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Dave Quigley of the CVC
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Building with third party code
To successfully integrate third-party software in your project there are two
critically important steps to follow; the first step is proper planning, the
second step is making the right selection.
This first installation of my three-part series "Building with third party
code" will introduce special considerations to employ at the start of a
project when there is the possibility of utilizing third party software. In Part
B (forthcoming), I will present key evaluation criteria for making the right
selection. To complete the series, in Part C (also forthcoming), I will
introduce a methodology for measuring and assessing your software options.
Part A. Special Considerations
- Know your project's functional, process and workflow requirements.
Before you begin researching third party software make sure you have a
thorough understanding of the problem you're solving. Knowing your application's
requirements, as you analyze the available software options, will ensure you
won't find yourself part way inside a project with software that can not fully
satisfy a requirement.
- Plan adequate time in your project schedule to research the set of third
party options. Even though you are not writing the code yourself, you should
anticipate that utilizing someone else's code requires an amount of developer
time which should be reflected in your project's schedule. There should be
enough time planned so that each option's API's are fully understood. Where load
and performance requirements are critical, you should also plan on adding
additional proto-type development and testing time.
- Add to your schedule time to qualify each software option on its
compatibility in the target software environment (i.e., operating system,
run-time versions, etc...). In addition, you should also qualify each software
option's ease of use (right out of the box); technical support, licensing,
documentation; sample code, demo examples, quality of code, longevity and
history as a software provider, etc. (more on the selection criteria coming in
- Establish communication with the software publisher. Most third-party
software publishers are eager to understand their customers. The interaction
between you and the publisher will provide you with a good measure of their
level of support as well as their ability to meet your application's future
needs. A good software publisher will also recognize that your success in
deploying their component means their own success, and will provide support
adequate to help ensure your own success.
By David E. Quigley
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