If you've ever tried creating your own website, there's a good chance that code wasn't exactly perfect when it was finished. You're not alone — as of 2017, more than half of all websites in America were created by one or two people. It can be tough for an amateur coder to keep track of everything needed for a successful web page. And even if you know what you're doing, getting from idea phase to completed product isn't always easy.
Software development is no different. There are several phases along the way between conception and completion. But how does this process work, and who makes decisions during each step?
We spoke with some experts on the subject to find out how to actually write a piece of software. Here’s how they put together programs (and why so much documentation exists).
"To create software," says Ravi Ramkumar, author of "Thinking In Code", "you need three things." First, you have to see something clearly enough that you want to solve it yourself. Second, you need to understand what tools exist to help you do it efficiently. Third, you need to apply those resources correctly. That might sound pretty simple, but figuring out which tools to use and which ones to avoid takes time and experience.
Once you decide to build something, you should start looking at available language libraries like Python, Java, C++, etc., according to James Snell, principal at The Software Group. They'll give you access to coding standards, design patterns, frameworks, and other useful information.
These days, you also need to consider cloud computing. Cloud providers offer services that simplify building applications. As long as you follow their guidelines, you won't run into any issues.
With these basics covered, you may move onto writing actual code. According to David Jurgens, founder and CEO at Open Source Matters, you should first familiarize yourself with the architecture of whatever platform you plan to develop for. This will include reading through guides, white papers, and manuals. Once you get the hang of it, you can begin developing.
Of course, there aren't any hard rules here. Some developers prefer working on paper before typing anything live. Others think that sketching ideas gives them freedom while allowing others to critique them. What matters most is finding the right balance between both worlds.
As far as choosing languages go, there are plenty of options today. If you'd rather focus on just one, check out our list of the best programming languages in 2021. Just remember that whichever language you choose, you should stick to well-known syntaxes and structures. Don't try making up your own, otherwise your program could potentially become buggy later down the line.
Another thing to note is that there is another type of computer science called systems engineering. Unlike regular programming where users interact directly with apps, systems engineers take care of underlying infrastructure instead. Their job involves maintaining servers, databases, and networks. Therefore, if you plan to pursue careers related to systems engineering, you should probably pick up a few relevant skills beforehand.
When it comes to picking a framework, don't worry too much about whether the technology you chose is brand name or obscure. Instead, concentrate on what kind of app you want to build. A mobile game requires a different approach compared to a social media site. Then again, using a prebuilt library, like Django or React Native, can save you quite a bit of time.
You should then test your application thoroughly to ensure it works properly. Afterward, you can send it over to peer review groups for feedback. These groups usually consist of fellow coders and managers who provide constructive criticism. You may also publish your project online after receiving approval. However, it's important to understand that public repositories come with limitations. Namely, anyone can view your code without having to sign up. On top of that, you may lose ownership of your intellectual property once uploaded to the internet.
Nowadays, companies often use agile methodology to manage their products. Agile is characterized by frequent iterations and short release cycles. Each iteration consists of small chunks known as sprints. During each sprint, teams meet to discuss tasks and assign deadlines. At the end of every sprint, meetings assess progress toward goals and plans. This allows teams to adapt quickly based on real data.
According to Adam Stumpf, senior director of product management at GitHub, organizations tend to fall into one of four categories regarding agile methodologies. Firstly, there's waterfall. Waterfall uses linear processes that never change. Secondly, we have spiral. Spiral follows iterative approaches, meaning that improvements happen gradually. Lastly, there's adaptive. Adaptive adopts an incremental approach that adjusts itself accordingly. Most importantly, agility shouldn't replace proper planning. Without careful coordination, companies risk losing control of their vision.
After completing each stage, you can either continue improving upon existing features or begin designing new ones. Once a feature gets finalized, you may add it to your repository. Keep in mind that version numbers play a crucial role in identifying updates. Version numbers typically contain letters and/or numerals, separated by dots. For instance, v1.0 represents version number 1 followed by point zero. You can then incrementally increase the major part until reaching v2.5. Minor upgrades occur whenever necessary to fix bugs.
