Fundamental Principles of Good Software Design
At TATEEDA, we know what makes good software design in the context of medical and IoT solutions. We use battle-tested rules to ensure exceptional reliability, sustainability, and the highest quality in software solutions.
In this article, we’re going to share our expertise with you…
We all love software that is both easy to use and highly functional. Once we find a well-designed software product, it spoils us for anything that falls short of these standards.
Software developers are challenged to meet the requirements of their clients while keeping UX and functionality at the core of the development process.
Most rely on certain guiding principles that govern software design best practices.
Before you continue reading to deepen your knowledge of basic software design principles, please review a few of our healthcare-focused case studies:
- Medical staff-management platforms
- Web and mobile patient portals
- Patient electronic data-capture (EDC) solutions
- Remote health-monitoring apps
- Automated laboratory-testing systems
- Pharmaceutical business automation solutions
Let’s start with the objectives behind any efficient software design model…
Table of Contents
The 5 Goals of Good Software Engineering
When designing a software solution, we pursue at least the following objectives, which together comprise the core of all software requirements and rules:
Goal #1. Correctness
Good software design means building a healthy system characterized by a correct, conflict-free integration of all essential software elements and functionalities.
Goal #2. Optimal Resource Consumption
Good software design includes a wise, cost-efficient approach to system resources. Efficiency is one of the critical factors identifying high-quality software design.
Goal #3. Modularity and Scalability
Good software design should be easily scalable and easy to understand long after it has been delivered. It needs to be built according to the famous modularity principle widely used in all fields of engineering, with all modules arranged in layers.
Goals #4. Completeness
Good software design encompasses the necessary software components of modules, data objects, external interfaces, and more. All dependencies between modules and other virtual entities should be harmonized and comply with inheritance principles.
Goal #5. Maintainability
Great software design offers flexibility and readiness for implementation of change requests (for example, adding new features). At TATEEDA, we provide maintainable software development services for several large companies in the U.S. We understand that maintainable software design is a true fundamental for competitiveness and continuous improvements.
The 7 Basic System Design Principles in Software Engineering
Certain crucial design rules must be followed during the software development process.
When correctly applied, these principles of software design guarantee that your software product will achieve the 5 engineering goals explained above: correctness, resource optimization, scalability, completeness, and maintainability.
All modern software techniques predominantly involve working with abstractions of various types. This general approach is called object-oriented software development.
Using abstractions means hiding the coding complexities and redundant details behind high-level abstractions and not delving into them until absolutely required.
Thanks to abstraction-based design concepts, you can decrease irrelevant data, speed up the development process, and improve the general quality of your programming outcomes.
This means getting rid of structural impurities by moving from higher levels of software design (abstractions) to lower levels in a step-by-step manner.
According to this idea, refinement is an incremental process in which a team of software engineers drills down to acquire more technical details at each increment. In this way software design is consistently elaborated without wasting time on irrelevant or side matters.
Dividing a complex project or system into smaller components helps to better understand and manage the product. Separate modules can be created independently and assembled together and/or reused and recombined, if required. This also facilitates easier scalability in software systems.
Everything within your software system should be pre-planned and approved with the help of engineering assessment methods. Serious systems flaws must be avoided at the beginning.
Interactions between different system components (e.g., modules and abstractions) should be the focus of architectural efforts—all of which should be seamlessly arranged within a solid software structure. Their interrelationship should be described in detail.
Learn more: Developing Medical HR Software Architecture
Delivering pattern-based solutions is one of the most important techniques that allows software developers to achieve system predictability while saving a great deal of time. This also makes it possible to quickly deal with typical issues and apply pattern-based solutions to fix them in no time.
Data must be protected from unauthorized access. Therefore, secure software development life-cycle principles should be applied and propagated throughout the entire software structure.
For example, information accessible via one software module should not be accessible via another module unless it is explicitly allowed and regulated by the software architecture plan.
Refactoring is the continuous process of bringing improvements to internal software structure without affecting its behavior or functions.
In fact, refactoring practice is a part of the perpetual software maintenance process, and involves regular review of and improvement to the code in order to make it more effective and lightweight.
Do you need qualified help with software design, development, or re-engineering?
At TATEEDA, we are committed to the best practices of software design and development. Both of these are organically integrated into the Agile methodology we use.
If you have a custom software development project in your mind, we’re ready to help: our team features deep experience in custom healthcare software development, IoT solutions, and web-based and mobile applications.
SOLID Software Design Principles
Software development is a complex art that can easily go haywire if developers fail to adhere to certain fundamental principles.
Following are some of the most popular and useful:
SOLID is an acronym that covers five basic object-oriented programming principles used in Agile software development.
Object-oriented programming breaks down a software program into basic reusable pieces of code blueprint (aka classes) that are used to improve the quality and productivity of software system design.
Object-oriented programming makes it easier and less expensive to make changes to the system. It supports the reuse of code classes and simplifies the integration of components for configuring the system as a whole.
SOLID’s 5 principles are:
#1. Single responsibility principle (SRP): A class has only one job, and only one reason to change. A class with more than one responsibility can weaken the design and lead to damage when changes occur. The SRP principle prevents coupling of responsibilities and improves the design’s overall cohesion.
