Tag Archives | software+development

Should you buy software from a web-storefront-only operation?

A client had a demo web site developed by someone else and they were really excited about the interactivity. It was a very rich client application, with drag-and-drop and sizers and interactive widgets. The client wanted my team to use the same platform, which they thought was something-Dot-Net. Once we were finally able to chase down the developer, it turned out to be a commercial Javascript library. We looked up the vendor, and it is a curious site.

They have an online store, one of those generic things with box-shots of a product that’s download only (there must be an add-on for Photoshop or GIMP to make these fake boxes, don’t you think?), an “About Us” page that has the usual mission-statement-ish stuff, but no “Who We Are” or where they are, a “Customer Support” page that lets you submit a ticket online, no history, no searching. The only contacts are email addresses (generic, “marketing,” “legal,” “info” not “bobsmith@example.com”) and an 800-number I have no doubt is an answering service. There’s no online forum. It looks like no one’s home.

Searching about them in Google, there’s their web site, of course. There are a couple of mentions about XSS (cross-site scripting) and a few other exploits posted to the usual security sites, a good sign that someone is actually using the code. A couple of echos of their press releases. And… nothing. No user communities, either a forum on their web site or an ad-hoc third party set of posts. No additional information. No one posting anything, anywhere from @example.com. This is pretty strange.

So, what’s the deal? My best guess is that this is an off-shore operation without any US representation nor tech support, perhaps even no ability to provide support in English. Between a proprietary license and questionable support, I’ve recommended we do some more research and see if some of the open source or openly-available Javascript libraries can fulfill the client’s needs.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.