There are several types of testing methods used throughout software creation. One of the oldest is unit testing. Unit tests verify individual parts within larger units. Another option is system testing. System testers examine entire ecosystems, including hardware and software components. Last but not least, integration testing ensures that various aspects communicate effectively.
Afterwards, you can deploy your app to production. When done successfully, deployment includes copying files over to a server or device. Deployment also refers to releasing your app publicly to the general user base. To maintain quality assurance, you must monitor the behavior of your app regularly. Otherwise, you might miss potential problems early on.
All in all, software development takes countless hours of effort. So, if you're interested in pursuing a career in tech, you're going to want to spend years honing your craft. Fortunately, many programmers now turn to open source software to streamline development. By contributing to the community, you gain valuable knowledge that could eventually lead to bigger opportunities elsewhere.
Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) defines a systematic process for developing, testing, deploying, and maintaining computer applications. The following article will discuss what are the steps in creating Software Development Lifecycle?
First we should understand that there are different types of Software Development Methodology like Waterfall Model, Spiral model etc., but generally all methods or models have same basic concepts. In waterfall methodology each functional area is completed separately before moving on to next stage whereas spiral approach starts from top-down where first requirement analysis done then design followed by coding, testing, deployment and maintenance. So both these approaches have some commonalities as well as differences. However it's important to note that they're not mutually exclusive nor do they contradict one another. There can be overlap between them depending upon specific requirements, budget constraints, time frame etc.
So let us now start discussing about how exactly does Software Development Lifecycle work?
As discussed earlier two major steps involved in Software Development Life Cycle are Requirements Analysis & Designing. These two steps form main building blocks of any project and hence must be executed correctly so that you don't end up spending more than allocated budget without getting quality product at your hands.
Requirements Analysis consists of several tasks such as gathering user needs, identifying problem statement, defining solution space, planning data flow, determining scope, estimating resources required etc. It involves various techniques like interviewing users, brainstorming session, survey, focus group discussion etc. which help you define what features/functionality need to be incorporated into application. This step also helps you determine whether current application meets business needs or not so that if further improvement is needed then only changes can be made rather than introducing completely new functionality.
After requirements analysis comes designing process where system architects write down high level designs using UML modeling tools. They use class diagrams, sequence diagram, state machine diagram etc. to describe behavior of program. During this phase developers actually implement architecture designed by architect(s). After implementing they test their code thoroughly to ensure correct functioning via unit tests, integration tests etc. Then after successful completion of Testing phase developer releases the application for production environment.
Now when someone says "software", he means an executable file that contains instructions telling computer how to perform certain task. But in real sense'software' refers to entire set of things including source files, build scripts, documentation, configuration settings etc. All of those items together forms software package that tells computer how to execute given instruction.
There are mainly three phases through out Software Development Life Cycle namely Planning, Implementation and Maintenance. Each phase comprises of multiple activities/steps. Following are described below briefly.
Planning Phase - Mainly deals with preparation of project plan and management structure along with identification of risks, challenges and issues related to implementation. Here team members prepare overall strategy for project execution. Also here initial estimates regarding staffing levels, equipment, resources etc. are prepared based on estimated project size, complexity etc.
Implementation Phase - Includes all activities performed during actual delivery of final product i.e. release of finished software for production environment. Activities include bug fixing, installation & customization, training, change control, support services etc.
Maintenance Phase - Once released for production, it's very important to maintain proper coordination among stakeholders and keep track of updates/changes happening in technology. Hence this phase includes activities like security patches, upgrades, enhancements etc.
In order to make sure that your organization follows best practices while executing Software Development Life Cycles, it's recommended to follow standardization procedures defined by ISO 9000 series. As per International Organization for Standardization (ISO), SDLC consists of six distinct stages and each stage consist of number of sub-stages which are detailed below.
Stage 0: Project initiation
This stage begins once client receives formal notice stating proposal submission deadline. At this point Client shall appoint qualified project manager who would take charge of overall project management duties. He/she will coordinate closely with other relevant stake holders till final product delivered successfully.
