From ideas to launch, the development of every software goes through a similar pathway known as the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). SDLC is a framework that outlines a series of important stages for producing high-quality software. It has six main stages, and knowing what needs to be done during each stage can help product managers guide the team throughout the process. Let’s break this article to discuss software development and its stages.
What is Software Development?
Software development is a set of dedicated computer activities for creating, designing, coding, deploying, and supporting software. Software is a set of instructions in a specific language that tells a computer what to do without being dependent on hardware, and thus it makes the computer programmable. The followings are the four types of software:
- System Software: It is the bottom layer between the application software and the hardware. System software provides core functions such as disk management and operating systems. Operating systems such as Android and Windows are all system software.
- Utility Software: This is used by system software to perform specific tasks for computers by running in the background. Security and optimization programs in your computer are utility software.
- Programming Software: It provides different tools, such as linkers and text editors, to software developers for coding.
Another type is embedded software that controls devices such as robots and cars. Software engineers, developers, and programmers use programming languages such as Java, C++, and HTML to perform tasks such as displaying images or graphics. Coding is the backbone of development and is considered a driving force for overall SDLC. Writing and deploying coding requires practice and patience. Aspiring programmers can opt for a free coding boot camp online that helps master programming languages with the latest curriculum and best mentors.
Stages of Software Development
Primarily, SDLC has six stages, and here’s a brief breakdown:
- Planning and analysis
- Designing and prototyping
- Software development and coding
- Software testing
- Software deployment
- Operations and maintenance
Now, let’s discuss each stage in detail:
Planning and Analysis
Before the software development team proposes the general idea for any software, they will gather the necessary guidelines from stakeholders and plan and analyze the feasibility of the product. At this point, the product team focuses on what is needed for the software, its competitors, and its revenue. They may ask questions like:
- Who will use this software?
- What are the input and output for the software?
- How will this software be used after deployment?
This stage needs brainstorming and market research to determine its viability in the market. The next stage will start only if the product satisfies every parameter necessary for its success after launch.
Designing and Prototyping
This stage is a necessary precursor for developing computer software. During the design and prototype phase, you work on the software application’s user interface, user experience, architecture, security, and programming. The software development team designs a prototype (one of the early versions of the application) that shows how the software will work and look. It’s easy to modify the software prototype than rewrite the whole code during the development phase.
Software Development and Coding
Teams build the product according to the business guidelines and specifications using different coding languages in the development stage. In software development, front-end developers create user interfaces. In contrast, back-end developers work on data storage, security, and different functions of the servers that you usually don’t see. In some cases, the product team can merge the development stage with the testing stage to run different tests to ensure no bugs are present. Software development and coding are one of the longest protocols for SDLC.
Testing involves different qualitative and quantitative tests to verify the performance of the software before its launch in the market. Some of the tests performed in this stage are:
- User experience test
- Performance test
- Security test
- User interface test
- Usability test
Expert software testers ensure that the product works according to the client’s guidelines and expectations. Any bug, if found, is reported to developers, which is addressed immediately, and testers again repeat the process until the software is free of bugs and work smoothly.
Once the software is free of bugs and errors, the developers can hand it over to the intended customers. When the software is delivered to potential customers, the developer team can carry out testing at a large scale. If any changes or bugs are possibly detected during deployment, it is immediately reported, and the team works to make it error-free.
SDLC team doesn’t stop working after the deployment in the market. They actively maintain contact with the end users and pay attention to their requirements. Customers may find and report any bugs or errors that are missed by the team in the earlier testing phase. Then the team removes the errors and may install new features per customers’ demand.
Successful software development requires the collaborative efforts of engineers, developers/programmers, architects, and team leaders. Development can be challenging if you have a limited budget and time, but a passionate and qualified development team can counter all obstacles, resulting in great breakthroughs in the software development industry.