software development

Software Development — Is It an Art or Science?

10 Apr, 16 | illumisoftadmin

Software Development — Is It an Art or Science?

What comes to mind when you hear the term, software development? You might imagine a static set of commands, a precise rendering of highly technical programming languages and a super geek behind the wheel of mechanical code. If you did, you would be wrong.

Working Title/Artist: Monet: The Four TreesDepartment: European PaintingsCulture/Period/Location: HB/TOA Date Code: Working Date: photography by mma, Digital File DT832.tif retouched by film and media (jnc) 12_7_10
Software development is the process of designing, planning, and creating a software program using a highly technical language (code). Prototyping and deployment are also part of this process.

Developers approach software development in a very scientific manner in that they follow a process. First, they develop the goals of a program, then design its functions. Once they have the plan in place, they write the code, test the prototypes, then deploy or turn the product over to the client.

Any seasoned software developer can attest, however, that each piece of software carries a style in the coding or design that’s unique to its developer. Software creators start with a vision, and use tools to bring that vision to life. They refine the product, add finishing touches, and look at it from every angle to ensure it is exactly how they want their work to be. Due to this fluid nature of programming software, we can say software development is more of an art than a science.

Software development is more art than science. Sure, the programming languages that comprise software development have rules and are highly systematic, but the application of these languages is an artistic, highly individual creation. Each piece of software reflects the individual who created it. No two pieces of software are identical. It is this highly individual nature of software creation that makes it so artistic, so one-of-a-kind.

Creating software is a highly complex endeavor and because of its organic nature, it’s quite difficult to determine a timeline for its completion. Determining how long a piece of software will take to build is a lot like asking a painter how long it will take to paint a picture. A general idea can be given, but the painter rarely knows how much time it will take to flesh out details and which details those will be. The same is true for software development.


computer-coding-illumisoft-300x200Let’s use the metaphor of a painter. The paints are the programming languages and the finished painting is the piece of software. However, in the world of software development, the programmer has to be more agile, more able to be constantly evolving because unlike the painter whose stiff canvas remains static, the software developer’s canvas is constantly shifting. The canvas of the software developer is the information architecture known as the internet. The architecture is forever changing. As the information architecture changes, the software developer must adapt the code adjust for the changes. It is this fluid nature of software programming that makes it resemble art more than science.


Choosing a Software: The End-User’s Perspective

As the client or end-user, it helps to understand the process of software development because it reveals how the process will be like from conceptualization to deployment. Knowing how your software developer works also gives insight on important matters such as deadlines, the number of  possible iterations or revisions, whether or not you’ll get a prototype, and so forth.

Software development may be inherently artistic, but it fills business needs where the parameters sometimes have to be rigid. So, when choosing a software, don’t just look at the would-be product. Consider who will be creating them as well.

Below is a checklist of what you need to do to get your money’s worth on customized software:

  1. Ask for referrals from businesses who’ve successfully implemented software programs similar to what you want for your organization.
  2. Check client reviews and portfolios.
  3. When you’ve chosen a service provider, schedule a face-to-face meeting (an interview) with your developers. Find out if their process, ethics, and goals for the project align with yours.
  4. Talk about coding (your preferred language, if there’s any) and your requirements (e.g., avoid codes prone to bugging, prioritize UX, speed, and efficiency, write clean code, add specific features), and whether they can meet your needs.
  5. Establish that you will be the sole owner of your customized software. Ask that the contract include an ownership clause that says you, the client, have exclusive ownership of the software.

It’s important to select the right software development team because of this highly evolving, fast-moving nature of information architecture. Choosing software developers who can quickly adapt to new changes is crucial because the rate of change is speeding up and will continue to speed up even faster in the future.
illumisoft can be that team for you. We implement unit testing on our software because this greatly speeds up the rate at which we can fix code that needs to be changed. This type of thorough testing can create a long and healthy lifespan for the software we build. It is an essential component of the way we create and maintain our software. It is a hidden but important step of which you may not be familiar.
So I hope this is helpful. If you have any questions, please give me a call. My name is Dan and I’m the Founder and CEO of illumisoft. I’d be happy to take your call and answer all your questions to the best of my ability. So give me a call today at (816) 564-9595. Have a great day.