Software development encompasses the creation, design, deployment, and support of computer software. What does a software engineer do? What is exactly included in the development process?
Developing software implies several stages and involves professionals in various fields of expertise. Project managers initiate it by analyzing the project's goals and objectives. Architects design working prototypes, while developers transform the prototypes into the product. Testing engineers find bugs and refine functionality. And it's only an approximate model that software development companies follow. Coordinated teamwork is the key to successful project completion. Depending on the project's complexity, the team may need to be extended.
Custom software development takes up a great part of the global market. There are plenty of options that sometimes may be confusing. Offshore software development also becomes more popular today, as it's an easy and cost-effective way to establish a tech partnership with a remote development team.
Before deciding who will develop your product, it's helpful to have a closer look at the actual working stages and essential factors you may need to consider.
Types of Software Development
Before deciding on your product's final form, you should learn the differences between different types of software development.
Desktop Software Development
Desktop programming is one of the original types of software development. A desktop application is a program that runs on any kind of personal computer. It's run as a regular executable file on a user's device. Desktop software development is the classic type of programming. Such software is created for traditional operational systems - Windows, Linux, or Mac OS. Standard desktop software doesn't necessarily require an Internet connection and can function offline.
Desktop software has its proven advantages: it's fast, reliable, performant, and has easy and clear licensing. Desktop software development often utilizes Python, Java, C/C++, C#, VB.NET.
In mobile development, programmers create software for mobile devices - smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, etc. These applications can be preinstalled on the user's device or downloaded from various software distribution platforms. Some products are web applications with no “native” platform-dependent code. In this case, the user gets an "application-like" experience in a web browser.
Apple offers the two most popular options for iOS software development:
- Objective-C is a 'veteran' programming language with a long history and established community;
- Swift is a young and rapidly growing programming language designed to correct some inherited weakness of Objective-C.
Swift becomes more popular among developers as it's a powerful yet easy-to-learn language with concise yet expressive syntax, while Objective-C remains the primary iOS development language.
Developers creating software for the Android platform use a great variety of languages, frameworks, and libraries. The two most demanded languages are Java and Kotlin.
- Java is one of the most popular worldwide programming languages offering a wide range of features;
Kotlin can be viewed as an alternative for Java, designed specifically for a better Android development experience.
- Kotlin can be viewed as an alternative for Java, designed specifically for a better Android development experience.
Kotlin has clear and precise code and is considered the most popular language for Android-based software development. At the same time, Java holds its position as a wide-spread fast, reliable, and secure programming instrument.
There are also plenty of mobile development frameworks that allow you to make an application for both iOS and Android from a single code base.
- React Native is an open-source mobile app framework created by Facebook that utilizes the “Learn once, use everywhere” coding principle.
- Apache Cordova is an open-source, easy, and fast framework for building cross-platform apps while using minimum code.
Both frameworks utilize many technologies from a web development field, which makes them extremely popular among developers.
Web development includes creating websites, data-driven APIs, or web applications that act and feel like native apps but run in a web browser. Like other types of software development, web development is a complex and fast-changing process. Depending on the development stage, developers use different languages and tools:
- Backend tasks are performed in PHP, Ruby, Java, or Python.
Software Development Process
Approaches to the software development process determine project success. The software development methodology is a system that defines assessment and control methods and the task order. Its choice depends on the project's objectives, budget, and implementation time. A well-chosen methodology ensures the product's stability and functionality.
The software development lifecycle (SDLC) is a well-defined, structured sequence of software development stages. The approaches differ in how the SDLC is interrelated. There are several software development process models. All of them include five key stages.
1. Idea Validation
Every successful project starts with communication between a client and the software developer team. It's essential to define areas for improvement and determine if the proposed model is practical for implementation. At this stage of software development, specialists work with specific requirements and set realistic timeframes for project completion. Providing more detailed information about your goals ensures the project's success.
2. Product Design
The company's in-house team creates a product's prototype model. Many software development companies create custom software designs that depend on the project's specific goals and objectives. This software development process stage involves UX and UI design professionals. Creating a prototype saves resources and reduces time spent on secondary features.
This is the most important and time-consuming stage of the software development process. The software developers team chooses the right tech stack and creates an end-to-end solution. At this stage, programmers write the product's source code. A detailed and well-organized design means far fewer troubles for project development. The software is created piece-by-piece to streamline the development process. Any part of the system is carefully debugged and tested before it becomes a foundation for the next set of features.
Thorough testing is an essential part of the software development process, notably affecting the project's success. There are always bugs to fix and room for improvements. Experienced developers conduct extensive quality assurance (QA) testing. In many cases, it's done both internally and externally. At this stage, a collaborative approach helps the programmers see which areas can be optimized. Custom software development companies make sure the product fully meets the clients' requirements and matches their vision.
The launch is the final stage of the software development process. Many companies provide the product's marketing support upon launch. It ensures the project's success. Dedicated software developers offer strong technical support for their products. They employ monitoring tools that prevent potential threats and unforeseen circumstances.
