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How code marketplaces can cut application development costs

Paul Rubens | March 11, 2014
Buying code modules from a curated marketplace can help usher applications into production on time and on budget. Because code marketplaces guarantee that developers will actively maintain modules, concerns about support are largely mitigated.

"Whenever there was a problem, we had to fix it ourselves," he says. "We would try to reach out to the developers, but most of the time they weren't responsive as there was no incentive to help. As a business, if you are using 10 or 20 libraries, you want someone with the expertise to maintain them for you."

Benayoun adds that licensing issues also made it far less straightforward than he would have liked when his company used code modules developed by third-parties. "We always had to make sure that the license we used (for any module) was compatible with other licenses we were using and with the goal of the project," he says. That meant talking to (and paying) a lawyer each time they used a new module to ensure that they could comply with the license.

Binpress (and other marketplaces) make the licensing issue much more straightforward. Not everything that's available on Binpress is open source, but a license is always available that is close to an open source license, Benayoun says.

Some code is available on terms that allow the licensee to sublicense it, similar to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's MIT license. Some developers offer a support license. Most licensees chose to buy a full commercial license, sometimes with additional features to the open source offering, he says.

'Money Back Guarantee' If Support Never Comes
Like the Apple and Android app stores, Binpress takes a 30 percent cut of each transaction. Benayoun justifies this with the argument that it's far more convenient for businesses to go to a code marketplace than to deal directly with developers who may or may not be responsive and who may not be very proficient. "We check that the code is of a decent quality," he says.

Chupamobile also takes a 30 percent cut. Like Binpress, it offers refunds in certain circumstances if customers aren't happy with the code they buy. If users encounter a problem, and the author doesn't provide the necessary support, then the "14 day money-back guarantee" kicks in, Argiolas says.

For module developers, meanwhile, these marketplaces provide buyers for the software they have written, as well as CRM and license management tools to make their life easier, Benayoun says. If developers update their code, for example, Binpress emails their customers. For independent developers who devote up to 10 percent of their time to managing licenses, this is a big help, he says.

Code Marketplaces Do Their Best to Mitigate Malicious Software Risk
The obvious danger of using any code you haven't developed yourself is whether it can be trusted. There's always a risk that it could have a hidden malicious component that would be introduced into any software that incorporates the code.


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