How to find the best software for you


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With software, there can be so many choices that figuring out where to start is less easy than it could be, let alone deciding which project fits your needs best. In my experience, finding good quality software is usually a matter of taking a moment to ask the right questions and look in the right places.

One important thing to remember is that it’s best to not let perfect get in the way of good enough. The best software for you is whatever allows you to achieve your goals while meeting your requirements.

With that said, there’s also no reason to let adequate get in the way of even better. :)

Also, note that I rarely ever go through this formal of a process. Think of it as a collection of ideas that I wanted to organize.

Table of contents

What’s your use case for the software?

There’s plenty of software out there, but whether it’ll be useful to you somewhat depends on if it fits your use case. You might find that understanding your requirements and preferences helps not only with choosing which project to use—it can also improve your overall satisfaction with the end result.

Here’s a list of questions that could be helpful for determining exactly what you’re looking for in software.

Questions to determine your software use case

As you read through this list of questions, consider whether the answers will stay the same in the future or not. It’s good to plan a little. Ideally, by doing so you’ll choose the right software for today and tomorrow (and maybe even the day after that, too).

What are some methods to find software?

Now that you have a better idea of what you need, you can start searching for software. There are many different ways you can go about this. Remember to verify that a given resource is worth placing your trust in before following any instructions or taking any advice.

What are some ways to compare software projects?

Once you’ve found some software through trustworthy means that fits your use case, it raises another question: how do you decide between them?

There are certain positive signals that can indicate that a project is worth keeping in mind. They don’t offer any guarantee of code quality; only examining the code itself can provide that. Even so, these have been good heuristics (rules of thumb) to follow for me because many of them do seem to be correlated with code quality.

Though if you have sufficient time, motivation, and skill, reading through the source code is a good idea.

How to review open source repositories

Here are some things to take a look at when reviewing open source projects. Some of these are going to depend on the frontend (GitHub, Gitlab, etc).

Other things to review and ask