Cutter: Component Use May Limit Reliability

A new survey by the Cutter Consortium shows that many businesses (more than three-quarters of respondents) are using third-party components for software development. However, additional research by Cutter shows that component use may ultimately limit product reliability.

The recent survey asked: Does your organization develop applications with component-based technologies? Eighty percent of respondents answered "yes," and 17 percent said "no," with three percent replying "don't know."

"Developers today are addicted to scores of mysterious software components, many of which they don't even know they're using because they're embedded within other components," says Cutter Business Technology Council Fellow James Bach in a statement. "Consequently, they have no ability to fix many of the problems that plague their code. This means there's an upper limit to the reliability of most software, and that limit is drifting lower with each industry expo."

The Cutter Business Technology Council recommends taking these steps to analyze if components use would be beneficial for your company:

  • Check your defect tracking system.
  • Look closely at schedule slippage.
  • Poll your developers.
  • Realize you may not get straight answers.

"The dark side of components is something to be balanced with the bright side," concludes Bach. "In some projects, it might constitute gross negligence to use a certain component because of the risk. In other projects, it would be negligent not to use it because of the benefit."

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