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Software development is the process used to create and maintain any software application framework, or other software component. This process is usually performed through a series of sub processes or tasks that help conceive, specify, design, programme, document, and test the software in question. Though the key function of this process is the writing and maintaining of the source code, it usually includes all that is involved between the conception of the desired software through to the final incantation of the software, and this should normally be performed in a planned and structured manner.
To control the development process and manage the resources we also need to consider how the overall project is to be managed. There are many approaches to software project management, and this management process is formed typically though the use of software development life cycle models, methodologies, processes, or models. For example, the waterfall model is a traditional version of a software lifecycle, contrasted with the more recent innovation of agile software development.
To help select the most appropriate Software Development lifecycle to be used you need to consider key aspects including what is being developed and number of resources available. Also, you need to consider the type of software to be created. Software is used everywhere these days and therefore will be developed for a variety of purposes, which can be classified into three main types:
1. to meet specific needs of a specific client/business (custom software),
2. to meet a perceived need of some set of potential users (commercial and open source software), or
3. for personal use (e.g. a scientist may write software to automate a mundane task).
Such a classification would also be a key consideration on defining the Development life cycle to employ.
Another phrase you may well come across is Embedded software development. This specifically relates to the development of software that is typically used for controlling consumer products. These products are usually developed with proprietary hardware and therefore requires the development process to be integrated with the development of the controlled physical product.
If you need help with anything discussed here please do not hesitate to contact us, and we will endeavour to help where we can.
Ideally a quality system is usually integrated into the software development process, which will provide some form of change control to help with bug fixing and future development of additional functions or other changes required. A software developed will benefit from the use of quality systems, however the level to which these systems are applied will depend on and need to be tailored to the software being produced and regulatory requirements that need to be fulfilled.
Though the Quality system is usually defined as a separate process to be effective and efficient it must be considered and integrated as part of the development process, otherwise such quality systems just become a burden to be completed rather than used as a tool to ensure quality of the software produced.
Such systems are commonly required If you need to comply to some form of industrial or other standard when producing software systems. The quality system is used to provide and ensure confidence that the software produced will work as required, especially important in say Avionics / medical arenas.
This need for better quality control of the software development process has given rise to the discipline of software engineering. A software engineer would typically be comfortable in performing any element of the development process, from concept and requirements capture through to testing and final release.
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