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The Problem With Website Builders

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Nowadays, website and app builders are a serious alternative over professional developers and web agencies. They allow non-technical users to assemble advanced features, enabling anyone to build complex websites and mobile apps. Millions of websites today run on website builders like Wix, Squarespace and Weebly. And lately, Google is joining the party!

 

Google App Maker

On 30 November, 2016, Google announced the latest addition to their G Suite (formerly known as Google Apps) called App Maker. It allows anyone to launch a mobile app with advanced plugins coming out the wazoo. You can find a quick demo below and see its many neat possibilities.
Google App Maker adding a map

 

DIY Platforms Disrupting Web and Mobile Development

DIY (“Do It Yourself”) website and app builders like Google’s App Maker challenge labor intensive agencies and freelancers. In fact, the web and mobile development industry clearly moves towards a state where humans aren’t needed anymore. Next generation website builders like TheGrid is bringing artificial intelligence into the industry, even Wix has made an Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) to build a website with no human input. Likewise, Wiredelta® pushes this trend by combining artificial intelligence and open source software.

However, there is one glaring issue with these DIY platforms:

Website and app builders are all built using open source technologies, but the websites and apps they generate for their users are close sourced.

Uh oh… Now what do we do? Sadly, most people don’t pay much attention to the open vs. close sourced discussion. This becomes a severe long-term issue once they realize how they get trapped in the confines of close sourced DIY platforms.

 

An Open or Close Sourced Web and Mobile Future?

As long as DIY platforms generate closed source websites, users cannot access and export their work from these platforms. Tragically, users realize this when it’s too late. Why oh why do DIY platforms have to deceive customers like this?
Think of it this way: Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, and friends have poured millions upon millions into building their incredible platforms. You wouldn’t be able to access your personal website’s source code or database at will. Instead, you would need to see the entire source code of their entire platform. That’s simply not going to fly in these companies’ boardrooms!
Users initially don’t realize the gravity of this problem to their business until they face customer support that gives nothing but bad news. It’s a brilliant (albeit crafty) business model. Their free trial versions are perfect lures to maximize the number of users on the platform. Once the trial expires, the user feels compelled to continue their website since they’ve already spent a lot of time on it. This, ladies and gents, is a classic switching cost problem.

 

Why Should I Care About Being Able to Export My Work?

Imagine that you set up a web shop using a website builder to sell your products online. At first, the web shop is just another way of selling your products, but soon enough, it becomes a key revenue stream for your business! Before you know it, people will line up demand for more advanced functionality on your web shop. For instance, they might want direct chat support, a review section of each product and inventory control so products listed are not sold out, and so forth.
Some of these requested features might be available on your website builder of your choice, but what about features that aren’t possible to add? Wellllll, you could ask a developer to make them, assuming that can access the source code and database. But if it’s closed sourced, you’re stuck.
So, what options are you left with? Unfortunately, two very poor ones; you can either wait for the DIY platform to add the feature you need, or you can start rebuilding your web shop from scratch and have a developer build it in open source. 

 

Close Sourced Means Less Feature Options

Let’s take a look at two very real alternatives: Wix and WordPress. Wix is a close sourced platform offering a couple of hundred features (or plugins) to their users. On the other hand, WordPress is open sourced and approaching 50,000 free plugins! The difference is nothing short of staggering!
The web and mobile development world always moves at the speed of light. Developers are in a constant race to find new ways of communicating, selling, and promoting their material online. The key difference between a close sourced and open sourced platform lies in the number of developers making new user-requested features. By and large, open source simply gets the most developer love and that’s all there is to it.
In all fairness, Wix has the advantage of controlling both their platform and their users’ actions while WordPress can’t. However, WordPress’s freedoms also means that thousands if not tens of thousands of developers worldwide contribute to the platform. Wix, by contrast, only has the budget to hire a few hundred people to maintain their product at best. The moral of the story: more diverse and complex features will always be added to open source platforms like WordPress, whereas Wix’ developers will be under heavy stress to keep up. Score 1 for open source.

 

Open Source Fighting Back

The close sourced DIY agenda concerns us, but luckily other platforms are pushing back. As mentioned in Why is WordPress so popular?, 26% of all websites run on the open source mega-success. The challenge here is merely a technical gap. It’s simply easier to set up a website with a DIY platform than it is with a CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal.
Fortunately, Wiredelta works tirelessly to bridge that gap for good, making open source platforms like WordPress as easy to set up and use as DIY platforms.

 

At Wiredelta, We Believe In Open Source

We are currently in the final stages of building a revolutionary platform, which offers a simple process to assemble a website or app using common open source frameworks like WordPress and Ionic. We are at odds with today’s simplistic DIY platforms; it’s true. However, we maintain the upper hand by tapping into open source’s immensely superior libraries and feature options.
You can be the early bird that catches the worm by signing up for our demo on https://wiredelta.com/signup. The future of website and app-building begins with you, so let’s build the future together!

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