#2. Open/closed principle: This software principle conveys that after a class of code has been created and tested, it should be closed to modification, but open to extension. During the development process, requirements can change and new functionality may be requested. Modifying code can introduce errors into the existing code. The open/closed principle helps keep the class code fundamentally intact, while allowing for it to be extended to include new functionality.
#3. Liskov Substitution Principle (LSP): Under this software design principle, objects of a superclass should be replaceable with objects of its subclasses, meaning they behave in the same way. For example, if B is a subclass of A, objects of B should be able to replace objects of A without undermining the performance of the program. In other words, objects of a subclass can replace objects of the superclass without impairing the system.
#4. Interface segregation principle (ISP): Each class should have its own isolated interface, and class dependencies should be based on the smallest possible interface. A large and cumbersome interface with multiple class dependencies adds methods to the interface that the clients don’t need.
#5. Dependency inversion principle (DIP): This software principle states that high-level modules should not be dependent on low-level modules, and both should depend on abstractions. Abstractions in turn should not depend on details, but vice versa. The underlying premise here is that abstract interfaces and abstract classes are more stable than details, which are variable, and architectures built on abstractions are more stable than those built on details.
The 7 Modern Design Principles of Successful Software Development
More good design guidelines and principles exist that can even be called software design stratagems. Most of these are not specific to software design, but are, instead, artifacts of simple common sense. However, they are often neglected by software developers for a number of conjectural reasons.
Let’s check these reasons out below:
Principle #1. Avoid Tunnel Vision
While moving through the design process, it’s easy to fall victim to tunnel vision: focusing on a very narrow perspective without taking into account side effects and other factors.
It is necessary to consider and evaluate all available alternatives and align your performance with the most rational scenarios instead of just “moving through the tunnel.”
Principle #2. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Your team should not waste time and energy on building solutions that are already available.
If you’re not a newcomer to software development, you should know that all modern programming takes place in the object-oriented model.
Today, you can easily find tons of free libraries, ready-made modules, and API-based solutions to significantly speed up your software project.
Principle #3. Respect the Traceability Model
Make sure that your software system design is available for traceability analysis.
This implies tracking changes introduced to the product, thereby maintaining high-quality documentation in which all product components are represented through integral interrelationships with their predecessors and successors.
Principle #4. Minimize the Distance between Solution and Problem
The lesser the gap between a real-life problem and the software solution you offer, the better it works. In this way, it becomes more popular and more in demand. Enough said. Purify functionality and simplify user experience to the maximum, until your software turns into a pure solution without excessive detail.
Principle #5. Fault-tolerance
This is also called graceful degradation. Even if the software generates an error or an incident occurs during the process of program execution, the software should keep working smoothly instead of shutting down. This could cause user data loss and/or changes, which you want to avoid at all costs.
Principle #6. Quality Assessment and Assurance
Quality planning and testing of software products should be one of the key focuses of any development team.
At TATEEDA, we understand this pretty well. Software QA service should be represented in every step of the software development process, and never neglected or decreased.
This is why QA starts at the software design stage, and is not restricted merely to coding control. Learn more about testing software products in healthcare here.
Principle #7. Accommodation of Change
Software structure should be designed to tolerate and painlessly accept change. Frequent change requests can be generated by customers (product owners) or dictated by market disposition.
This basically refers to principles of modular software, completeness, and traceability. A system developed on those principles is always ready for scaling, adjustments, and improvements.
Other Good Software Design Principles
In addition to SOLID, there exist a few other fundamental principles that help guide the software development process:
- KISS (keep it simple stupid!): This principle has been around for decades, and has far-reaching applications for everything from human relationships to product development. The KISS principle reminds software developers to avoid complexity, and to write code that is easy to implement and maintain.
- YAGNI (You ain’t gonna need it): It is easy to get ahead of yourself, and try to implement things before you need them. This principle reminds developers to not implement functionality until it is actually needed.
- DRY (Don’t repeat yourself): As per the single responsibility principle, small pieces of code should occur only once in the entire system. This principle encourages developers to write reusable code that can be scaled and is easy to maintain.
Principled Software Design at TATEEDA
The software development process is complex, and building a superior product that performs flawlessly requires deliberate and accurate adherence to basic software design principles.
The experienced developers at TATEEDA understand the value of tried-and-true principles, and we have made them second nature in our approach to software development.
You can learn more about our expertise in healthcare software development from these articles:
- Patient Electronic Data-capture Solution Development
- E-Prescription Software Development
- Custom EHR/EMR Software Development
- Patient Portal Development Guide
- Medical Software Development for Staff Management and Scheduling
- mHealth App Development: the Ultimate Guide
- Remote Patient-monitoring Software Development
- Remote ECG-monitoring Software Development
- Cardiology EHR/EMR Software Development: Benefits and Features
- Healthcare Payroll Software Development: The Complete Guide
If you want a software product for your business that provides outstanding UX and trouble-free longevity, contact TATEEDA today, and let’s work together to bring your project to life.