Whether you are new to programming or just got accepted into a software company you need to read about the program development process first or as some people may call it the software development life cycle or SDLC.
The world has evolved and technology has become more important than ever, look around you a lot of problems or ideas are being solved or executed using technology and data science, the excitement to learn programming has risen at least that’s what I’m thinking or feeling at the moment without going back to case studies or anything like that.
If you’re new to the software development world and haven’t decided what programming language to start with I recommend you to learn Python, an easy to follow and beginner friendly language that you can start learning about right away and it’s popular too, you can pretty much do anything with it whether it’s a Mobile, desktop or web application… you name it.
In this post, I’m going to explain what the program development process consists of and the meaning of every phase so pay close attention before you get started on your next project.
What is the Program Development Process?
It’s a process that you need to be aware of and follow in order to make the least mistakes possible and eventually come up with a clean software project, it consists of multiple phases starting with the idea or the problem and ending up with maintenance.
Problem or Idea
This is the first step, When you come up with an idea for new software that’s going to make you rich or solve a big problem that the world has or if you’re working for a software company and a client came to you to help him execute his idea.
That’s how it usually happens, or perhaps you faced a tiny issue while you were working on a project and that idea popped into your head (a bulb magically appears).
You need first to determine the goals of this software and write it down on paper, this paper will contain the idea along with other options.
The Programming Language
Next, you need to determine what’s the best programming language to use, some languages won’t suit your needs and some languages are faster than the others, is your software aimed at web users, desktop users or mobile devices users? Does it have to be quick or low speed is just fine?
- If it’s a desktop software, use a language like C, C# or C++.
- If it’s web software, use PHP or Python.
- If it’s a mobile application, then Java is the most common language to use.
An algorithm is a set of rules or instructions which are given to the computer to follow step by step or line by line, the algorithm phase is a critical and very important phase because it outlines or describes how an issue is going to be solved, there are several ways to illustrate an algorithm but the most common one is the Pseudocode method or flowcharts, you simply draw some blocks and arrows, each block says something like Yes or No, if Yes then follow this arrow if No them follow the other one, you’ll understand how it works if you look at the image below.
Skip this step if you’re working on your own but in most cases big projects are being handled by a group or team where everyone handles a specific task or aspect to start working on, for example, let’s say that the first person or the team manager is going to handle the algorithm process and other members of the team will handle the interface design and back-end development, the last ones will test the software looking for any bugs or maybe suggest some edits or additional features.
User Interface Design
The regular user or as most people call him “Average Joe” can’t deal with a bad designed software or as we call it the “console software”, a real user wants to see colors and buttons which are easy to navigate through, this is where the UI developer’s role comes, he draws a rough sketch of the first version of the software on paper or specific software and then transfers the concept to a GUI software where he designs the user interface, it’s like CSS and HTML if it’s a web software.
The hard part has come, I think this is the part where a lot of the team members are involved, every member handles a part or section, bear in mind that the use of comments can be very useful here, you don’t want to miss it up for everyone especially in the next phases (Debugging and Maintenance)
Debugging or Testing
Bugs are an essential part of any coding process and it’s the most thing that annoys programmers or developers, bugs or errors can be divided into two types.
The software runs fine without any errors but it doesn’t follow what we had in mind, a stupid mistake can lead to an infinite loop where the program will never stop or end it’ll just keep running forever, a program simply follows what it’s told to do so the logical error is a developer’s mistake, he needs to write the software in a correct manner in order to come up with the desired outcome.
This one is easy to fix, modern environments will tell you where the mistake is, for example, a missing semicolon or curly braces.
This is the last phase, after the team finishes the project or the software and delivers it to the client there will be always some bugs that the users will report or suggestions or features that the client wants to add or modify in the future.
So the team or the client must keep in touch with each other in case any of the previous situations come up.
It doesn’t stop here, after you finish the development process you need to market your big idea to the world, look for beta users, ask your friends and family to try it out, if you don’t listen to their suggestions and comments your software is not going to succeed easily.