Selecting the right types of software development for your next project can mean the difference between a successful product launch and a missed opportunity. Developers use many approaches to bring your project to fruition. Each has different strengths and weaknesses and exists for a different reason.
Let’s take a look at the eight most frequently used types of software development and why you might want to choose one over the other or take a hybrid approach.
Why Software Development Methodology Matters
All successful software development relies on five essential elements:
- An integrated development environment (IDE) with features that support things like code completion, dependency management, and other various tasks.
- Source control tools that make it easier to track changes, modify code, and roll back with confidence.
- Automated testing that makes it easy to write repeatable automated tests that demonstrate a code's functionality on the go.
- Automated build to confirm everything is working as the project progresses.
- Defect management for tracking user issues and the status of any fixes.
Choosing the correct type of software development matters because it ensures everything from predictable delivery dates to better project control and a higher-quality product.
The 8 Types of Software Development
When it comes to types of software development, it’s pretty simple: successful projects are those that are managed well. The different types of software development are all intended to improve workflow and build a better product. Usually, the selection process is decided by team size, goals, and other factors. So, let’s dive in!
8. Web Development
As the name suggests, web development is the process of building web-based applications that people access through a browser on various devices. Web apps differ from mobile apps, which run on smartphones or tablets and don’t always require internet access to run.
7. Mobile Development
Mobile apps run natively on mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets, and some smartwatches. Because they’re usually more knowledgeable in one type or the other, professionals who specialize in mobile development tend to work in either iOS or Android development but not both.
6. Full Stack Development
Stacks are a collection of sub-modules that combine to achieve an app or software’s function. Full-stack development involves all aspects of the product, including front (client-side) and back (server-side) ends. It handles all development steps from idea conception to finished product.
5. Feature-Driven Development
Derived from the Agile methodology, Feature-Driven Development (FDD) is an iterative and incremental approach to software development. Like waterfall, FDD is now viewed as an “older” approach, but it can be a good fit for smaller development teams. It focuses on features or client-valued pieces of work that are delivered every two weeks.
4. Back-end and Front-end Development
Front-end developers work on the client side of a product, fixing bugs and making sure the user interface can run on different browsers. Though they’re primarily concerned with the user interface (UI), their role isn’t identical to that of a UI or user experience (UX) designer. Back-end development, on the other hand, focuses on “behind the scenes” product features users don’t see. It ensures strong software performance, scalability, and security.
3. Database Development
Database development gives organizations the tools they need to manage data and keep it organized. Its lifecycle includes planning and strategy, analysis, design, implementation, and maintenance.
2. API Development
The acronym for Application Programming Interface, API development involves building the instructions, standards, or requirements that allow apps to communicate with each other. Whenever you use a social media app, send an IM, or check the weather on your device, you’re using an API.
1. Embedded Systems Development
With the rise of IoT or Internet of Things, embedded systems development is evolving at breakneck speed. Embedded software development creates code using specific programming languages that control various devices, machines, and equipment that are not traditional computers.