The 3rd party vendor fallacy

Tom Lous
4 min readFeb 11, 2022

History repeats itself. I remember when the web (1.0 at the time :-) was booming and people were struggling maintaining their website’s content. The options were either to have it all be part of the massive index.php with a phpmyadmin view to manage the content. Or have this elaborate content management framework (like Joomla, Drupal, etc) that (at that time) limited you how your content could be rendered. Custom plugins would help to make it a bit more manageable, but it was very restrictive.

3rd party vendors

Enter the 3rd party vendors. They had the ideal solution. A mix between some development (but low-code enough that anyone could do it) and rigid, and often fancy looking, cms that would offer you enough support that it would work out of the box and if not, they had 24/7 support.

The ironic thing is that I don’t remember nay of those names, because they have all lost out to either one of the big open source CMS or to the build it yourself (but now with other low level frameworks).

Why did they lose out? Well in my opinion it is because what they sell as the sweet-spot between development and use is actually the worst of both.

They didn’t have the resources to compete with open source initiatives to improve their base system and they offered only frustration to developers when they wanted to do something which was not possible within the low-code framework.

In short they failed to deliver on their promise to make everything easier. They made everything harder, but now with a vendor lock-in.

I don’t believe they were nefarious, but the internal engineers developing the product had no real idea how it was being used or what the actual problems were that developers were facing. They had no real incentive to optimise for the real world, or they could not keep up with open source initiatives that were fed by the same engineers that were using the actual product.

This was the disconnect that made all 3rd party close source cms doomed to fail.

Data Engineering

I’ve left the web development scene a while back, so i don’t know what the current situation is, but here now in the…

Tom Lous

Freelance Data & ML Engineer | husband + father of 2 | #Spark #Scala #ZIO#BigData #ML #Kafka #Airflow #Kubernetes | Shodan Aikido