So you have some new middleware you’d like to integrate with your software and you’re wondering what hidden costs may reveal themselves during the set up process. Here are four questions you’ll want to consider to avoid unexpected costs.
Does the middleware you’ve purchased use a non-standard API or one that is widely adopted like REST? A non-standard API will likely require additional development cycles to understand the requirements and to properly set-up and integrate the middleware with your software. CleanSpeak, a profanity filter and moderation tool set, provides a RESTful API. CleanSpeak’s API is very similar to Twitter’s, which means that developers will be familiar with it.
Are you able to install the middleware or does this have to be done by the vendor? Middleware solutions designed for the client to install are typically easy to install and integrate. Often, systems that must be installed and configured by the vendor are overly complex. These systems are hard to customize and update. If they need to be patched with bug fixes, you will need to wait until the vendor is available. Lining up timelines between you and your vendor can cause frustration and delay.
Has the vendor provided you with the assistance, insight and resources to easily set up and configure the middleware with your software? Without good documentation and support, your development time could go through the roof. Your developers will likely spin their wheels trying to figure out why something doesn’t work or that the documentation is wrong. Vendors who provide extensive documentation and technical support can dramatically reduce integration time. This documentation and support can also help you prepare for the integration by presenting the relevant questions you’ll have to address in the set-up process. This could mean large cost savings for your project.
4. Multiple Environments
Do you operate in multiple environments? It is likely that your team works in two or three (or more) environments. Developers often integrate against a development server. When the project hits a milestone, it is moved to a staging environment for testing. After tests have been completed, the application is moved to production. If the middleware doesn’t make it simpler to run and migrate data between these environments, your team will spend a large amount of time configuring the middleware for each release. Worse yet, if you do all of your work against the production environment, a mistake could bring down the entire application.
These are just four possible scenarios where your project could go over budget and miss deadlines. The best way to prevent these types of problems is to ensure that the middleware you purchase is simple to install, configure, and manage. Also, ensuring that the middleware vendor is capable and committed to supporting your team can dramatically reduce your cost to develop and launch your application.