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To Build or Not to Build: The Dilemma of Third-Party Libraries vs. Custom Code

Ivan Traykov

29 Mar

5 mins read

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To Build or Not to Build: The Dilemma of Third-Party Libraries vs. Custom Code

To Build or Not to Build: The Dilemma of Third-Party Libraries vs. Custom Code

The Case for Third-Party Libraries


  • Speed:

    Third-party libraries can significantly speed up the development process. They offer ready-made solutions that can be integrated quickly, allowing developers to focus on more complex aspects of their projects.

  • Cost-Effective:

    Using libraries can reduce development costs. They often come with no upfront cost and can save countless hours that would otherwise be spent on writing and testing new code.

  • Reliability:

    Many libraries are battle-tested in a variety of environments and use cases, which can offer a level of reliability that freshly written code may not have initially.

  • Community Support:

    Popular libraries usually have strong community support, which means a wealth of documentation and forums filled with discussions and solutions to common (and uncommon) issues.

  • Innovation:

    Libraries often include innovative features that can inspire or enable new functionalities within your project that you might not have considered.


  • Bloat:

    Libraries can be bulky, containing more features than needed, which can lead to increased application size and slower performance.

  • Dependency Risk:

    Relying on third-party code means you're at the mercy of someone else's update schedule and long-term support. If a library is no longer maintained, it could pose significant risks to your project.

  • Security Vulnerabilities:

    Libraries can introduce security vulnerabilities. Even with active maintenance, new security issues can be discovered, necessitating an immediate update.

  • Lack of Customization:

    Libraries may not fit your exact needs, requiring workarounds or forcing you to compromise on functionality or performance.

Crafting Code from Scratch


  • Tailor-Made Solutions:

    Writing custom code means you get exactly what you need, how you need it, tailored to your specific requirements and preferences.

  • Learning and Growth:

    Developers expand their skill sets and deepen their understanding of the codebase when they write their own solutions.

  • Control:

    You have full control over the codebase, which means you can optimize, refactor, and maintain it as you see fit, without having to wait for third-party updates.

  • Performance:

    Custom code can be optimized for performance, avoiding the extra overhead that comes with generic solutions.


  • Time-Consuming:

    Writing custom code takes time, not just in development but also in testing and bug-fixing, which can delay the overall project timeline.

  • Cost:

    The hours spent writing and maintaining custom code can add up, potentially making this the more expensive option in the long run.

  • Reliability:

    Newly written code has not been exposed to a wide range of use cases and might contain undiscovered bugs, making it potentially less reliable than widely-used libraries.

  • Support:

    Custom solutions lack community support. If you encounter a problem, it's up to you and your team to solve it.

When choosing between third-party libraries and custom code, consider your project's specific needs, timeline, and budget. Sometimes a hybrid approach works best, using libraries for standard functionalities and custom code for core business logic that differentiates your application in the market.

The decision is rarely straightforward and should be revisited regularly as project requirements and available technologies evolve. The key is to maintain flexibility and be willing to adapt your strategy to meet the challenges and opportunities that arise during the development process.

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