Software development is the process by which a company, team, or individual devises and implements an overall plan to create a new software program. This process can also be applied to an established program to create a new version of that software, though this is usually an abridged version of the process unless the new version is largely different from the previous one. Numerous steps are involved in this process, beginning with understanding what is needed from software, developing a plan for creating it, writing the code, and bug testing prior to launch. Software development can be a process that involves anything from a single programmer to dozens or hundreds of individuals.
The process of developing software usually begins with research or a general understanding of what type of software is needed in the marketplace. This may be an entirely new program that addresses an unfulfilled need or a new piece of software in an existing market. As development begins, this research establishes the purpose of the software being developed and the overall goals of the development.
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Once those involved in software development have a goal for the program they are working on, they can begin developing the plan for implementing that software. A great deal of work is typically required before any actual code is created, especially for aspects of a program such as the user interface and the basic architecture. Graphic designers, interface developers, programmers, and producers on a large team can all be involved in this stage of development.
Software development then typically moves from these early phases of brainstorming ideas for creating the overall structure of the program to actually writing the code for the software. This implementation typically involves one or more computer programmers, and the source code is created in any number of different applications, programming languages, and other utilities. During and after the code has been created, a great deal of testing is typically involved to ensure the program runs properly and is as free of bugs, glitches, and errors as possible.
Ongoing software development may continue even once a program is written, tested, and launched to the general public. Such development may serve to fix errors found after launch or introduce minor improvements and some new features. User feedback can also be utilized to gather information for ways in which the program might be improved in a larger sense. This feedback can then be used to begin software development again on a new version of the program, which can offer features and utilities not found in the previous version.