As you read this article, I assume that you are planning to build a website & you are in a dilemma to decide whether to use Pre-built scripts like Joomla/WordPress/OSCommerce or to develop a custom script meeting your specific requirements.

This has been a million dollar question for all those who decide to start-up a business with online presence, but end-up consuming lot of time in research & discussion with programmers/developers. Finally end up with what the programmer suggests & go with either of these without knowing what is the best way to fulfill their requirements.

Let me first deal with the Pre-built scripts.

WHY SHOULD I RE-INVENT THE WHEEL – Ask this question to yourself if you opt to go with custom scripts.

If you plan to start-up a blog site, then there is already a script which does this & WordPress stands ahead on top of all the pre-built blogging scripts. All you need to do is just download the script, install in your web server & start tweaking it to match your themes / functionality.

If you plan to set-up a simple / basic Content Management System (CMS), there are scripts like Joomla / Drupal which does this & you can download & install it to your web server & tweak it to meet your requirements.

All you need is basic understanding of how to upload files to the server & follow the instructions provided by the script vendor & you will be able to do it within minutes.You get regular patches / themes / contributions / add-ons provided by the script vendor as well as community which actively supports the scripts.

You will not be the only one to face any problems with the scripts & many would have faced the same problems that you have with the script & the community would have given the solution in the forums associated with the script vendor support site. So you don’t need a third person to help you fix the issues, but you can do it by following the steps / procedures mentioned in the forums by community members.

But you have to check the licenses associated with each script, Terms of Services, Copyright Infringements & adapt to all legal bindings that comes with the pre-built scripts.

Now let me deal with Custom scripts.

After doing a research on the web with the help of Google, still if you don’t find any pre-built scripts that meets your requirements, then the only option is to go with custom scripts development.

First you need to write-up a detailed specification document along with any wire-frames or UI prototypes that will help the developer or development firm to understand the requirements.

Choosing a developer or firm is the second difficult aspect, as you need to check his reputation, his experience level in dealing custom scripts & also safer to cross-check with his clients for references

Once you choose the developer, discuss with him on the project & make sure he understands the requirements & then finalize the estimate on time & cost along with delivery deadline.

The main drawback in dealing with custom script is, you won’t get support from community & have to rely on the developer or firm that helped you develop the script. If you lose relationship with the developer, then you need to put extra effort to find a replacement developer & give him enough time to study the script that is been built by previous developer.

With custom script, you can own the script copyright, modify it, sell it without any copyrights / licenses from third person.You can do whatever you like to with the script & there is no one to question you. In short there are pros & cons with Pre-built as well as Custom scripts.

Custom Scripts

  • No license required
  • Need to rely on developer
  • Free to do whatever you require
  • Requires time to develop
  • No Copyrights from third person

Pre-built Scripts

  • License required as stated by the vendor
  • Vendor Support as well as Community support
  • Limitations provided by the vendor
  • Easy to install & modify
  • Copyrights with the vendor

Hope this article gives you suggestions to decide either to go with Custom scripts or Pre-built scripts.