In the fast growing industry of online software, web platforms are considered the foundation and more often than not, the success factor behind the most prominent creative service companies and their clients.

The major differences between all web platforms are the two key types, Open Source and Proprietary.

In the fast growing industry of online software, web platforms are considered the foundation and more often than not, the success factor behind the most prominent creative service companies and their clients.

The major differences between all web platforms are the two key types, Open Source and Proprietary.

Any business which is reviewing which web platform to use for their new website or to upgrade their existing should wisely weigh up the differences between these two types.

Why do we say be wise in choice? The answer is simple, if you decide on (or are sold) a web platform without assessing its features and power to be expanded or modified according to your business requirements now and in the future, you could be setting yourself up for serious loss or ongoing expenditure.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OPEN SOURCE AND PROPRIETARY WEB PLATFORMS?

The difference between the two types of web platform is simple…

OPEN SOURCE

Open Source as a type of web platform, is primarily free software which is made available to the general public under a GNU (General Public License).

Open Source platforms are very popular with many developers and development companies, this is due to the flexibility, power and future proof benefits of Open Source.

Some of the most well known and used Open Source web platforms are Joomla!, WordPress and Drupal.The most popular and widely used platform by web developers to create websites and all sorts of web applications is Joomla! which is a Content Management System.

Open Source platforms range in their focus from Content management systems, eCommerce and even multimedia delivery.

One thing to remember about Open Source which is a common misconception is that even thought it is free software, it is not poor quality.

In fact it is very much the opposite, you will find with minimal research that Open Source is secure, reliable, flexible and has plenty of power to drive future enhancements for many years.

PROPRIETARY

Proprietary systems are completely opposite to the basic structure of Open Source. That structure being that most if not all proprietary platforms have ongoing license fees which the user / client is expected to pay.

The license fees may not necessarily be paid by the end user or client but will be covered inside the cost of the company supplying the platform to develop and implement it.

License fees are normally included in the support or hosting fee and treated as normal.Some website design businesses even have their own proprietary web platform which they use for all their services, this is perfectly fine as long as you stay with them and the working relationship goes without a hitch.

Any business/forward thinking person would recognize the faults with this. If said person did not want to be supported by that particular company/platform any more it would mean redevelopment into an alternative, which involves more cost and is essentially starting from scratch.

Proprietary software in a lot of instances can be very good, there are a lot of powerful and feature rich proprietary web platforms out there which will fit the bill in a lot of customer cases, proprietary platforms range with focuses on CMS, eCommerce or multimedia.

Some Open Source web platforms are also proprietary; in this instance you get all the benefits of Open Source but pay license fees to use the software. Some of these solutions are similar to your SaaS web applications or products.

GREAT, BUT WHICH TYPE OF PLATFORM DO I NEED?

So after touching on both types of platform, the real question is, what do you need in a website and a web platform? Do you fit into the Open or Proprietary category as a business and as a customer?

The easiest thing for you as a customer would be to speak with a web design and development company that either supplies an Open Source platform, or Proprietary and choose accordingly.

Obviously either company will try to sell you their particular solution, so you need to identify your needs and ensure the solution on offer will meet those and potential future requirements.