What is Software Development?
Software Development can be defined as the process of designing, programming, specifying, documenting, testing, conceiving, and bug fixing, which together help in the process of developing and maintenance of different frameworks, applications, and the other components of the software.
According to the IBM Research, Software development is defined as the process of inter-related computer science activities that work towards the process of designing, creating, employing, and supporting software.
It is also regarded as the process of writing and maintaining the source code and also includes the processes which are involved in the formulation of the desired software and the final display of the software in a planned or structured manner. Therefore, Software Development can be referred to as the process which includes various activities like modification, prototyping, reuse, maintenance, re-engineering, research, new development, and other such activities that are involved in the development of software and software products.
Development of software serves a variety of purposes such as it can be used to fulfill the certain needs of specific client or business, it can be used to meet the apprehended needs of the potential users or lastly can be used for complying with the needs, demands and its use by self.
Before advancing further, let’s discuss a bit about Software and its types.
The software can be defined as the set of programs and instructions which direct the computer about what to do and what not to do. It is independent of hardware and helps in making the computers programmable. The software can be of four types which are as follows:
Programming Software: The programming software comprises tools like linkers, text editors, compilers, debuggers, and other similar tools which are used by the programmers to formulate code.
System Software: System Software helps in providing for core functions such as operating systems, utilities, disk management, hardware management, and similar other necessary operations.
Application Software: This type of software helps the user in performing a certain specific task such as for developing media players, data management software, office productivity suites, security programs, etc. The word ‘application’ is also used about certain mobile and web applications such as Amazon.com for shopping, Instagram for posting pictures and Facebook for socializing, etc.
Embedded Software: This type of software is used for taking control of devices and machines, which in its prime form are not considered as computers like robots, network cars, etc. These devices along with their software are collectively called a part of the Internet of Things (IoT).
Software Development is carried out by various software developers, software engineers, and programmers who work collectively together to render their services and develop the software programs which can be used across various development departments and communities.
Software Developers perform an informal role as compared to the engineers in the process and are more closely involved in specific tasks such as that of writing code. They are also responsible for taking control of the overall software development cycle, motivates the functional teams to work collectively towards transforming the customer and potential client’s requirements into features, taking care and control of the development teams and processes, and lastly conducting testing of software and its appropriate maintenance.
Software Engineers make use of different engineering principles for making software and systems to solve problems. Different types of modeling languages and tools are used for making solutions that can be used for solving the problems in a general way rather than solving the problem in a client-specific manner. The solutions used by the software engineers comply strictly with the scientific method and works in the real world just like for elevators and bridges etc.
Programmers or coders are responsible for writing source codes to program computers for performing certain tasks like processing online orders, merging databases, conducting searches, etc. The appropriate instructions are given by the software developers and engineers and the programmers interpret these instructions by using programming languages like Java and C++ for developing software.
Other than the aforementioned team of people, other professionals such as hardware makers, device fabricators, and scientists also work collectively and help in the process of software development.
Custom Software Development v/s Commercial Software Development
It is important to understand that there exists a stark difference between custom software development and commercial software development. Custom Software Development is referred to as the process of creating, designing, deploying, and maintaining the software for use by potential customers and organizations for performing certain functions. On the other hand, commercial software development has been designed for the fulfillment of a broad spectrum of requirements that could be packaged efficiently and marketed and distributed for commercial purposes.
Would you like to read more about this topic? This book might interest you: Software Development Fundamentals.