With the steady rise of quality web design Open Source software, a debate has raged about whether or not it is better than the proprietary software available. We believe that Open Source web design software offers considerable advantages over the current proprietary software available, and here’s why.
1. Free/Inexpensive to use
Open Source software is consumer driven and relies on building a community of users and developers, who constantly work to improve the software. This means companies make Open Source software effectively free to use. The designers of the Open Source software (i.e. WordPress) will often create themes or add-ons that they will sell for affordable prices on-top of the base software, that’s free or very cheap. This means that you can use the software for free, unlike a lot of proprietary software companies, that will sell their base level web design software at an inflated price and still charge you for any extras (usually for exorbitant fees).
2. Highly customisable
With the ability for every user of Open Source software to create something completely new, the customisation options are endless. This is because web designers, who use Open Source software, can edit almost every part of code. This means if something is humanly possible with code, a developer can create it. Proprietary software, instead, deliberately limits the available parts of the software code that can be edited. This leads to far less options to customise the appearance and functionality of your website.
3. Constant improvements
Open Source software is constantly being improved by the developers of the software and by the users. This leads to a constantly up-to-date web design experience, with hundreds of cutting edge features. WordPress is a great example of this, with thousands of additions and themes created ever year. Proprietary software, by comparison, will only be updated by the developers themselves, leading to a slower pace of change.
4. Huge community
Popular Open Source software, like WordPress, will have thousands of users, each working to develop their own unique theme, plug-in or website. Many of these experts, make their themes available to the public for free, or at least price them affordably. Many of them also create online tutorials and post them to YouTube. This means on top of the manuals and tutorials released by the developer, you will have access to hundreds of videos showing you exactly how to edit and change your site. In the case of WordPress, there are also forums full of community minded members, who are happy to provide advice to new users. Proprietary software on the other hand, tends to have very limited, non-company provided support that can often be difficult to access.
5. Any developer can make changes
If you hire a web developer and they build your website on Open Source software, like WordPress, and you need to switch developers (for whatever reason), you will be able to find someone who can work on your half-built or completed site. This is because most developers will be able to work on any Open Source software. If your site was being built on proprietary software, any developer will need to be a specialist in that software to be able to make changes to your website.
6. Easy to use
Open Source software’s success is based on popularity, and the web design community is brutal. If your software isn’t built with usability in mind, it will go nowhere. This is why the popular Open Source softwares, like WordPress, are so easy for basic users to use. The WordPress design is very simple, and allows even the most un-technically minded users to make changes to their website. Proprietary software though, will usually require a high level of technical knowledge and detailed understanding of web design to make even the most basic changes. The kicker to this is that if you get your website built on proprietary software and you need to change something, you’ll need to fork out money for something that you could have done yourself on Open Source software.
Well that’s our thoughts on Open Source web design software versus Proprietary software. Hopefully you’re on our side of the debate now.