Software development is a process (also knows as software methodology) that is a set of related activities that lead to the production of the software. These activities may involve the development of the software from the scratch, or, modifying an existing system.
Any software process must include the following four activities:
1. Software specification (or requirements engineering): Define the main functionalities of the software and the constraints around them.
2. Software design and implementation: The software is to be designed and programmed.
3. Software verification and validation: The software must conform to its specification and meets the customer needs.
4. Software evolution (software maintenance): The software is being modified to meet customer and market requirements changes.
In practice, they include sub-activities such as requirements validation, architectural design, unit testing, etc.
There are also supporting activities such as configuration and change management, quality assurance, project management, user experience.
Along with other activities aim to improve the above activities by introducing new techniques, tools, following the best practice, process standardization (so the diversity of software processes is reduced), etc.
The following major activities and tasks we perform during this process:
Extracting the requirements of the desired software product is the first task of creating it. While customers probably believe they know what the software is to do, it may require skill and experience in software engineering to recognize incomplete, ambiguous or contradictory requirements.
The specification is the task of precisely describing the software to be written, in a mathematically 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 before application development. Specs are most important for external interfaces that must remain stable.
The architecture of a software system refers to an abstract representation of that system. Architecture is concerned with making sure the software system will meet the requirements of the product, as well as ensuring that future needs can be addressed.
Reducing a design code may be the most visible part of the software engineering job, but it is not necessarily the most significant portion.
Testing of parts of the software, primarily where code by two different engineers must work together, falls to the software engineer.
An important task is documenting the internal design of software for future maintenance and enhancement.
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’s essential to have training classes for the most enthusiastic software users. Users will have lots of questions and software problems which leads to the next phase of software.
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 60% 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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