Whichever approach to software development you choose, each shares a basic, fundamental tenet – that software development consists of two important and distinct processes: design and implementation.
Clients often want to see concrete results fast, meaning that the design phase can be rushed or cut short.
But the importance of good software design cannot be understated.
Software design encompasses much more than making sure that a client’s solution is aesthetically pleasing. Properly understood, software design is the process of choosing frameworks, languages, scopes, and goals.
Great software design is robust, flexible, testable, efficient, and scalable.
It’s always worth designing a system properly. If you don’t you’ll only encounter other problems further down the line.
A robust solution is one that can cope with errors during execution. In short, this means your software won’t break easily. More specifically, robust software takes advantage of properties such as self-healing and Runtime deployment. The former refers to a system’s ability to perceive that it is not operating correctly and to make necessary adjustments to restore normal operation. The latter ensures that only the Runtime components necessary for a certain process are deployed when that process is run, and thus keeps the application footprint small which prevents your computer slowing down.
Inevitably, over time, your organisation will change. And this is a good thing. You want your organisation to grow and flourish. At the same time, you don’t want your software to place any limit on that growth. As such, flexibility should be built into your solution right at the start. Flexible software is designed to be able to adapt to possible changes in its requirements. This means that, as your organisation changes, your software is able to change with it by adding new features and functionalities as well as removing redundant ones.
Testing is an essential factor when it comes to figuring out how a system can be adapted and improved. For this reason, a system’s testability – its being built in such a way to accommodate testing – is the decisive factor when it comes to the amount of time and money required to test a system. Software is not a static thing, it is dynamic and should evolve and develop to meet its users’ demands. This means that testing should be carried out throughout the lifetime of any piece of software. It keeps a system’s performance quick, efficient, and of high-quality.
Good software is lean. It does not expend any more energy than is absolutely necessary when undertaking a specific task. The causes of a system’s inefficiencies are, more often than not, found in violations of good software design practice. Applications intended to be able to handle huge volumes of data at high speed, for example, cannot afford to have operational bottlenecks or process build-ups. Rooting out the causes of these problems is much more difficult and expensive than simply making sure that they don’t occur in the first place.
As with flexibility, scalability ensures that your system is able to keep up with your organisation. As your organisation grows, the amount of work your software will have to undertake will also increase. Software that functioned perfectly well when you first implemented it can become slow and cumbersome when more demands are placed on it. From the outset, then, scalable processes must be at the heart of your software.