Should I insist on retaining the Source Code from my Developer?

Insight on the line by line building blocks of your on-demand app

When you commission a development team to bring your idea to life, you generally own the intellectual property rights to your creation.  But do you own the source code?  What is source code?  Programmers write source code in a textual form and this code is translated by a program called a compiler into object code which can be executed directly by a computer – i.e. line by line binary.  Most users never see source code.

Why would you be interested in retaining source code?   Maybe your developer is working for you on a one-time basis or you wish to hedge against the possibility to switching developers in the future.  Regardless, enhancements will always be based on the foundation of the original source code.

What’s the catch?  Developers will likely charge you more.  Why?   Think of a software development team as an auto supplier.  In their factory, they have machinery to make mufflers, carburetors, and starters.   What they are generally selling are these parts in finished form.   If you insist on the machinery to make them, you’re taking their R&D and eliminating their primary ability to provide you with value in the future.

If you’re looking for a happy medium that won’t break the bank, then ask for intellectual property rights instead.  If you require full control, then insist on delivery of the original source code and any future source-code updates.

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