Software Development Team Structure
Any project's success depends on the software development team and effective management techniques. What do software developers do to keep the process well-organized and efficient? Taking in various input from experts at each stage and creating a multi-skilled team are key to effective project implementation. Successful companies have a clear software development team structure - from senior software engineers to marketing managers and designers - each team member has explicit responsibilities and objectives. Effective workflow is based on teamwork:
- The project managers ensure flawless communication between the company, the developers' team, and the client.
- Various software development team roles (backend and frontend developers, QA engineers, architects, and designers) collaborate to perform tasks according to the chosen development model.
A well-established software development company usually practices multiple interview hiring processes when senior specialists identify candidates' soft and hard skills. It's followed by an in-house trial time to ensure each team member contributes to the overall company's success.
Secure Software Development
Secure software development is a set of additional practices at each stage of the product lifecycle. The Security Development Lifecycle process (SDL) was first developed and implemented by Microsoft in 2004. Since then, it has proved effective and has been used by most world-renowned companies one way or another related to information security.
It's important to mention that even the most sophisticated development process cannot guarantee 100% solution security. So it makes sense to ensure a sufficient level of trust for each given task.
- Secure coding is part of the overall secure software development. It's a technique that prevents accidental vulnerability and provides resistance to malware and unauthorized access. Bugs and logical errors are the main cause of software vulnerabilities.
- Threat simulation is another application protection method that identifies potential threats and their preemption from an attacker's perspective.
When software becomes more complex and the codebase increases, it widens the potential threat horizon. Specialists note that the secure software development life cycle requires the right coding culture, process automation, and a collaborative approach.
Software development is a complex, multi-faceted process that involves professionals of diverse expertise fields. When choosing a custom software development company, you should consider factors like their proven cases, team structure, and secure development experience.
The best companies rely on effective management and excellent teamwork when deciding on software development process models and strategies. This article covered the most important development stages and key factors to consider to make a successful and long-term tech partnership.
Remember - your IT product's success depends on which development company you choose.
Even the most innovative idea can turn into an unclaimed and inconvenient product when incorrectly implemented. Yet, with a comprehensive and serious approach, you can bring to life even your bravest ideas.
Partnering Up With Develux
Professional outsourcing agency Develux will guide your software development project and help you optimize, enhance, and expand your business reach and revenue.
We provide expertise and experience for e-commerce projects, B2B services, and B2C services; we also help develop startups.
Our team of software developers includes experts in:
- Web and mobile application development
- Data & analytics solutions
- Business automation
- Quality assurance
- UI/UX design
Our company follows the principle You delegate, we innovate. We help our partners implement the most adventurous ideas and guarantee results.
- We use state-of-the-art solutions and innovative equipment.
- We maintain a cost-saving balance.
- We offer end-to-end project management and provide interim reports.
- We are on call 24/7.
Questions & Answers
How Do You Choose a Software Development Services Company?
There are many factors you should consider when choosing a software development company. Here's a list of key factors:
- Experience and expertise
- Workflow models and development methods
- Transparency and flexibility
- Time efficiency
- Long-term support
What Is Outcome-Driven Development?
In programming, outcome-driven development focuses on the customer-value of the software. It underscores the importance of customer satisfaction and utilizes principles like "quality over quantity of features." Outcome-driven development dictates software engineers to use advanced analytics and create feedback loops to monitor and improve customer experience constantly.
What Is an Agile Software Process?
The agile software development model suggests that all the lifecycle stages are accomplished within a single iteration and ready for any changes. Your project is divided into short periods. Each period is based on a separate task list. And each task has its evaluation level.
What Are the Software Development Trends in 2021?
The exponential growth of the Internet and cloud services results in more and more software products moving entirely to the cloud or utilizing some network-based features. Many performance-demanding tasks are performed on the cloud servers instead of the user's devices. It is also dictated by a growing number of mobile device users globally.
Which Factors Influence the Cost of Software Development?
There are various factors affecting the software development cost. Here's the list of the most important ones:
- Project complexity: application and desired functionality
- Platform type and multi-platform functionality
- Internal infrastructure (backend) & API
- Secure development
- Extensive testing phase
- The number of involved professionals
- The number of software development tools
What is Software Engineering?
Software is an application of a systematic, disciplined, measurable approach to software development, operation, and maintenance. The term also includes the research process of these approaches.
Software vs. Program vs. Script - What’s the Difference?
Usually, a program is a set of instructions written in a programming language to perform a single task. The software puts together several programs and data files to provide a more complex experience. And the script is a micro-program that often serves as input for another software product to automate some of its functions.
What Are the Most Popular Types of Software Development?
The most popular software development types include desktop software, mobile, and web development. Desktop software implies classic desktop programs run on a user's computer. Mobile development covers building apps for platforms like Android and iOS. And web development includes all the processes run from your web browser.