Substage 0.1 Initial Meeting
At this meeting Client specifies general details regarding his project, brief technical background, objectives, expectations and funding status. Project Manager prepares preliminary schedule and milestones describing progress against deliverables throughout project duration.
Substage 0.2 Preliminary Review
Project Manager reviews project specification documents and confirms agreement with Client over terms of reference document. He/she checks completeness of information provided by Client and makes necessary amendments wherever appropriate.
Substage 0.3 Proposal Preparation
Based on agreed terms of references, Project Manager creates draft contract covering obligations of parties. Contract covers everything starting from proposal evaluation criteria till final acceptance of product.
Substage 0.4 Evaluation Criteria Specification Document Creation
Client provides feedback on proposals submitted by competitors during bid competition. Based on results, Project Manager generates specification document containing specifications relating to pricing, features, performance goals etc.
Substage 0.5 Bid Submission
Once finalized, Client sends invitation letter to potential suppliers requesting bids for specified projects. Suppliers submit price quotes within prescribed period. Based on lowest priced quote, Client selects preferred supplier and initiates negotiations.
Substage 0.6 Negotiation Completion
Negotiations concludes when terms of sale are reached. Finalized, negotiated prices become binding and contractual agreements signed by parties.
Stage 1: Transition Management
Transition management takes place immediately after award of project and continues till handover of ownership to customer. Its objective is to transfer know-how gained during pre-project research, design, development and testing processes to newly selected provider.
Substage 1.0 Transfer of Ownership Notification
Shortly after winning bid, Client informs vendor regarding selection decision. Vendor schedules transition date and notify Clients accordingly.
Substage 1.1 Change Control Process
During transition management, vendor assumes full responsibility for ongoing operation of project. To avoid operational disruption, Customer requests vendor to complete pending tasks prior to handing over ownership.
Substage 1.2 Project Handoff Plan
Vendor creates project organizational chart detailing roles, responsibilities, reporting lines, key contacts and assigned personnel. Project Manager coordinates post-handover operations ensuring smooth transition.
Substage 1.3 Risk Mitigation Plan
To minimize risk associated with transition management, vendors develop mitigation plans. Such plan identifies possible problems and proposes measures to overcome them.
Stage 2: Integration Management
Integration management focuses on establishing alignment between products developed under separate contracts. While transitioning ownership, it becomes critical to assure customers that original purpose of application is maintained. Therefore, it's imperative that application being transitioned remains fully integrated with existing systems and legacy infrastructure.
Substage 2.0 Application Migration Strategy
Before transferring ownership, it's prudent to identify migration strategies related to application. Migrating application requires careful consideration because downtime could cause significant loss revenue. Hence Vendor develops migration strategy explaining rationale behind proposed migrations.
Substage 2.1 System Conversion Approach
It may happen that existing hardware and software used by application isn't compatible with newer version of operating system. For example, old versions of database might require conversion to latest SQL server edition. If so, Vendor uses conversion tool to convert data stored in legacy format to latest supported format.
Substage 2.2 Data Migration Toolkit
If application utilizes custom built components, Vendor writes specialized migration utilities to migrate data from previous version of application to latest version.
Substage 2.3 Legacy Resource Constraints Identification
Since migrating application involves conversion of existing infrastructure, it's crucial to assess impact on existing network connectivity, servers, databases, network bandwidth, storage capacity etc.
Substage 2.4 Test Coverage Assessment
While performing data conversions, it's vital to verify accuracy of converted data. Hence before handing over ownership, Vendor performs extensive manual verification to confirm that migrated data matches original data.
Substage 2.5 Compatibility Assessments
To ensure continuity of service, Vendor ensures compatibility of upgraded application with older versions of supporting technologies such as Operating Systems, Database Servers, Network Protocols etc.
Substage 2.6 Upgrade Impact Report
Vendors generate report outlining upgrade impacts identified during assessment phase. Such report serves as basis for upgrading decisions taken later.
Substage 2.7 Post Upgrading Support Services
Post-upgrade, Vendor offers dedicated support services to assist customers in resolving any unforeseen problems affecting normal usage of upgraded application.
