Best practices for integrating third-party modules into your app

Question :

Best practices for integrating third-party modules into your app,

Answer :

We have a few projects that involve building an application that is composed of maybe 50% custom functionality, but then pulls in, say, a wiki, a forum, and other components that are “wheels” that have already been invented that we do not wish to re-write from scratch.

These third-party applications usually have their own databases, themes, and authentication systems. Getting things to work like a single-sign-on, or a common theme, or tagging/searching across entities in multiple sub-apps are pretty challenging problems, in my experience. What are some of the best practices for this kind of integration project?

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Our approach, so far, has been to try and pick your components carefully, choosing ones that have a clearly defined API, preferably via HTTP (like REST or SOAP), though that isn’t always possible (we haven’t found a decent forum that works that way). Are there suggestions folks can give to anyone trying to do this, as I suspect many of us are more and more frequently these days

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Make sure that the interface between your application and the third-party application or library is such that you can replace it easily with something else just in case. In some cases the third-party software may just be an implementation of an standard API (Java does this a lot with JDBC, JMS, JNDI, …). In other cases this means wrapping the third-party library in some API that you come up with.

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Of course there are times to throw that idea out the window and have things tightly integrated with the third-party software. Just be sure that you REALLY want to bind your application to that third-party. Once you go down this road it’s REALLY hard to go back and change your mind.

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Disclaimer :

The answers provided above are only to be used to guide the learning process. The questions above are open-ended questions, meaning that many answers are not fixed as above. I hope this article can be useful, Thank you