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Build vs Buy - Sourcing a solution as a developer

I don't want to say, "As a software developer.." because this may only apply to me specifically, so I've rewritten this intro with that in mind...

When I need a web app - be it a to do list, team management tools, etc. - my immediate reaction is to consider building it myself. Why? I'd like to think it's because I am a developer who builds web based applications and feel as though, since this is my given expertise, I could "knock something out" faster than it would take me to find something that does exactly what I expect (nay, demand!) such a solution's feature set to have out-of-the-box.

Yes, I am apparently my own worst customer, but I digress.

Here's the thing that struck me odd this morning, and kicked off this post: When I needed a task management app and was thinking that the primary demand is that it be a mobile device accessible application, I didn't once consider building an android app. I simply thought - even as a developer who has built applications for that platform - that I'd pop into the platform's app store and grab a solution that best fits my needs. Is Google Tasks a perfect fit? Hell No! But, eh, it'll get the job done and if I want to sit down at my desk there's always a browser interface.

While I could go down the rabbit hole of "why can't we have nice things", my focus is more on the process of sourcing a solution to a given need and why I (and I suspect most of the people in the Notes / Domino community) am happily taking on an artisan DIY mindset in one scenario and a seemingly "MDF is good enough for a damp basement" mentality for another.

Seriously though, I'm apparently totally OK using a cloud offering when it comes to a Mobile Device First (heh, "MDF" pun not intended but noted) but my brain starts building out data structures and aggregating sources instead of once considering "I should check [ENTER RESOURCE HERE]".

So I thought this might be of interest to those of you who would react in kind: instead of a quick search and browse to find a wheel I sometimes start carving stone in my head.

And while I doubt I'll be able to stop that "carving" because, let's face it, that's a big part of the fun! I'd like to share the process and welcome input from this community as I look for the following solutions:

  1. Contact Relationship Management
  2. Project Management
  3. Support Management

The platform would be HCL Domino v12+, with thin and rich adaptive user experiences depending on the accessing device and task/demands.

First, please leave a comment if you have the same knee-jerk reaction to such a need and find yourself in Domino Designer before you even realize what you're doing so I don't think I'm the only crazy one out here...

-- and please feel free to share your own process for sourcing such solutions or if you have a solution you'd like to share with the community. 

About the author: Chris Toohey

Thought Leadership, Web & Mobile Application Development, Solutions Integration, Technical Writing & Mentoring

A published developer and webmaster of, Chris Toohey specializes in platform application development, solutions integration, and evangelism of platform capabilities and best practices.

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