Software development essentially refers to the development of a software product, from the initial conception of the required software right through to the final product undertaken through a structured process including research, development, prototyping, modifying, re-engineering, deployment and eventually maintenance.
There are primarily 3 broad reasons why software development takes place
- To meet the business needs of a specific client as with customized software.
- To meet the perceived needs of a specific set of potential users.
- To meet personal needs like automating a set of tasks.
SDLC or Software Development Life Cycle refers to the phases of software development, or in other words management of the lifecycle for an application or a piece of software. The objective behind implementing SDLC is to ensure that the software developed, is of high quality, effective and cost-efficient as well.
Software Development Life Cycle can be broken down into the following phases of development:
There are essentially 2 methodologies of implementing Software Development Life cycle :
- Requirement Analysis is the first step in the process of software development where the end user has to provide information regarding the specific need as well as eventual use of the software to ensure that the software engineer is able to develop software capable of meeting the actual need.
- Specifications is the process of detailing out the software to be written as per the need in a mathematical representation.
- Software Architecture refers to the phase where the system is represented in abstract to ensure that the software is being designed as per the requirement both current as well as future.
- In the Implementation stage, the software design is broken down into coding language.
- System Testing is done to ensure that the code is error free and will produce the desired result.
- Documentation of the design and coding structure is done with the objective of future support and enhancements.
- Training and support for the end users is offered till they are able to independently run the software without any glitches.
- Maintenance and software enhancement is applicable both to the existing system as well as addition of new modules and applications to the existing design based on new and changing requirements.
Agile methodology is currently the more favored methodology due to its flexible nature as it can convert an application in development into a complete product release at virtually any stage, making it ideal for application updates.
Most software Organizations are opting for implementing process methodologies to ensure quality benchmarks in development. The CMM (Capability Maturity Model) is considered the most superior, although there are host of others like ISO 9000, ISO 15504, and Six Sigma.
With desktop PCs losing ground to tablets and smartphone usage,a growing trend in software development is that of mobile apps and Web services. Most software development companies are adapting their existing tools & skill sets to make the most of these emerging trends.
Some of the other emerging trends in software development include:
Technologies such as cloud computing have rendered business processes a lot more convenient & flexible. With Its ability to function as a deployment model it saves on investment and resources.
Location based software development is another trend that is here to stay. Its popularity can be gauged from the fact that most mobile devices are GPS enabled & check-ins on various social media is gaining traction.
Clearly flexibility, efficiency & cost saving are 3 principles guiding the software industry, impacting the entire Information Technology ecosystem.