones that can be customized. As a result, if vendors have source code access to change the code base, both methods are highly customizable.
Which One Is More Accommodating To Third-Party Integrations?
The philosophy behind third-party integration is to avoid “reinventing the wheel.” When a similar solution is already available on the market, rather than designing it from scratch, you can simply use it and make the necessary changes to it. However, through application programming interface integration, you can incorporate a ready-made third-party solution into your project (API Integration).
If you want an efficient LMS (Learning Management System), then either you can integrate Moodle or any other LMS. Unless you have a very specific requirement, you do not need to build your LMS from the scratch. Third-party integrations can be made easier with custom eLearning development that includes source code access. Anyone can incorporate workable APIs into third-party solutions using common coding practices.
However, this must be done right from the beginning when you must be planning the program blueprint. When designing ready-made solutions from the ground up, the vendors apply the same approach. Before choosing one, you can test apps for the same. If one solution fails to meet your needs, you should look for another one. As most of the ready-made eLearning software supports API integrations, we can make custom implementations as well. When it comes to third-party integration, we have plenty of alternatives and options available, all we need is to find a suitable vendor.
Which One Allows You To Upgrade More Easily?
The word “easier improvements” is a subjective term. The choice of a solution is influenced by several factors. Before you compare the two methods for ease of update, you must first understand what “ease” means to you:
Do you want easy access to the source code so that you can perform updates on your own?
Do you like the convenience of obtaining upgrades from your vendor via OTA?
Custom solutions are easier in this respect if you want easy access to the source code. If you choose self-hosted turnkey solutions, you should anticipate a similar degree of ease in accessing source code as you would with ready-made solutions. However, SaaS-based ready-made solutions are your best bet if you want your vendor to deliver the upgrade via OTA.
Whereas custom eLearning development allows you to edit the source code and perform modifications on your own, ready-made implementations are the most convenient way to receive vendor-provided updates. Always keep in mind that updating a ready-made solution can be a difficult task if you have made customizations. To install updates on a personalized ready-made eLearning solution, you will need to enlist the help of your vendor.
Which One Provides A Significant Competitive Advantage?
When you use software that is specifically designed and built for your business requirements, you can take advantage of certain exceptional features that others would not consider. You can create unique features to give yourself a competitive edge over others who do not use your custom platform.
Ready-made solutions, on the other hand, do not have that level of exclusivity. The functionality they have for your company is shared with other competitors in your domain. You must structure the business processes around the pre-built features.
Ready-made solutions, on the other hand, have been extremely cutting-edge in recent years. Aside from the standard features, these solutions can also be customized to include niche features. You can add exclusive functionality to your ready-made program if you have access to the source code. As a result, if you have a particular business concept and eLearning platform functionality in mind, custom solutions provide the best competitive advantages. You can expect a fair level of exclusivity from ready-made solutions if vendors include the source code.
Software development, like the eLearning industry, is a massive market. Ready-made solutions now offer expertise and control comparable to custom eLearning solutions thanks to increasing needs and creativity. In our view, you should first make a list of your objectives and specifications, then you should look for a ready-made solution that promises to easily fulfill those requirements.
Then, you should see if you can use customization to implement the missing specifications. We prefer a ready-made solution that meets your requirements while still allowing you to customize it to cater to your business needs. However, if a ready-made solution is unable to accommodate your primary business goals in any way, we would strongly consider custom eLearning solutions.
Finally, providing the best user experience and better ways to represent stakeholders should be the primary objective. If a ready-made solution cannot provide what you need, don’t be afraid to spend a little more on custom production.
What Is Better: Developing An Educational App Or Buying A Ready-Made One?
Summary: Saving time and effort or running a risk? Buying a ready-made app or building a custom one? Decide for yourself which is your priority – success or stability.
Running A Risk Or Saving Time And Effort? Developing An Educational App…
Developing an educational app can be a lengthy and often expensive process, which, however, necessarily pays off as students get more engaged and motivated. Generation Z children were born with smartphones in their hands and letting them keep these smartphones while studying is the best way to boost their learning performance.
Well, why you should incorporate an educational app into your learning process is not in question. The question is how to incorporate an educational app into your learning process. Should you build your own app or buy a ready-made one? Here, we will consider the pros and cons of both options.
Buying A Ready-Made Educational App
1. Do Not Reinvent The Wheel
Whatever your idea is, most likely, a similar software product has already been developed. Why would you do an unnecessary job and create something that already exists? Instead, you can buy a ready-made app and focus on the content you are going to incorporate into it.
