Methodologies in Software Engineering: Evolution of the Software Development Process
The past two decades have seen a whirlwind of technological innovations that emerge faster than consumers can keep up. In particular, the demand for software solutions has skyrocketed, giving birth to a flourishing industry whose growth has no end in sight. As demand has mushroomed, the software development process has rapidly evolved to become more streamlined and efficient, delivering superior products in a relatively short amount of time.
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Early History of Software Development
The history of software engineering reaches back to the 1950s, long before most mortals could even conceive of the widespread intrusion of software into our daily lives. Back then, computer technology was in its infancy, and massive computer systems were mostly found in research universities and institutions. The term “software engineering” was hatched to describe the complexities of software development processes.
Programming languages emerged in the late ‘50s that replaced sequences of obscure code with mathematical formulas. At that time, computers were mostly used for mathematical computations, and lacked the interactive elements we take for granted today. In 1962, the US Department of Defense launched Cobol, a language geared to business applications.
After that, things began to snowball as demands for knowledgeable programmers increased, along with calls for more and better programming languages and tools. Because computers had their own unique niche, they neither fell under the umbrella of mathematics nor electronics, and the field of Computer Science was born.
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Modern History of Software Engineering
Fast forward to 1970, when an Arpanet network was created using an interface message processor that enabled Harvard, MIT, and BBN to interconnect. The advent of email quickly followed, and in 1971, the Gutenburg project whose mission it was to make books and documents electronically available to the public, reshaped the direction and purpose of computer technology. Information storage and retrieval quickly became a driving force in software development history.
In the mid-70s, companies like Apple, Tandy and Commodore introduced the micro computer, a mini version of its mammoth predecessor that was marketed to average consumers. Initially, microcomputers were basically expensive toys without much functionality. That changed when word processing and file storage software was released, and personal computers became useful tools for students and business people, creating a huge market demand.
In 1977, the first PC Modem was invented, giving birth to the modern Internet as we now know it. Not long after, the first commercial Spam was sent to unsuspecting recipients, and multi-player games emerged.
Other milestones quickly ensued:
- 1982 marked the birth of the emoticon, precursor to the emoji
- 1984 saw the creation of the domain name system
- 1985 ushered in virtual online communities
- 1988 gave birth to internet relay chat (IRC), paving the way for modern instant messaging and real-time chat programs
- 1989 marked the proposal of a world wide web, which came to fruition in 1990, with the first web page created in 1991.
- 1995 and beyond saw a massive migration of commercial enterprises to the webspace, ushering in the dot com boom and driving en masse sales of personal computers and software.
And the rest, as they say, is history! Since the 20th Century, software methodologies have competed and evolved to keep pace with the burgeoning demand for complex software solutions that solve the problems of living in a tech-savvy world.
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Sequential Software Development Methods
Early on, software development followed a linear pattern, and the software development lifecycle (SDLC) model was created in the early 1960s to guide the development process. Since that time, the SDLC has evolved, but its primary elements continue to provide a foundation for all development methodologies.
The waterfall model is a good example of a linear software development methodology. It’s steps proceed as possible:
- system requirements
- software requirements
- program design
While linear development methodology is still used by some developers for certain projects, more and more developers are migrating to iterative approaches to software development.
Iterative Software Development Methodologies
As demand grew for high-quality software solutions with the shortest possible delivery time, developers in the 90s and early 2000s began to rethink the linear approach. One of its biggest flaws is late-stage testing that complicates revisions and bug fixes.
Iterative development takes a less rigid approach, with ongoing testing to catch bugs early on while they are still easy to fix. Its inherent flexibility makes it easy to make revisions in response to client and user feedback.
By far the most popular iterative software methodology among developers is Agile, which lives up to its name by being flexible, fast and malleable. It’s subset, Scrum, emphasizes teamwork, communication and collaboration. Scrum software development methodology speeds up the development process by eliminating chaos and miscommunication while focusing on product quality and customer satisfaction.
Software Solutions Engineering at Tateeda
The software development engineers at Tateeda have honed their skills at software solutions development, tapping into the most efficient methodologies while staying true to their roots. We are dedicated to providing top quality software solutions to our clients that perform flawlessly for years on end. We treat every new client like family, and never put your project on the back burner. If you want custom software solutions that meet and exceed your requirements, contact Tateeda today, and let us bring your software solution to life.