Software standards - understanding the development methodologies
For many programmers, programming is more of an art than a science. They believe that each and every programmer has their own style and preferences. While it is not completely wrong, whether it is a good thing or bad is highly doubtful. People, who think that programming should not be taken as an art form, argue that due to this perception, the industry is unable to establish and maintain standards strategies and methodologies. They can never be more wrong!
Software development, whether it's mobile, web or desktop, has proper methodologies that are commonly followed by qualified and experienced programmers. The only problem is that most of the programmers, especially those who lack proper education and qualification, are not aware of their existence and therefore, oblivious to their usage.
Another reason why following standards are not commonly heard of in the industry is because there isn't just one methodology followed throughout the industry. There is a multitude of strategies and approaches designed to cater varying project requirements and programming preferences. Therefore, choosing one that fits both bills for you is one of the major concerns.
Today, we will discuss some of the widely known and used methodologies in order to help you understand how expert programmers maintain the standards.
The traditional (waterfall) methodology
It is the traditional development methodology and you might be using it without even knowing. This methodology emphasizes on structural progression between different phases. All the activities and tasks defined in one phase must be accomplished in order to enter the next phase. This methodology plays a very important role in understanding all the requirements before starting the development process. However, a major drawback is that you cannot see the results in earlier stages and any changes required later can prove quite costly.
The iterative (incremental) approach
The loopholes in the waterfall are pretty much filled by the iterative or incremental approach. Using this approach, a project is developed in the form of several releases. Each release includes an added functionality. Several similar iterations may be required in order to achieve the desired functionality. Many people define iterative approach as an extension of the waterfall strategy where a prototype is developed and evaluated at every stage.
Rational Unified Process (RUP)
RUP methodology was created to once again answer another major shortcoming of the traditional method. It works as a complete framework that provides not only the guidelines but also the tools and templates required by the team. While it is effective for large scale complex projects, it can prove to be quite costly for smaller projects.
Agile development methodologies
Agile methodologies are so far considered the most effective in terms of cost, time and quality of the project. Agile methodologies are based on iterative strategy, and therefore, minimize risks to a great extent. However, the major focus of agile methods is to establish real time communication within the team, as well as between the team and the client, through various channels.
Agile methodologies have proven highly successful over the years. This is largely due to the ability to change according to the project requirements. That is the reason we have a quite number of methodologies based on the agile framework. Some of the useful ones to learn about are Scrum, Crystal, Lean and Extreme programming.