Many programmers believe that building an entire product from the ground up makes them a better developer. However, this romanticized view of coding everything yourself often results in slower output. In reality, leveraging pre-built solutions can speed up development dramatically while still allowing customization. This article explores when it makes sense to use existing tools versus build from scratch.
Leveraging Existing Solutions Over Building from Scratch
Building every software component in-house is time consuming. Existing solutions let developers focus on unique product challenges instead of commodity features. Pre-built options like SDKs and APIs bring benefits like faster implementation, scalability, and easier compliance. Documentation also makes integration straightforward compared to figuring things out during scratch development.
While some view building from scratch as a purer approach, it elongates the path to launching. Using proven solutions gets a minimum viable product to market quicker. Even where customization is required, options like configurable SDKs balance uniqueness and speed. Time saved translates to competitive advantage and the ability to perfect critical user experiences.
Key Questions to Determine the Right Approach
Deciding between leveraging existing solutions or building from scratch requires asking several key questions:
- How much faster can we launch by integrating versus building this component ourselves?
- What level of customization do we need for this feature?
- How much experience do our developers have creating this type of feature?
- What are the industry standards and best practices we need to follow?
- Will we be able to maintain, scale, and update the feature long term if we build it?
Carefully weighing factors like time-to-market, customizability, and long-term maintenance helps determine if integrating makes sense over building.
Additional Benefits of Leveraging Existing Solutions
- Access to dedicated support teams to assist with implementation and ongoing maintenance.
- Regular feature updates and optimizations from vendors with deep focus.
- Confidence in security, compliance, and following coding best practices.
- Easier adoption due to familiar user experiences.
- Not being locked into legacy systems when better solutions emerge.
- Mitigating risks associated with small internal teams and attrition.
- Taking advantage of economies of scale from vendors.
Building everything from scratch may satisfy a desire for technical challenge or craftsmanship. However, leveraging existing solutions speeds up development dramatically. With the ability to customize many pre-built options, products can still differentiate on user experience. Rather than reinventing the wheel, developers should focus innovation on solving truly novel problems.
For example with chat, social and livestream features, Amity Social Cloud can get you up and running quickly with all the features of an engaging social platform. Plus, our API-based SDKs give you total control over your user experience and data so you don’t have to build everything from scratch and maintain the infrastructure.
If you’re looking to enable chat or social experiences in your platform, Feel free to explore the features Amity offers, If you find that a pre-built solution aligns with your business goals, you can start right now by contacting Amity here!