2. Save Time And Effort
Developing an educational app from scratch is a time-consuming process. You need to find a team of professionals, conduct a discovery stage, design UI and UX, write code and test it, fix bugs, and only then, deploy your app. Buying a ready-made solution is faster, cheaper, and simpler as you skip most educational app development stages.
3. Use Someone Else’s Tech Expertise
There are ready-made apps with a variety of functions implemented, including kinetic interaction (touching, moving, scaling, and swiping), audial interaction (talking, repeating, singing, and listening), or cognitive interaction (dealing with exercises, images, videos, or symbolic systems). There are solutions for implementing Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, AR and VR, so you don’t need to hire a team of different specialists to implement all these functions. In other words, you do not need to worry about how to create your own educational app. Instead, you simply rely on the proven technical expertise of other people and focus on what you can do best.
4. Know The Price Beforehand
When you are buying a ready-made app, you know the final price of it in advance. When you are building your own app, in most cases, you follow “Time and Material” approach, which means that the final price may vary. Surely, if you are on a limited budget, you may discuss a fixed price approach with your development team. However, buying an educational app is still more secure.
5. Expect No Surprises
When buying a ready-made app, you can look and click through the final product. If you choose to build an educational app, regardless of how precise your requirements are, the final product always comes with a bit of surprise. To compare, if you buy a ready-made apartment, you can go through the rooms, check the furniture, and get the actual feeling of your new home. But when you buy an apartment with bare walls, you cannot know what to expect at the end however nice the design looked on paper.
Note: The price of a ready-made app will depend on the product type, platform, and functionality.
Building Your Own Educational App
1. Keep Up With The Trends
The software market is extending at a rapid pace, and the number of technologies, functions, solutions is growing rapidly. Are you willing to implement one of those newest decisions? Most probably, there are no ready-made software solutions yet, but you can create your own education app. Later, you might even sell it to other people. So hurry up and enter this niche while it is still vacant!
2. Implement Exactly The Features That You Need
If you buy a ready-made solution, you will be provided a variety of functions, most of which you will not even need. If you want to focus on your needs without dispersing your attention, build your own app.
3. Think Of Your Particular User
Before developing an app, clearly define your purpose and study the preferences of your target user. Do you create your app for teachers, students, pupils, librarians, drivers, language learners or people with special needs? Building a custom app will let you take into account all these specific features, design the optimal UI/UX, and incorporate the best content. More than that, by creating your own app from scratch, you will have an opportunity to incorporate your application with social networks that are most popular in your country or area, to make your app culture-specific, to develop it in any language and make sure it is error-free. In particular, while building an educational app, think of the most relevant and catchy motivational messages to retain your target audience.
4. Spare Yourself Unnecessary Problems
If you decide to buy a ready-made solution, you cannot be a hundred percent sure that the code is clean, that the app is bug-free, and that nothing is going to break when you start scaling your product. Instead, if you decide to build an educational app, you start from scratch. You will have full control over the quality, and it will depend solely on the technical expertise of your team.
5. Test Your Idea
If you are not sure if your idea is going to work, build a minimum viable product first. It will let you try out your idea and analyze its performance. According to the findings, you will be able to adjust it to the needs of your user and be sure that the project is going to succeed.
Note: The price of building your own app will depend on the product type, platform, functionality, and salaries for IT specialists in a certain region.
Building An In-House Learning Management System: 4 Pros And 4 Cons To Consider
Summary: Should you build your LMS from the ground up or invest in a ready-made solution? In this article, I’ll share 4 benefits and 4 drawbacks of building an in-house Learning Management System.
4 Pros And 4 Cons Of Building An In-House Learning Management System
A Learning Management System gives you the power to develop and deploy online training for a worldwide audience. It can also complicate matters if you don’t choose the ideal solution for your organization’s needs. The first question to consider is whether you want to piece together your own software package to create a robust system, or opt for an LMS solution that’s already available on the market. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of an in-house Learning Management System as opposed to pre-built third party platforms.
Benefits Of Building An In-House Learning Management System
1. Complete LMS Customization
You’re able to customize every aspect of the LMS when you develop it in house, from reporting capabilities to the eLearning authoring tools and deployment methods. On the other hand, a pre-packaged LMS platform may only offer limited customizability. For example, you can adjust the layout of the dashboards or the color scheme. However, the software elements are already in place and cannot be substituted.
