What is third-party software?
A third-party app is developed by a third party, not the device it runs on or the website or app that provides it. Although this isn't standard usage, you might think of them as first-party applications (we'll use it in this post to make things clear).
The device or website owner can enable or disable third-party applications by default. The Safari web browser app preinstalled on the iPhone is a first-party, built-in program produced by Apple. Still, other web browser apps available in the App Store have been authorized for usage on the iPhone but were not created by Apple. Apps from a variety of sources are available. These applications are third-party applications.
Third-party software is any software that can be used without affecting the primary product. It's supplied or produced for a certain purpose by a different firm/individual from the one that created the current product on a particular system.
There are several situations where you may run into the term "third-party app."
- Third-party applications are apps developed by vendors and released on official app stores: Google (Google Play Store on Android device) or Apple (Apple App Store on iOS device), which follow the development standards required by those app stores. A developer has approved a third-party app for a service like Facebook or Snapchat. It's a first-party app if Facebook or Snapchat creates it.
- Third-party applications are those that have not been authorized by the device's manufacturer (or operating system) or those obtained from alternative sources, such as unofficial app stores or websites. To avoid malware, be wary of downloading apps from any location, particularly unofficial app stores or websites.
- A third-party app connects to another service (or its app) to provide added capabilities or access profile data. The other service or app does not have third-party software installed on its device. Instead, the software is given access to potentially sensitive data because of its link to the other service or program. Quizzstar, a third-party quiz software with permission to access certain aspects of a Facebook profile, is an example.
There are numerous strategies to work with third-party solutions. Here's a look at the most frequent kinds of third-party software:
- Libraries are a great way to store and share code for any application, including web or mobile apps. They can be open-source (available to everyone at no cost) or closed-source/proprietary (where a purchase may be required).
For example, SnapKit and Moya libraries for iOS or Lottie, Android library.
- Platforms are pre-built, ready-to-use solutions developers may employ to execute a certain function, such as user logging, chat, or maps. They're SaaS (Software as a Service) offerings that allow developers to delegate specific features for money (usually monthly) or, in some cases, for free.
For example, Firebase, Auth0, Google Maps Platform.
- Tools: The app development process can be made much easier with tools to help you create a higher quality product.
For example, SiwftLint, Danger, Zeplin.
Benefits of using 3rd-party software in your app development
When you use 3rd-party software carefully to enhance the app development process, increase the quality of the product, and cut costs.
If you use a third-party solution, you pay a monthly fee rather than the initial up-front cost for creating the feature from the ground up.
More rapid development method
Developers don't have to start from scratch. They may concentrate on the app's most essential features and competitive advantages. It drastically reduces the time it takes to create an app.
Using third-party services has a significantly lower price tag. Some third-party platforms may be free until a certain threshold is reached. After that, you're likely to pay a monthly charge for the utilized resources. As a result, the expense of using a function is spread out over time.
You might be able to get your product to market faster by accelerating the development process.
Quickly verify the value of your product
You may quickly check whether your concept solves the problem of your target consumers and whether it fulfills the requirements for a successful product/market fit.
Easy integration for developers
Modern SDKs are available on many platforms now, making integration quick and straightforward. There's less work for you to do
A third advantage of utilizing a third-party platform is that there is no need to maintain the code. This duty belongs to the provider, not the company that utilizes the service.
Drawbacks of using third-party software in your development
When working with a third-party solution, you are limited by the provider's features and functionality. If you need to make changes or enhancements to the app, you must go through the provider. We usually have to work hard to adapt the provider's tool to our demands. Developers can do that, but it gets too expensive at some point.
Lock-in of the vendor
You're usually reliant on the supplier of a third-party solution. It exposes your software to danger. That is why it's typical to start from scratch and utilize third-party solutions for only non-core elements in your core apps.
Risk of rising costs
Also, depending on the provider means that when the price of the service changes, so might the application's expenses. It's not unusual for third-party solutions to have significant increases in cost at a certain scale.
When a client approaches us with an idea for an app, we usually advise them to start with a simple MVP that brings value to users. Following the agile methodology of software development, our teams focus on the essential elements of the app. All of the benefits we mentioned above – faster time-to-market, accelerated development process, and shorter feedback loop from users – means that third-party solutions are an excellent match for MVP development (for example, iOS and Android application).
About the author
Peter Koffer - Chief Technology Officer
With 13 years of experience in the IT industry and in-depth technical training, Peter could not be anything but our CTO. He had contact with every possible architecture and helped create many solutions for large and small companies. His daily duties include managing clients' projects, consulting on technical issues, and managing a team of highly qualified developers.