There are two types of code, one is ‘compiled’ and the other is not (compiling code transforms the text language of the code into gobbledygook). Much of the internet based or cloud based software is not compiled and so is relatively simple to transfer between providers. It is a good idea to establish how transferrable your solution will be at the outset with your provider and if they mention the word compiled code then take heed. If your provider says the ‘source code’ is not compiled then most other providers could continue to support the code long into the future.
This planning part of the process is the least effected by cost – getting out all the features and processes on paper before a single line of code is written. With having bespoke, ANYTHING can be considered. We can work out if it’s out of the realms of the budget later. Dream the dream.
Tatics for protecting your investment in Bespoke software.
When initiating a new project with a bespoke software company it is worth exploring the idea of having your solution put into an ESCROW agreement (to hold the code by a third party agreed by both of you) thus ensuring you will always be able to access your code no matter what happens in the future. This is especially the case where compiled code is created as you can have the pre-compiled code made available to you via an agreement and then pass it on to a new provider.
Additionally request that your code is ‘well commented’ (lines of extra text intermingled in the lines of code that give explanation to the programmer reading it) during the development from the point of view of another development company supporting your code project. Both these actions will add a cost to your project however it is a belt and braces way of protecting your investment.