customisations of applications software?

5 pts.
Tags:
Application development
Development
Advantages and disadvantages of customising applications software
ASKED: June 10, 2008  2:54 PM
UPDATED: September 11, 2008  2:13 PM

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Some times I see developers, for example me myself, “empowering” the user by allowing them to customize an application to make it fit their needs. Usually under a catchy name like “My Whatever”.

Ideally the user should be presented a finished application that already fits their needs out of the box.
The customization can be present if and only if it’s a validated user requirement. What I see is developers that, instead of researching the user’s requirements in deep they slap them a customizable application effectively delegating in the user part of the application development.

Taking it to the limit, a developer could install Eclipse or DevStudio in the user’s computer and tell them that it’s the ultimately customizable, all-capable, application.
I know that this is not what you mean, it’s just an exaggerated, contrived, example.

We must be aware that the users are not prepared to do programming. For example, an extremely customizable application like Excel has since ever a macro capability that later on turned Excel programmable, using a really good version of Visual Basic.
Well, it happens that very few users can write VB macros.
This doesn’t make them a lower form of life, it’s the IT pros’ job to do the programming and the users should only be involved in domain-related decisions, which they can handle with ease.

So, what do you mean customizable? If the application fulfills the user’s charter then this is the point where customization has to start, and the customization options must comply with …
<ul>
<li> the user has to perceive value, the contrary of “choose your look&feel”, and</li><li> the user must understand the meaning of the options.</li>
</ul>

Just to start a discussion …

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Any Standard or non-standard software never meet all the requirements of a customer. Little to moderate to large customization is always required to meet customers legal, statutory or other requirements.
Advantages: Turns customer happy, increases his usage and satisfaction level, increases product’s versatility and acceptability level.
Disadvantages: time spent, version control, problem for creating different customized patches and upgrades, cost increase

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  • carlosdl
    I think the level of customization must be analyzed, because in my experience, applications too customized are subject of many changes, and software maintenance is one of the most expensive tasks in development. I think it is better to build a customizable app than a customized app, being all of the parameters stored on a database, so the app does not need to be modified every time you need to change it's behavior.
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