Software development is a process to create computer software using one or more specific programming languages that offer functionality to address personal or business objectives. The development of software is a planned initiative with several stages that result in fully operational software. Software itself is a set of programs or instructions that tell a computer what to do.
A few basic types of software include system software, application software, and programming software, among others. Since the beginning of software product development, we have used many approaches have been used for the same. The most common approach used today is the agile approach for development. Unlike the more traditional and often flexible development examples, agile promotes flexible responses to change by recommending evolutionary development, adaptive planning, continual development, and early delivery.
Types of Software Development
With several types, software development can be grouped into four categories:
Application Development that offers functionality for users to perform tasks. For example, data management software, security programs, office productivity suites, and media players, to name a few. Applications can run on the user’s computer device or servers hosted in the cloud or by your IT team.
System Software Development to provide the core functions such as storage systems, hardware management, operating systems, networks, and database management system.
Programming Software Development to offer developers tools such as debuggers, compilers, text editors, and linkers, among others, to do their job.
Embedded Software Development creates the software used to control devices and machines such as industrial robots, automobiles, and phones.
Each of the categories of software development requires different software developers. For example, health service software development requires software developers that are well-versed in developing safety-critical systems.
Software Development Process
So, what are the steps involved in developing software? The exact steps and processes will depend on the development models followed by your organization. Developing software generally involves the steps given below:
Selecting a method is a key step in software development. Software developers will be required to select a methodology to establish a framework in which the software development steps will be applied. The methodology here means a roadmap or an overall workflow for the project. Methodologies can include DevOps, Rapid Application Development (RAD), agile development, Waterfall, and Scaled Agile Frameworks (SAF) among others.
Analysis and Planning
In this stage, the developers of an organization perform requirement analysis. This is attained from the inputs received from the market surveys/ sales department and the customers. In addition, requirements for the software are specified. These requirements get approval from the customers, stakeholders, and market analysts. This is achieved by utilizing Software Requirement Specification (SRS)- a document that specifies all those things that need to be defined and created during the entire software development cycle.
In this stage, software developers use SRS for reference to design the best structure within which the software will operate.
At this stage, product development begins. For this, developers use particular programming code as per the Design Document Specification (DDS). Developers must follow the protocols set by the stakeholders. Programming tools like interpreters, compilers, and debuggers are used in this step.
Post the product development, testing the software is important to ensure its smooth execution and to understand any underlying errors. Although minor testings are conducted at every stage of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). Hence, at this stage, all those potential bugs and errors are tracked, fixed, and retested. This ensures the product is bug-free and meets all the requirements of SRS.
Deploying and Maintenance
Deployment starts after the code is tested and approved for release. This stage involves deploying the software for use and responding to any errors, finally resolving the problem faced by the user. Software training and support are important, as the software is only effective when used correctly. Enhancing software to newly discovered requirements can take time and effort, as missed requirements may force a complete change in the software.
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