Substage 2.8 Training
Customers request Vendors provide adequate training facilities to employees handling upgraded application. Since most organizations utilize upgraded application 24x7, training plays pivotal role in assuring efficient utilization of resources.
Substage 2.9 Quality Assurance Program
Quality assurance teams carry out thorough inspection of upgraded application to ensure adherence to standards laid out by project managers. Team verifies conformance to expected result and reports finding back to project manager.
Substage 3.0 Beta Release
Prior to final release, application undergoes beta testing aimed at evaluating performance, stability and usability. Customers review beta release for bugs and defects prior to official launch.
Substage 3.1 Beta Acceptance Checklist
Team evaluates beta release according to predefined checklist highlighting areas needing improvements. Members compare findings with list of unresolved issues generated during inspections.
Substage 3.2 Public Preview Event
Software developers have been working on creating applications for decades, but what exactly do they need to be doing during this process? What's in the pipeline that will make us all more productive or efficient? How does a piece of computer code become an application? It may seem like it takes just one person to write a program, compile, test, debug, and release into the market. But there are several key processes that go into making your idea come alive. Let's take a look at how these work together to produce successful software products.
Before you can understand where any project begins, you must first know where it ends. In order for something to progress from concept through design, analysis, testing, production, maintenance, support, etc., it needs milestones along the way. Software projects follow much the same path as other types of projects -- except they often move faster because their scope isn't quite so large (or doesn't require such extensive planning).
Let's say you're developing a web-based app -- whether for yourself or someone else. First comes the conceptual stage, when the team develops ideas about which features should exist within the finished product. Then comes the design phase, where programmers develop actual plans and designs for each feature. Next up is the implementation phase, which involves coding various elements of the application while also ensuring that everything works properly. Finally, we arrive at the testing and beta phases, where users get to try out the completed version before its official launch. And if anything goes wrong after this point, the developer usually releases bug fixes and updates until the problem is resolved. Once the final product is launched, however, it enters the post-release period, where customers continue using it long after the initial sale.
There are lots of ways to approach software development, but most methods use some combination of the above five phases. The waterfall model, however, focuses mainly on the front end by requiring designers to provide detailed specifications early in the process. Other models might skip certain phases altogether, especially those focused on rapid prototyping. Regardless, the general flow remains the same across different approaches.
Once you've developed a clear plan for your project, it's time to break down the task even further. Read on to find out why you'll want to implement structured development practices.
In his book "Refactoring" author Robert C. Martin describes three kinds of bugs he found in his own programs: broken windows, missing edges, and overgeneralization. Broken windows were obvious errors that could cause serious problems later on, such as dividing two integers incorrectly. Missing edges were similar, but less dangerous than broken windows. They would result only in incorrect output, not system failure. Overgeneralization was when developers tried to fix too many things at once. Instead of fixing a few specific issues, they'd attempt to solve dozens at once. All three of these bugs caused massive amounts of wasted effort trying to correct them, since none had any real effect on the overall quality of the program.
Now that you know how software moves throughout the design process, let's talk about how it actually gets coded. There's no standard methodology when it comes to writing code, although most companies employ some form of sequential workflow. This means that regardless of who creates the requirements document, approves the design documents, or hands off control to QA, everyone still follows the exact same pattern. For example, here's how it generally breaks down for the conceptual, design, and implementation phases:
Conceptual - Developers begin designing a solution based on user feedback and business goals. At this point, the client reviews documentation produced thus far and provides feedback. If anything seems amiss, it's important to discuss it now rather than waiting until later when the entire design is already underway. A good rule of thumb is to ask questions whenever possible to avoid potential misunderstandings down the line. You should expect objections and counterarguments regarding decisions made earlier in the process, including budget constraints, technical feasibility, legal concerns, and marketing considerations. These discussions should happen face to face instead of via email or phone calls to prevent miscommunication.
Design - After receiving approval for preliminary concepts, designers start implementing details and refining existing ones. Although clients typically won't approve complete wireframes at this point, designers shouldn't either since they haven't yet started coding. Nowadays, almost every company uses iterative review cycles to check out rough drafts without committing to full specs. However, some organizations don't adopt this technique and simply give approvals for major sections of functionality at a time. During this step, teams assign tasks according to priority level so that deadlines aren't missed or rushed. Since people tend to underestimate how long big pieces of work really take, setting realistic expectations beforehand helps both parties stay motivated.
