There are a number of fundamental aspects of software engineering that are applicable to a diverse range of software systems that one should take note of.
In a nutshell, software engineering is the systematic approach to the analysis, design, implementation/execution, maintenance and evolution of software systems. Therefore, through software engineering, various kinds of programs are developed every day by hard-working and motivated developers everywhere, in the pursuit of digitising and automating various tasks.
However, despite each project being completely different as it’s targeted for specific niches or purposes, they tend to possess similarities in terms of their development process and fundamentals to adhere to.
Having said that, by identifying these stages and essential considerations, the overall development process can be strategised to one’s advantage.
Overall this simplified post is intended to help software engineering students garner a better understanding of these various fundamental qualities, aspects and tasks/activities that contribute to the development of a software product or system.
With that said, let’s jump right into it!
Table of Contents
- Software Engineering Fundamentals Applied to All Software Systems
- 1. Develop Using a Managed and Understood Development Process or Plan
- 2. Understand and Manage the Software Specification and Requirements
- 3. Emphasis on Reliability, Dependability and Performance
- Fundamental Activities of the Software Process
Software Engineering Fundamentals Applied to All Software Systems
1. Develop Using a Managed and Understood Development Process or Plan
One such software engineering fundamental that’s applied across all types of software systems is, these systems must be developed using a managed and understood development process. The software developer should lay out the plan of the development process with clear ideas of the final product and its completion date. Understandably, despite commonly having a managed and strategic development process, the processes differ depending on the type of software.
2. Understand and Manage the Software Specification and Requirements
Thirdly, across all software system types, there’s an importance to understand and manage the software specification and requirements. Essentially, the software developer should be aware of different customers and users (Stakeholders) that interact with the system and their expectations of the system. Thus, the developer should aim to fulfil and manage these requirements and expectations. Hence, this allows the final system to be successfully delivered to the customer while keeping to the predetermined budget and schedule.
Fourthly, when possible, systems should leverage software reuse. Therefore, instead of developing and writing new software or code, we can reuse the same code from a different section that achieves the same or similar output. Overall, the priority is that systems should effectively reuse existing resources. For instance, using lesser memory and processor cycles. Therefore, in order to ensure efficiency, developers should pay close attention to the system’s responsiveness, processing time, memory utilisation, etc.
3. Emphasis on Reliability, Dependability and Performance
Secondly, all types of software systems should focus on reliability, dependability and performance for all system types. Thus, the system should behave as required and intended, without encountering failures. At the same time, the system should be available for use whenever needed and initiated. Plus, the system should be acceptable for the intended users. Hence the system should be intuitive, understandable, usable and compatible with other systems that they use.
Also, the system should fulfil safety concerns during its operation both environmental, physical and economic in the event of a system failure, while maintaining security against external attacks and malicious users. Additionally, the system should be resourceful and operate efficiently without wasting resources.
Fundamental Activities of the Software Process
Additionally, there are 4 fundamental activities within the software process across all software systems:
1. Software Specification
Firstly, there’s the software specification stage, where we the customers (stakeholders) and developers, define the requirements, the system should fulfil and the constraints it should obey. This is crucial for the entire software development process as it sets out the whole plan that needs to be followed.
2. Software Development
Moving on is the software development stage. Here the system is designed and coded/developed based on the plans and requirements that have been prepared earlier.
3. Software Validation
After that, is the software validation stage. Here, the developed software is checked and tested thoroughly for mistakes and bugs, preventing it from functioning as intended. Most importantly, the system should function according to the customers’ requirements. Typically, the system is tested based on predetermined metrics. Only when the system passes these checks will it be ready for the next stage.
4. Software Evolution
Finally, there’s the software evolution stage. Here, the aim is to improve and maintain the final product or software so that it caters to different users and the new market needs. As the market evolves with new requirements, the system should also be updated to fulfil those needs. The priority is that the system is maintainable, scalable, and open to software change.
To sum up, taking the software engineering fundamentals and activities into consideration can help systemise the entire software development process. This ensures that every stage proceeds systematically allowing for an effective implementation and deployment of the desired program.
That being said, in this article, we explored the various fundamental considerations of software engineering and software process activities that are applied to all types of software systems.
With that said, we hope you’ve found this guide helpful in bolstering your understanding of software engineering.
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