“Open source programmers are invisible minions hiding all over the world, with an altruistic light that shines within them, releasing their code to the world, and making your software better without expecting anything in return.”
Code has always been demarcated into two camps - proprietary and open source. I think Binpress.com has invented something with the potential to revolutionize that bipolarity, introducing a third category: premium code.
I am a huge fan of the open source community - having just recently returned back to my programming roots, it is open source projects out there that have helped me get back up to speed. Wordpress and Codeignighter are where I have learnt PHP, and Cocos2d allowed me to quickly orient myself within the world of iPhone game programming. Without them it would be almost impossible to operate as an individual programmer or a small team in the fast paced world of software development today, and one day I hope to be able to contribute back to the community that has helped me out so much.
Yet there is an essential problem with open source, that most members of the community fail to highlight: quality control and code maintenance. While most people altruistic enough to release their code for free to the world are good programmers, and major projects are supported by a large community, anyone who has played with open source has at one time or another come across some pretty horrible, if not altogether broken code. Whenever dealing with open source projects - you never know if it works at all, or works only partially. More often then not (particularly with smaller projects) there is minimal or no documentation, and it is the developers prerogative if they wish to provide any support. And of course, there is always the added risk that the developer of the project can leave / disappear / be acquired at anytime leaving you to deal with and grow the code yourself. (Case in point - the developer of Cocos2d was just acquired by Zenga and the future of the library is currently unknown).
So while generally open source code gives you a great starting point for certain types of projects, and often you get a lot more then you (didn’t) pay for - sometimes you get exactly what you paid for.
And thats where Binpress comes in.
Positioned as a marketplace for manually tested and approved free and premium source-code - Binpress has the potential to integrally change the way that we as developers think about using code from the community.
If your in the market for code classes / libraries that you know has been tested, are well maintained, and have documentation and support - you will most likely find what you are looking for on the Binpress site for a modest fee (generally ranging from $4.99 to $20 - though sometimes even free). Even though the site is less then a year old - it has already attracted quite a few developers and supports a very large range of languages. Not only are you guaranteed support and better quality code, you are also supporting the developers who are willing to give their code to the world for you to use.
On the other side of the equation, if you're a developer - this is a great way for you to give back to the community and possibly make a little money as well. Be warned though - don’t just think you can submit any old code that you want. As this one developer saw - if the code you submit is trivial / broken / of low quality - Binpress will actually send it back to you and request that you improve it. Not only that, according to another developers experience most likely the Binpress team will also get back to you on ways you can improve your code. Just another way that they are guaranteeing the quality of the code on the site.
In the way that you buy bricks in order to build a house, Binpress lets you buy and sell the building blocks to great software - essentially creating a marketplace that supports the economy of software.
In the way that Apple invented the appstore, Binpress has managed to invent a code store - and for that I applaud them.
Check it out now at Binpress.com!