Implementation - Here are the main activities performed by coders: gathering necessary resources, breaking down larger functions, defining data structures, and documenting classes and procedures. Teams then unit test and verify that programs run correctly. While they wait for results, testers help spot errors and suggest improvements. As soon as everything checks out well, the whole group celebrates!
Testing & Beta - Before launching officially, programmers perform additional tests to ensure that the program runs smoothly. Clients review reports and sometimes conduct their own internal testing to validate the product. Meanwhile, beta testers evaluate the final product to determine areas for improvement. Some firms offer special versions to interested members of target markets, enabling them to play around with the new release and report back with suggestions.
These seven parts of the SDLC represent the majority of tasks involved in software creation. Whether you prefer a waterfall style or agile methodology, following a strict sequence ensures that multiple stakeholders receive accurate information and input at every step.
So what happens between the preproduction, construction, and deployment phases? We'll cover that next.
Although the SDLC covers the vast majority of tasks involved in building software, it's worth noting that there are occasional exceptions. For instance, some companies opt to skip or shorten certain phases depending on their preferences. Agile development styles, such as Scrum, focus heavily on iterations. Therefore, the traditional SDLC is divided into four separate phases: preproduction, construction, deployment, and maintenance. Each of these subphases consists of smaller steps, and some companies combine them altogether. For instance, the preproduction phase includes research and concept development.
Preproduction - Preproduction encompasses researching relevant topics, determining objectives, identifying competitors, and establishing basic architecture for future developments. Most businesses choose to keep preproduction separate from construction due to the fact that coders cannot modify underlying components at this stage. With software, however, architects and engineers normally participate in preproduction meetings alongside managers and executives to better coordinate efforts.
Construction - Construction refers to the actual coding and assembly of the software. Coders collaborate closely with programmers, analysts, and database administrators to integrate various systems. Designers spend more time overseeing coder productivity to reduce turnaround times and increase efficiency. At this stage, testers confirm that programs function properly and prepare metrics for evaluation.
Deployment - When software reaches completion, it passes onto the deployment phase. Here, users access the final product and begin interacting with it regularly. This is where troubleshooting becomes crucial. Because users didn't see any of the preceding steps, they may notice mistakes immediately. That said, testers and specialists in related fields should investigate any unexpected behavior reported by end users.
Maintenance - Like any type of technology, software inevitably requires upkeep. Maintenance occurs when programmers address security vulnerabilities or update outdated files. It's primarily responsible for updating old code to meet modern standards. Maintaining older code is harder than keeping newer stuff running, so companies hire dedicated IT professionals to handle that aspect of operations.
As you can tell, software development is an ever-evolving field. To learn more, read on to discover tips for starting your career as a programmer.
If you're looking to build software for personal gain, you probably don't care about the costs involved. But if you're going to sell it, you definitely want to consider pricing strategies. Start low and gradually raise prices as demand increases. Otherwise, customers might feel cheated by having paid little for a high price tag.
When you buy a car, you pay attention to its lifespan. Sure, it depreciates over time, but you wouldn't trade yours in unless it stops functioning properly. People invest millions of dollars into their homes and appliances, expecting them to last a lifetime. Why would software fall short of that expectation? Aside from being expensive, computers themselves wear out relatively quickly. So eventually, most of us replace our laptops and desktops anyway.
This explains why software has a finite lifespan. Depending upon usage patterns, programs age differently. One customer may use an app daily, whereas another interacts with it maybe twice per year. Likewise, hardware wears out slower than software. On average, machines retain 90 percent of their value compared to their original cost over 10 years [sources: BDOE].
With that in mind, you can think of software development as a factory job. Companies maintain warehouses filled with unused inventory, while individual consumers constantly consume items. Programmers essentially manage this stream of waste materials. By understanding how digital products degrade over time, they can improve longevity and maximize return on investment.
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