Software is the collection of instruc­tions that computers use to process data into infor­mation. This software guides the computer on what to do and helps users to interact with the computer as well. The software is created using a process that is known as software development. Software development is the process of creating software in successive steps in an orderly manner. These steps are also known as phases and are delib­erate. These phases are collec­tively known as the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). The process of software development involves coding as well as design and evalu­ation of the final program. There are a number of phases of software development.

Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)

This life cycle is made up of phases that are followed when devel­oping software. The steps can be arranged according to a number of models. Each model has these phases of software development in a different order, and thus each model is unique to the next. Examples of these models are the waterfall, incre­mental, V and iterative model.

1. Research and Analysis Phase
The first step is the research and analysis phase. In this phase, the require­ments of the business, where the software is going to be imple­mented, are collected and analysed. During the research and analysis phase, the project managers and business stake holders are consulted a lot. Factors, such as the people expected to use the software, how they will use it, as well as the input and output data, are deter­mined. After this phase, a document known as the Requirement Speci­fi­cation is produced and used as a guide for the rest of the software development phases.

2. Design Phase
In this phase, the software’s physical and logical design is conducted. This is accom­plished with the guidance of the Require­ments Speci­fi­cation document. In physical design, the hardware require­ments for the new software are deter­mined. This is essential, since the hardware that is chosen in this step will be used to implement the software, once it is launched. The logical design of the software, which deals with the steps and processes the software will execute so as to perform its intended purpose, is also conducted at this stage.

3. Coding Phase
This is the period when the programmers actually get to write the software. This is done by use of special programming languages, for instance, Java, C, C++, C# and Python. The programmers in this phase depend on the Require­ments Speci­fi­cation and the software design results to guide them in their coding. This phase is often the most time-consuming one in the entire SDLC.

4. Testing Phase
Once the software has been written, it is put under testing. This is done so as to see how it will perform when ti is imple­mented in the real world. The software is tested according to the Require­ments Speci­fi­cation to see if it satisfies all the set require­ments. Moreover, additional tests like unit, system, integration and accep­tance tests are conducted as well. The real life condi­tions of the client are imple­mented in this phase and the software is tested for the devel­opers to see if it can withstand the condi­tions and solve the problems that it was created for.

Benefits of the SDLC

There are a number of benefits of using the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) to develop software. To start with, you are able to create software in a cost-effective manner. The research and analysis as well as the design phase help to make software that meets the require­ments of the client. Thus, there are no extra unnec­es­sarily expensive features. Moreover, the SDLC helps to make a software product that is effective, as it meets the needs of the client and efficiently solves the intended problems. When the SDLC is followed to the letter, the resulting software is of high quality. This means that it will not have bugs and will perform as expected or even better than the client wished. Thus, the client is satisfied and their business benefits as well. The SDLC has phases that help the client and stake­holders to become part of the software development process, where they are allowed to give their reviews and insight. This results in a high quality product that satisfies their needs and promotes general satis­faction for the client and everybody else concerned.