As a business owner myself, I understand the technology challenges that other business owners face. And as a 25 year veteran developer, I have a deep understanding of how web apps are built and maintained, and the implications that technology and platform decisions have on the health of the software and the ability for it to be supported in the future. I am also very aware of the camp wars that play out every day on tech forums and in the comments sections of popular blog sites.When it comes to web app development, there are many choices for the platform with which to build it. One of the biggest choices is whether to go with open source or proprietary. Open source typically includes Java, PHP, or Ruby on Rails. Proprietary typically means Microsoft Asp.Net.Unfortunately, there are many businesses that are simply unaware of the long term implications of choosing one platform over another. The open source community is very loud, and their biggest argument, that open source means “free” and Microsoft means $$$, resonates throughout the business world.So how do you decide which platform is right for your business? Free and open source software is great in theory, but when you need to bank the future of your business on your software, you should choose a platform that has corporate support. Building your business on free tools may seem like a good idea at first, but when you start relying on the future of the platform for your business, with open source there are no guarantees.The HeartBleed bug that affected OpenSSL is a perfect example of what I am talking about. Many businesses decided to secure their sensitive data using technology they got for free. This seems crazy to me. Not that Microsoft hasn’t had its share of vulnerabilities, but they are a solid company that stands behind their technology and when vulnerabilities are found they offer documentation and patches and a strategy to manage risk within software and corporate networks.Choosing the right platform for your business is an important one. Think of it in other terms, would you furnish your office with furniture that you got for free? What type of quality do you think comes with free furniture? What about employees that work for free, what kind of reliability do they offer? If you have machinery that you rely on, did you pick that up from the side of the road for free somewhere? No, of course not. Yet when it comes to software, which is arguably the most vital component in any organization, there is a mindset that it should be free and open source. This is very unfortunate. Don’t bank the future of your business on free software.  You’ll be better prepared for the future and you’ll give your customers a sense of trust and security that you chose a software platform that has the support of a company like Microsoft behind it. *image above courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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