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Program development stages – how are programs created and designed?

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Hello, today we will talk about how high-quality programs are created, or rather, I will tell you what stages this process is divided into, so if you want to create cool applications, then you should definitely follow all these stages, well, or at least a large one part of them. All these stages are provided by the famous software development companies, including IntellectSoft.

Why do you need to design a program and follow the development steps?

You may ask why you need to follow some stages there, because developing a program is just sitting down and writing a code. However, this is not the case, with this approach it will not work to create a normal application.

Depending on the size of software projects, the development stages may differ, in some cases they will be very detailed and bureaucratic stages, and in some they will be simply formulated in any form convenient for developers.

So, for example, when building a barn in your country house, you will not plan, research, inspect something in detail there, but in the case of, say, the construction of a power plant, everything will be planned in great detail, designed, the working hours of the workers will be scheduled every minute, so as the cost of an error at any stage will be significantly higher than in the case of the construction of a simple barn.

The same happens in software development, if the project is large and very important, which may affect people’s lives or is associated with huge financial risks, all stages of software development will be followed, i.e. worked out in detail and even new stages, micro-stages and so on will be added.

All this is done in order to prevent errors and implement the product that is really needed.

The sooner errors are discovered or the wrong approach to the implementation of an action is revealed, the less the cost of these errors will be. In other words, depending on the stage of error detection, its price can change from 10 to 100 times. Therefore, the stages of software development are very important, and the developer must comply with them and try to convey this vision to managers who always need only the result … Since they either devote too little time to this or do not consider it necessary at all, for example, why develop any requirements or design something there when programming.

Step 1 – Defining the problem

Before you start coding, you need to clearly formulate the problem that your future program should solve. Because without a good definition of the problem, you can spend a lot of time and effort solving the wrong problem.

At this stage, a simple formulation of the essence of the problem is carried out without any hints at its possible solutions, while it should be formulated in a language understandable to the user, i.e. it must be described from a user point of view.

Stage 2 – Formulation of requirements

What are requirements and why do you need to develop them?

Requirements for a program are a detailed description of all the features of the program and the actions that the program must perform. Such requirements are sometimes also referred to as “Functional Specification” or simply “Specification” .

Requirements are designed to minimize changes to the system once development begins. Such requirements must necessarily be official, i.e. documented. This ensures that the functionality of the system is determined by the customer and not the programmer. Even in the case of internal corporate developments, such requirements must be recorded, for example, in the form of a technical assignment signed by all involved persons, thereby avoiding unnecessary conversations and disputes, for example, about the fact that the implemented functionality does not do everything or is wrong.

Requirements development is very important, as it allows you to define the functionality of the program before starting programming.

Stage 3 – Create a development plan

At this stage, you should already formally draw up a software development plan, taking into account the existing problem and the developed requirements. In other words, you must make a plan for how you will proceed next.

Stage 4 – System architecture or high-level design

This stage is also very important, because, without a good architecture, you can solve the right problem, but come to the wrong solution. Good program architecture makes programming easier, and bad architecture makes it harder.

The system architecture usually includes:

  • General description of the system;
  • Main components;
  • Format and method of data storage;
  • Specific business rules;
  • The way the user interface is organized;
  • System security approach;
  • Performance ratings;
  • Scaling capabilities;
  • Moments related to internationality, i.e. whether the system will be international.

In addition, the architecture should include confirmation that the design of this architecture considered alternatives in each of the above directions, with the rationale for the final choice and approach.

Stage 5 – Detailed design

At this stage, the design of the program is carried out at a low level, in other words, classes and methods are designed here, various options are considered, evaluated and compared, and the reasons for choosing the final approaches and methods of implementation.

When developing small programs, programmers usually design the program themselves at this level, it looks like writing pseudocode or drawing diagrams, therefore this stage is often considered as part of the direct coding and in such cases the final document ( if formality requires it ) consists mainly of various sketches and notes programmers.

But in the implementation of large projects, this process is assigned a separate stage and design in this case is carried out with a very high degree of detail.

Stage 6 – Coding and Debugging

This is exactly the stage that everyone knows and probably thinks that this is the only stage in the software development process – this is the direct writing of the code and its debugging. But, as you can see, this is far from the first and not the only stage of software development.

If all of the above steps are completed, then this step implies purely mechanical work, i.e. coding. In this case, the programmer does not need to invent and develop something on his own, he just needs to write the code that implements the given algorithm, which is very detailed in the project.

After the code is written, the programmer needs to debug this code so that there are no errors in it.

Stage 7 – Testing the Components

After the code is written and debugged, it is necessary to test the implemented functionality. If a program consists of several components, each component is tested first separately, since very large programs include huge functionality, which is often divided into separate components, the development of which is carried out separately. On smaller projects, this step may simply involve testing individual classes.

Phase 8 – Component Integration

When testing of all components is finished, you can proceed to the integration of all components into a single software package, this stage just implies the integration process, i.e. merging all components into a single system.

In small projects, this stage may consist in combining several classes, which will take no more than one day, but in large projects this stage may last for more than one month.

Stage 9 – Testing the entire system

At this stage, the entire system is tested, already taking into account the integration of all components. At this stage, you can identify problems with the interaction of components and fix them. Also at this stage, the main subject of testing is security, performance, resource leakage and other points that cannot be tested at lower testing levels.

Stage 10 – Maintenance, modification, optimization

After the program is launched into commercial operation, the program is maintained, i.e. making changes based on the identified shortcomings during the operation of the system, as well as optimizing the functionality or adding a new one.

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