Thursday, August 7, 2008

Software Development Process

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. . Let us see the steps involve in any software development.

Domain Analysis

Often the first step in attempting to design a new piece of software, whether it be an addition to an existing software, a new application, a new subsystem or a whole new system, is what is generally referred to as "Domain Analysis". Assuming that the developers (including the analysts) are not sufficiently knowledgeable in the subject area of the new software, the first task is to investigate the so-called "domain" of the software. The more knowledgeable they are about the domain already, the less the work required. Another objective of this work is to make the analysts who will later try to elicit and gather the requirements from the area experts or professionals, speak with them in the domain's own terminology and to better understand what is being said by these people. Otherwise they will not be taken seriously. So, this phase is an important prelude to extracting and gathering the requirements.

Software Elements Analysis

The most important task in creating a software product is extracting the requirements. Clients typically know what they want, but not what software should do, while incomplete, ambiguous or contradictory requirements are recognized by skilled and experienced software engineers. Frequently demonstrating live code may help reduce the risk that the requirements are incorrect.

Specification

Specification is the task of precisely describing the software to be written, possibly in a rigorous way. In practice, most successful specifications are written to understand and fine-tune applications that were already well-developed, although safety-critical software systems are often carefully specified prior to application development. Specifications are most important for external interfaces that must remain stable.

Implementation (or coding)

Reducing a design to code may be the most obvious part of the software engineering job, but it is not necessarily the largest portion.

Testing

Testing of parts of software, especially where code by two different engineers must work together falls to the software engineer.

Documentation

An important (and often overlooked) task is documenting the internal design of software for the purpose of future maintenance and enhancement. Documentation is most important for external interfaces.

Software Training and Support

A large percentage of software projects fail because the developers fail to realize that it doesn't matter how much time and planning a development team puts into creating software if nobody in an organization ends up using it. People are occasionally resistant to change and avoid venturing into an unfamiliar area so, as a part of the deployment phase, it is very important to have training classes for the most enthusiastic software users (build excitement and confidence), shifting the training towards the neutral users intermixed with the avid supporters, and finally incorporate the rest of the organization into adopting the new software. Users will have lots of questions and software problems which lead to the next phase of software.

Maintenance

Maintaining and enhancing software to cope with newly discovered problems or new requirements can take far more time than the initial development of the software. Not only may it be necessary to add code that does not fit the original design but just determining how software works at some point after it is completed may require significant effort by a software engineer. About ⅔ of all software engineering work is maintenance, but this statistic can be misleading. A small part of that is fixing bugs. Most maintenance is extending systems to do new things, which in many ways can be considered new work.

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Software Development



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