One way to make sure that the code is in your possession is to make certain you have administrative access to your code at all times. Another way is to start a GitHub, GitLab, or a similar account, place your code on that service, and update it regularly as the code is updated and revised. Specific steps to take are covered below.
In this article, we answer the following questions:
How can I ensure that my app’s code is in my possession?
There are a number of steps you can take to ensure you possess your code:
- Make sure it states in your contract with the developer that you are the owner of the code. This would be a good question to ask prospective software developers when you are initially considering one.
- Request the developer to provide you with the source code. This can be periodically done throughout the entire app development project as the code is revised. You can use a version control system such as GitHub, as mentioned above, to keep all versions of your code in one safe place.
- If your knowledge of coding is limited, you may want to verify through a 3rd party that the code you receive from the developer is complete. They can also verify that it is the most recent version of the code.
- Follow best practices to prevent your code from unauthorized access.
- Regularly back up your code to another storage system or an external hard drive. This ensures that you always have the latest version of your code in the event of a system malfunction or data loss.
- Use a secure hosting provider that offers secure and reliable hosting services. This will ensure that your code is safe and always available.
- Learn about your code so you can inspect it to make sure it remains secure and up-to-date and to check for potential security vulnerabilities.
- Have a plan in place for a data breach or system failure. This plan should include steps for restoring your code if it becomes necessary.
It’s okay to obtain administrative access to the developer’s account as your app is developed and acquire the final code at the end, but be aware that not having your code in your physical possession poses a risk. If the code is not in your physical possession, it could be deleted or modified without your permission. It would also be difficult to transfer the code to another developer should it become necessary. To avoid these problems, we recommend that you occasionally download the code so it is physically in your possession.
What other assets do I need to possess my app?
The app’s assets are other things that you’ll need in addition to the app’s code to ensure that your app can be set up and run as intended:
- Access and credentials to your app’s database. Make sure that you can get into the database and that you can periodically back it up.
- Access to or ownership of any files that are used in the application.
- Credentials for any 3rd party applications used for your app such as AWS. You can actually own AWS and other 3rd party applications yourself from the beginning of the development process and provide administrative access to the developers.
- A copy of the tech stack your app was developed on as well as the version used. If you do not know the version, you may have problems when you need to access it.
- A copy of the security certificate purchased for your app.
- The licenses purchased for the app in addition to when they expire.
- If someone purchased a domain for your app, it needs to be transferred to you.
- Make sure you can access your app’s email. It may also require transferring credentials or forwarding information depending on who will be hosting your app.
What will possessing my code do for me?
By possessing your app’s code, you have complete control over its development. You can update, customize, make changes, or scale your code as you see fit without waiting for an outside developer to help you. If you need a developer’s help, you can take your app wherever you wish. You can even look for and utilize open source code in your app to find solutions to problems if you wish.
By owning your code, you can also protect your intellectual property. You can also do whatever you’d like with it. You can monetize your app by selling it or licensing it to other developers. You can also develop another product, such as a SaaS product, based on your code. By owning the code, what happens with your app is totally in your hands.
What problems can I have with my code?
Possessing your app’s code is one thing, but being able to manipulate it is another. Many app owners do not have the know-how to update, customize, or make changes to the app themselves.
In order to manipulate your app’s code properly, you need to understand the fundamentals of coding, debugging and testing. You will also need a good understanding of the languages in which your app was written in, be able to utilize services such as Amazon Web Services, and be able to properly ensure the security of your app, both for you and for your users.
How can I solve those problems?
If you want to update and customize the code yourself, there are many online software tutorials that can teach you the basics. Codecademy, for example, has free courses in 12 different coding languages. You can also find a mentor who can answer your coding and development questions, and participate in coding challenges, which will hone your skills and increase your knowledge. This does take a lot of time, however, and you’re likely to still have a lot of gaps in your knowledge and will continue to need outside assistance.
You can also use an online code editor to make changes to the code yourself. The only problem with that is that many online code editors are open source, which leaves your code susceptible to theft.
The best way to manipulate the code yourself is to hire an in-house developer who can discuss the app with the developers who created it. They can learn the details of how the app was created and consult with them as long as necessary to learn the nuances of the app as they begin making changes. You can also continue your relationship with the developer after your app is complete or hire another developer to maintain the app who can update your app as necessary.
Matraex is a premier software and app development company based in Boise, Idaho. Our goal is to answer all of your app development questions so you can make the best app development decisions for your company.
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