2. Improved Functionality
Greater LMS customization translates into better functionality. Personalization means that you can add features and tools that most benefit your organization, instead of having to make do with the options that are already ingrained into a pre-built Learning Management System. Your team is also able to pick-and-choose specific elements to make the LMS more user-friendly based on their skills, talents, and experience level. They can fine-tune every aspect of the user interface to make it more intuitive. Granted, personalizing the software suite does take a certain degree of tech know-how to begin with.
3. Brand Integration
Many modern LMS solutions allow you to add your own logo and color scheme. Building an in-house LMS gives you the power to fully integrate your branding. In fact, you’re able to incorporate your brand identity from day one, instead of having to incorporate it into a pre-made template. Your entire online training program reflects your image on the front and back end, thereby enhancing the aesthetics and boosting credibility.
4. Targeted Expenses
When you create your own LMS from scratch you only pay for the LMS features you require, instead of having to invest in a package deal. For example, your organization may not necessarily need certain LMS metrics or support services. Thus, you can omit these LMS features from your custom-built LMS and include functions that may not be available in pre-built systems. You have the ability to piece together the perfect in-house Learning Management System for your training needs. All of this equates to better resource allocation, since you can target your expenses and streamline your LMS budget. Building an in-house LMS allows you to maximize your LMS investment by omitting unnecessary expenses.
Drawbacks Of Building An In-House Learning Management System
1. Greater Investment
One of the perks of an in-house LMS is not having to pay for extraneous features. However, developing your own LMS can also incur greater expenses. This is due to the fact that you have to piece together your own software package. On the other hand, most LMS solutions have everything you need to get started, including reporting and content creation tools. You must also consider the human resources involved. In some cases, you may need to hire a dedicated team to develop and deploy the LMS and the online training content.
2. Slower Turnaround Time
LMS platforms that are ready to go have all the elements you need to develop, deploy, and track online training. You don’t have to spend time researching the various software components or customizing the system. It’s a complete package, even if there are limited personalization options. As such, an in-house LMS has slower turnaround times. You cannot deploy onboarding online training resources in a matter of days. Instead, you must develop, test, and fine-tune your new in-house Learning Management System before it’s ready to launch. That also involves test driving the software that you want to include in the LMS platform. For example, reporting tools or apps so that you can track learner performance.
3. Risk Of Technical Challenges
There’s always a chance that you’ll have to deal with tech glitches, even if you purchase pre-built Learning Management Systems. However, the risk is higher when you develop an in-house LMS. First you must ensure that all the software elements are compatible with one another. Then there are programming and customization hiccups to consider. Migrating data to the new LMS is more difficult than expected, or the online training content is only accessible on certain devices, when it needs to be multiplatform-friendly. This leads to numerous rounds of troubleshooting and revisions to alleviate the problem.
4. More Maintenance
There are two drawbacks to bear in mind in regard to the maintenance of an in-house LMS. The first is that you have to continually upgrade your bespoke LMS as technology evolves. There may be new software to integrate a year from now, whereas a cloud-based SaaS platform takes care of the upgrades and keeps track of tech trends. The second downside is having to upkeep your own LMS and monitor individual software updates. For example, downloading the latest version of the eLearning authoring tools that you integrate into your in-house LMS, or purchasing new reporting software to provide more detailed analytics for your organization. You must invest the time and resources into ongoing maintenance, whereas this is generally included in the monthly subscription/licensing fees for pre-built Learning Management Systems.
Which LMS approach is right for your organization? Should you invest in a pre-built system or build your in-house LMS and completely customize the LMS platform? The answer depends on your training needs, eLearning budget, and in-house talent, as well as the overall demand for resources. Rapid turnaround times may require a pre-made option, while a bespoke solution is ideal for teams who want complete creative control and don’t mind investing time or resources.
Looking for more than just a Learning Management System? Take this free trial.
eLearning Software Development: Template Vs. Custom Solution
Summary: When developing an eLearning product, there is always the question of whether to custom develop it, or choose the easier way with templates. The answer depends on multiple details of the project. So, what’s best for you: templates or a custom solution?
There are various approaches to developing an eLearning software. One of the most essential steps to be done before the development is to plan the structure of the future project and choose the main instruments. For instance, one of the most common discussions is which to choose: templates or custom solutions.
