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Starting a Tech Business: A Practical Guide for Anyone Creating or Designing Applications or Software by Alex Cowan

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Evaluating Piece Parts

The key to evaluating piece parts for your architecture is to piggyback. You never want to answer a question someone else (indeed, probably many people) has answered. Aside from the specific questions about whether it's the right fit for what you need, you must ask six questions about an application you're thinking of using as part of your system:

1. Does this application have staying power?
2. Are we using the application in a manner consistent with the rest of the base? If not, does our use require special support or compatibility that's at risk?
3. Will the application's authors keep it current and respond to community-driven and market-driven requests for enhancements?
4. How abundant are add-ins the application supports? Do they align well with our intended use? An active third-party development community is a positive sign.
5. How large is the population of experienced engineers we can hire to work on this application?
6. How does its price compare with substitutes?

Let's take two of Enable Quiz's proposed piece parts: Joomla! (CMS) and Freeside (billing) and run them through this list of questions.

Example 1: Joomla! as Enable Quiz CMS

Joomla! looks pretty strong in terms of staying power. It's an open-source project supported by a nonprofit, which means that their storyline differs from the typical software company that creates a product, sells it to as many people as possible, and competes in the marketplace. We'll cover open source in more ...

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