Software development is a vast subject indeed, no matter how much techies tend to wave this off. It is pretty common to see an application that doesn't meet the standards of good software. The most relatable example is one with bugs. Nevertheless, you can avoid these app and web development challenges if you use the best practices to solve them.
So is there a practice guide to follow for software app development? And what practices would give you a smooth ride down this journey? Android mobile app development trends keep changing, but these best practices will be required throughout the years, with any new trend. Even if you're outsourcing web app development, make sure to work with a contractor that follows the best practices.
Read on to find out more. But first, let's take a look at some of the best practices.
Why do you need to use best practices for software development?
Most developers don't understand the most efficient approach to solving software challenges. But if you want to enjoy software development, you need to use the best methods. These practices will help you improve your coding skills and the quality of your job. Moreover, you will make the most out of software development by using them.
The best approaches may not be the best per se, but developers who use these approaches record testimonies. And so, it is safe to say these approaches are the basics for success in software development.
5 best practices you need to ease your software development journey
Some tested and trusted practices you should use in software development include:
Defining the software requirements
It goes without saying that software needs vary from application to application. Defining these needs properly will help you understand and apply the best possible solutions.
You need a document with information about the software to define the needs. The SRSD (Software Requirement Specification Document) has a detailed outline of the software specifications. It lays the foundation for all activities in the software. Some details in the document include:
- Software design characteristics
- Design diagrams
- Responses of the software to data input
- External and internal interfaces
- Software challenges, decisions, and so on.
The SRSD ensures you figure out the demands of the project. The document should be clear, concise, structured, and correct. The clarity and consistency of information don't depend on who writes the information in the document.
Troubleshoot the SRSD when the need arises. The document should be open to modification and review anytime too.
Sticking to a framework
Use an application framework to develop the software. In simple terms, the framework collects reusable components from previous tasks. These components save time and ease your job by limiting the repetition of tasks. For example, it means you can focus on writing codes instead of managing databases, file conversion, and formatting. It, therefore, helps you produce an improved code quality in the end.
The correct application framework provides the basics for app development and security. Appsec should be a key focus as you develop an application. So a framework ensures you use the right tools, languages, structures, and platforms for the project from scratch for full security. In addition, there's compatibility across the different platforms, as bridging these platforms is possible. Finally, to an extent, a reliable framework ensures consistency with your code style.
Keeping the code simple
The essence of keeping the code simple is not emphasized enough. The concept ensures software developers reduce the unnecessary complexity of the app in development.
Keeping the code simple doesn't mean you reduce it to a few lines. Keeping it simple means the software is as easy to read and understand. A simple code should be easy to maintain and correct when there's a problem.
Why does keeping it simple have to come up? You produce a simple code when you think you need to keep the code simple. This happens because you focus more on producing what is easy to understand.
Keeping the code simple goes together with other standard software tips. One of the most common is DRY- Don't Repeat Yourself. This implies you must cut off the fluff and be as minimal with information as possible. Another mantra, YAGNI (You Aren't Gonna Need It), depicts you include only the information you need now. Coding for the future is never necessary. The end doesn't turn out how we imagine it to be. So why stress it?
Keeping it simple doesn't mean you are the only one to understand your code. Remember, simple is relative. So simple should be simple for everyone, not the code owner alone.
Some of the best ways to get a simple code include shared ownership, mob programming, promiscuous pairing, etc. Sometimes, the more people are involved in app development, the simpler it becomes.
Testing your code ensures your code works as you expect it to work. By testing, you can catch and notice errors before you launch the software. It will always be difficult to debug if you don't test the code enough. In addition, testing ensures others understand how the code works.
Depending on what you are testing or the testing stage you are in, the types of testing include:
- Sanity testing: You do this to ensure that all essential functions work as you expect them to.
- Functional testing: Tests how the entire application works/functions.
- Integration testing: Test how the different code components work together.
- Unit testing: Test individual units or components and if they work as you expect them.
Write the software unit test before the code to reduce frequent testing and retest cases. In addition, writing the unit test first reduces bugs and vulnerability to security threats.
Helpful tips to improve testing are:
- Understand how DevOps testing works
- Try Shift left testing. It helps one find bugs early.
- Automate your testing process at frequent intervals.
- If you can't automate testing, explore testing as a service, Taas. Taas is an option to help smaller enterprises that cannot afford to automate their testing process.
Getting code reviews
If you work on the project alone, you will need to ensure that you get a review from someone else. You often cannot identify some code lapses yourself, as you are too familiar with them – it's the same principle as writers not editing their own work because they want to see it as clearly or objectively as somebody else. In addition, you need to understand that even after rigorous testing and retesting, your software may still end up with bugs.
Have someone run it through for you. They will very likely point out mistakes that were not obvious to you. Reviews from multiple people will only improve the overall quality of your app in development.
Using these software practices undeniably increases efficiency and quality. Furthermore, these practices will also help to limit the introduction of bugs and blockages into your work. Lesser bugs imply that hackers are less likely to exploit the software too.
Remember that this list doesn't include all the practices you must employ. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and you would be well to use this as a basis for further research. However – the points listed above are some of the core principles and best practices that should help give you a smoother ride on your journey when you develop an app.
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