Actually, before making the final decision, it is best to consider your ideas and plan your product. Then, you can check the market in case there are similar products. When there are already existing projects which meet your requirements, you may consider buying a ready-made project with the possibility to make corrections and changes. Nevertheless, it is important to ensure that there will be access to the code if you want to be able to make corrections.
It may be the easiest and the hardest solution at the same time. The reason is that, obviously, the easiest decision to make is to develop from scratch. Nevertheless, this will require more resources and effort. Choosing the custom approach allows the development of a fully-customizable product that will satisfy all your requirements. For instance, developers can enable various technologies and software, such as different UI/UX design patterns, or innovative features like Artificial Intelligence and machine learning.
First of all, if you choose this option, you have the chance to get a fully unique outcome. When the project is being developed from scratch, there are literally no limits except your imagination. Of course, this will change during the process due to the boundaries of various tools that will be chosen. Clearly, each programming language, framework, or library has its own strengths and weaknesses. Nevertheless, the developer is the one to decide which to choose and how to shape the whole structure of the future platform.
In addition, thanks to the full development process, the development team will always have access to the code. As a result, it will be easier and faster to fix any bugs or errors, as well as to implement new components and add-ons. It also includes the possibility to manage and develop your own components and implement them into the system later.
On the flip side, in order to develop a custom-made high-quality product, you need a lot of resources. Firstly, you need an experienced development team that is competent to develop such a project, especially if it is large. Consequently, you will have to spare more money. Moreover, development from scratch requires more time in order to create the code-related aspects, to test and to run them.
Alternatively, instead of choosing the custom approach, you can consider the template one. As was mentioned before, you have to shape your idea and plan the structure of the future platform. It is possible that the main aspects can found embodied in an existing platform. In such a case, all you need is to find one and make some changes.
Obviously, there are a lot of ready-made products that provide at least the basic platform, that can be customized or upgraded according to the customer’s needs. Besides, there are also website constructors like WordPress where anyone can create their own site or even web app. Nonetheless, this approach is clearly less customizable than the custom one.
Templates are partly similar to widgets or plug-ins, meaning that they can exist in the form of pre-made components that provide a single feature . They are facilitated elements that can work independently of each other. Also, templates can exist in the form of a simplified structure that can be slightly changed or rebuilt, depending on the requirements. As a result, the user can combine different templates into a single system without fear that they will interfere with each other.
However, using templates is still limited. Mostly, the changes that can be done are not essential changes. In fact, templates are created to be an already working component that have their specific function or feature. Therefore, you have to search for a specific template that corresponds with the tasks you need. In other words, you cannot reshape it as you wish.
This is the flip side of using templates. On the one hand, they allow customization and provide various features. At the same time, they can’t be significantly changed, because they are already complete. So, most of the changes are cosmetic rather than functional.
When To Choose: Template Vs. Custom
Actually, this is not an easy question. It is fair to say that each approach can be a great choice, but the final result is defined by the developer and not the chosen approach. Nevertheless, when talking about choosing one of these solutions, it is possible to characterize the conditions in which it would be better to choose each of them.
For instance, templates are a great solution in case of limited resources, like money or time. They obviously simplify the development process. Moreover, they can be used in case of rapid changes, for example, if your platform is regularly updated or tied to various events. Templates allow the fast creation of alternative pages with various specifics.
Templates are also a great choice if you need an easy solution to develop a common platform with basic features. They are obviously cheaper than developing from scratch. Moreover, using a template does not require high-level development skills. Frankly speaking, most of them can be used without any programming background at all. Templates are regularly doing everything they are meant to without the need for human involvement. As we mentioned before, they exist as ready-to-use structures, in which one has the opportunity to make slight “cosmetic” changes.
It is possible to compare templates with Lego constructors: there are various pre-built parts, and customers can combine these parts as they wish, but also in accordance with some predetermined rules. For instance, you can’t change the shape of the parts, but you can find the ones that suit you best. At the same time, custom solutions are more like plasticine: you are not limited at all and can change the form as you like. Nevertheless, to make a good-looking product, you will have to spare much more time and it will require more skill as well.
Obviously, the custom approach is almost 100% customizable. It allows the implementation of any features and functions, but in order to make them work, you will need an experienced team and a lot of resources. Even though it is harder to upgrade or change the whole structure, it is still possible. Custom solutions are a better choice in case you are going to develop an innovative or large-scale product. Also, it is the only solution if there are no available templates.
Eventually, it is impossible to define the conditions for choosing each option. The best approach possible is to shape the project at first, and only after that to make a decision, based on the specifics of the final product .