Flexibility, control and freedom are three of the biggest business needs for web sites, yet, so many senior managers do not know how to achieve this unless they design their own web site with the expertise of their own web development team. If your organisation is not in a position to hire it’s own design team then be sure know what to ask for to obtain the flexibility to have your web site reflect the feel of your business, to have control over who develops the site and implements updates, upgrades and other changes for you as well as the freedom to adapt your web site’s capability to meet your business’ developing use of technology.
When you look at your list of developers there are some important questions to ask about the production of web sites and the contractual agreements that are associated with them. Perhaps, today, the most important question to ask is how much of their work is based around open source technologies and who retains ownership over any works that are not based on open source technologies.
Open Source is a term used in the Information Technology industry to describe products or ‘code’ that has been licensed in a manner that allows the free use, modification and, usually, also permits re-release under the same license conditions (though this is not obligatory). One of the most thorough Open Source licenses is the Gnu Public License or GPL. Many very well known web development products are licensed under GPL including Joomla and Drupal, both web site content managers that have active development communities; WordPress and b2evolution, content tools to assist in web sites for bloggers and education content managers including Moodle. Databases that power web sites such as postgreSQL and MySQL are also available under GPL.
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