Off-the-shelf component

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An off-the-shelf component is usually provided by a commercial vendor or open source software (OSS).[1] Such a component usually has been used in many other systems, and should have fewer defects, or have had more bugs shaken out of it.[2]

Motivations for using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components include hopes for reduction of overall system development and costs (as components can be bought or licensed instead of being developed from scratch) and reduced long-term maintenance costs. In software development, many considered COTS to be the silver bullet (to reduce cost/time) during the 1990s, but COTS development came with many not-so-obvious tradeoffs—initial cost and development time can definitely be reduced, but often at the expense of an increase in software component-integration work and a vendor lock-in, i.e., a dependency on third-party component vendors.[3]


  1. ^ Li J, Conradi R, Slyngstad OPN, Bunse C, Khan U, Torchiano M, Morisio M (2005). "An empirical study of off-the shelf component usage in industrial projects". Prod Focused Software Proc Improv. 3547 (2005): 54–68.
  2. ^ Clements PC (Nov 1995). "From subroutines to subsystems: Component-based software development". Amer Programmer 8 (11): 1–8.
  3. ^ McKinney D (2001. Accessed January 28, 2009.). "Impact of Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) Software and Technology on Systems Engineering".
  4. ^