Software development is the set of activities that results in software products. Software development may include research, new development, modification, reuse, re-engineering, maintenance, or any other activities that result in software products. Especially the first phase in the software development process may involve many departments, including marketing, engineering, research and development and general management.
The term software development may also refer to computer programming, the process of writing and maintaining the source code.
Software Development Overview
There are several different approaches to software development, much like the various views of political parties toward governing a country. Some take a more structured, engineering-based approach to developing business solutions, whereas others may take a more incremental approach, where software evolves as it is developed piece-by-piece. Most methodologies share some combination of the following stages of software development:
* Market research
* Gathering requirements for the proposed business solution
* Analyzing the problem
* Devising a plan or design for the software-based solution
* Implementation (coding) of the software
* Testing the software
* Maintenance and bug fixing
These stages are often referred to collectively as the software development lifecycle, or SDLC. Different approaches to software development may carry out these stages in different orders, or devote more or less time to different stages. The level of detail of the documentation produced at each stage of software development may also vary. These stages may also be carried out in turn (a “waterfall” based approach), or they may be repeated over various cycles or iterations (a more "extreme" approach). The more extreme approach usually involves less time spent on planning and documentation, and more time spent on coding and development of automated tests. More “extreme” approaches also promote continuous testing throughout the development lifecycle, as well as having a working (or bug-free) product at all times. More structured or “waterfall” based approaches attempt to assess the majority of risks and develop a detailed plan for the software before implementation (coding) begins, and avoid significant design changes and re-coding in later stages of the software development lifecycle.
There are significant advantages and disadvantages to the various methodologies, and the best approach to solving a problem using software will often depend on the type of problem. If the problem is well understood and a solution can be effectively planned out ahead of time, the more "waterfall" based approach may work the best. If, on the other hand, the problem is unique (at least to the development team) and the structure of the software solution cannot be easily envisioned, then a more "extreme" incremental approach may work best. A software development process is a structure imposed on the development of a software product. Synonyms include software life cycle and software process. There are several models for such processes, each describing approaches to a variety of tasks or activities that take place during the process.
Software development topics
Marketing Software Products and Software Development Services
The sources of ideas for software products are legion. These ideas can come from market research including the demographics of potential new customers, existing customers, sales prospects who rejected the product, other internal software development staff, or a creative third party. Ideas for software products are usually first evaluated by marketing personnel for economic feasibility, for fit with existing channels distribution, for possible effects on existing product lines, required features, and for fit with the company's marketing objectives. In a marketing evaluation phase, the cost and time assumptions become evaluated. A decision is reached early in the first phase as to whether, based on the more detailed information generated by the marketing and development staff, the project should be pursued further.
In the book "Great Software Debates", Alan M. Davis states in the chapter "Requirements", subchapter "The Missing Piece of Software Development":
“ Students of engineering learn engineering and are rarely exposed to finance or marketing. Students of marketing learn marketing and are rarely exposed to finance or engineering. Most of us become specialists in just one area. To complicate matters, few of us meet interdisciplinary people in the workforce, so there are few roles to mimic. Yet, software product planning is critical to the development success and absolutely requires knowledge of multiple disciplines. ”
Because software development may involve compromising or going beyond what is required by the client, a software development project may stray into less technical concerns such as human resources, risk management, intellectual property, budgeting, crisis management, etc. These processes may also cause the role of business development to overlap with software development.
Software development methodology
A software development methodology is a framework that is used to structure, plan, and control the process of developing information systems. A wide variety of such frameworks have evolved over the years, each with its own recognized strengths and weaknesses. One system development methodology is not necessarily suitable for use by all projects. Each of the available methodologies is best suited to specific kinds of projects, based on various technical, organizational, project and team considerations.
Recent trends in software development
Given the rapid growth of this sector, several companies have started to use offshore development in India, China and other countries with a lower cost per developer model. Several new Web 2.0 platforms and sites are now developed offshore while management is located in Western countries. The advantages mostly revolve around better cost-control over the process, which means that there is lower cash-outflow (often the biggest struggle for startups). Furthermore, the time difference when working with India and China for the Western world allows work to be done round the clock adding a competitive advantage. Notable firms that are involved in development include Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, Wipro, and Pegasus InfoCorp.
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