In this era of lazy developers, third-party resources are the perfect means, to accelerate development processes. However, it is often difficult to rely on those resources in long run. The purpose of this article is to provide you with some best practices that can help you stay out of troubles.
What are third-party resources?
Third-party resources can be plugins, extensions, styles (CSS) or Script used partly or entirely to build your website or application. It is quite impossible to have a solid application/website without relying on other resources. As a matter of fact, most of the CMSs and software are built with community developers codes from various sources. For example, if you want to use WordPress to build your website, you might want to install an SEO plugin or a slider plugin. And as such, you will have to download third-party plugins to achieve your purpose. The same will apply to more than 95% of Content Management or applications.
The question is, how do we have control over an external program? We have to keep in mind that, we might not even know the core programs behind an external code. And relying on third-party plugins or application means we have to play by the developer rules. In order words, if the plugins break, we are in trouble. Or if it has a security failure we don't have a choice than to bear the consequences.
Reasons why calling external code can be dangerous
There are many reasons why calling(using resources from an unknown external server) can hurt our website or application. The most popular of those reasons are :
Performance of the website
Resources from an external domain or server require more computer memories. Moreover, it is difficult to optimize or removes unnecessary information.
Your website will crash if the external code stop working
we can never predict what can happen with a code. In fact, most of the problem with website occurs when a resource is no longer maintained.
How to avoid some common issues when using third-party resources?
It is often easier to install plugins from everywhere to make sure A project is completed on time. Untrusted plugins can cause security failure or long terms problems. Those are few pieces of advice that can help when choosing a plugin.
Use only extensions approved by the cms providers
If you visit the community page of most of the cms, you will find a section for extensions markets. Most of the time, plugins that you find there are either verify or have reviews that you can rely on. Despite the fact that you can't confirm at 100% that a code is trustworthy, you can at least rely on the judgment of the CMS to take a wise decision. If you are using WordPress, for example, you just need to visit the website https://wordpress.org/plugins/
. For Magento, you can visit https://marketplace.magento.com/
Read reviews about extensions
Reviews can help you to decide whether you should use an extension or not. As a matter of fact, many extensions that had bad reviews are unhealthy for websites. You can find those reviews by visiting the CMS official website or by doing a little research on the internet.
Make sure to apply update regularly
Most of the extensions or plugins providers often update their codes according to the new trends. As a matter of fact, 3 or 4 years ago, many servers used PHP 5.6. And most of the applications were working perfectly well with that. Today, we are using PHP 7.x. And as such, most of the developers that wanted to keep their code secured have to update their code. Failure to update your website regularly can affect your security and performance.
Use fewer plugins or third-party resources as much as possible
The more you use third-party programs, the less you have control. For instance, if you have more than 50 programs that use resources from various providers, and there is an issue, it might take time to identify the source. Moreover, for privacy reasons, you hardly have full control over your data.
Overall, third-party resources are inevitable to run in an efficient way a website or application nowadays. But, it is our responsibility to make sure that the resource we use is trustworthy and will no destroy all our efforts.
If you have any question about the article or need assistance with the choice of the right plugin for your business, Contact us