Before understanding the advantages of open source web-to-print solutions, it is imperative that you should know what is open source software?
Here I am referring to open source platforms on which web-to-print solutions are developed. The web-to-print or web2print solutions are either build on open source platforms or on close source platforms.
As, I have been in the e-commerce and web-to-print industry since 2014, and have worked in both types of platforms. Yes, I had worked with close web-to-print solution providers and also with open web-to-print solution providers and platforms. I can help you in deciding the platform you should opt.
Let’s first look at the advantages of open-source web-to-print solutions.
Pricing of Open Sources Platforms
We know that open-source platforms are FREE to use. Any developer knowing that platform skills can access the source code, modify it, and enhance it as per his client’s requirements.
Ultimately, the platform price is FREE. So if you are looking to build your print commerce website then you will be able to get an e-commerce platform at no cost. The only price you will be paying is to construct as per your requirements.
On these open-source platforms, all the features are in-built which must for an e-commerce website are. Such as Product creations, Category creations, order management, Customer management, Basic features of Marketing, Reporting, and analysis.
There are many web-to-print solutions available in the market at a very affordable cost. Closed source solutions are much costlier though when compared to open source.
There was a buzz in the past that open source platforms are not secure. It was correct as it is open-source, and the website built on it was easily hackable. Even the data was not secure. But this is no longer true now. Most of these platforms have now worked a lot on keeping the security checks.
Especially Magento, a widely used open-source platform for e-commerce websites, was criticized heavily for being less secure. It was easy prey for hackers.
But ever since the launch of Magento 2x versions, the websites build on it are very much secured and safe.
Integrated management benefits can be gained by using open-source software. Common Information Model (CIM) and web-based enterprise management (WBEM) technology are used by Open source solutions. The usage of these high-end technologies gives the advantage to integrate and combine server, application, and service and workstation management. The administration of the solution/software becomes easy and very efficient with this integration.
Simple License Management
The headache and compliance of licenses are eliminated in open source solutions. You can install it as many times as you want. The restriction of geographical location does not exist.
The worry of renewing of licenses is no longer there. The web-to-print solution is your baby forever. However, there are few Software companies that have created the designer tool and have integrated/embedded on these open-source platforms and have developed a complete package.
These companies sell this web-to-print solution as a SaaS model where they are charging for their Designer Tool, which is not open-source.
The Quality of Solution/Software
The quality of the solutions don’t deteriorate at all using open source platforms. Since the source code is available, you can hire a professional and can manipulate the code and create as per your requirement.
Most of the features are designed for a few tweets and tricks. It can be customized according to your need. This is the reason, why open source solutions are more cost-effective when compared to closed source software. Since most of the features are already built-in and hence the cost goes down considerably.
There are several forums and groups available on social media to help if you are stuck. You can get assistance from these online communities. However, the platforms themselves do have their support team for your assistance.
Nearly all web-to-print solution providers do provide support and maintenance to their clients. So getting after-sales support is not a big issue
Enhance able and Scalable
The open-source web-to-print solutions are highly and easily scalable. You can modify the code as per your need. The only restricted code will be the designer tool. The solution provider may or may not give you access to the designer tool. The rest of the functionality is open and you can enhance and modify the way you want.
Over and above, if you have opted for a web-to-print solution based on the Magento platform, then the Magento extensions are easily available in the market to fulfill your need and requirements at a very nominal price.
So if you are looking for functionality that is not there built-in default Magento platform, then you can purchase the extension from the Magento Market place or from any other Magento Extension providers and fulfill your requirement.
Before making a decision to go with the web-to-print solution, you should be aware that the solution which you are going to purchase is an open-source or close source. Understand the pros and cons of both the types of platforms and then make a wise decision as per your business model and budget.
The web-to-print Open source platform is cost-effective and highly scalable compared to close source.
The closed source platforms have a lot of restrictions and also if you wish to add the new feature as per your need then you have to approach the solution provider and pay based on the project.