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Selecting the Right Software Development Tools for Your Project

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e Niles is a Senior Software Architect at SmartDraw Software.  Over the course of a 30-year career, he has developed software within all types of environment — ranging form the largest of corporations to the smallest of start-ups.  His current projects include SmartDraw 2016 for Windows and SmartDraw Cloud.  Steve is a former United States Marine and lives in northern San Diego County.

The choice of tools to be used in the software development process can literally make or break a project.  Once the target environment and programming language(s) is chosen, and the requirements and end goals are well-enough understood, the next task in starting the work of a software development project is to choose the tools that will be used throughout the process.  It’s important to be aware of the types of tools that are available for use, the benefits each can provide as well as the implications for using them.

Types of Software Development Tools

There are a variety of tools available to aid in the software development process.  While this is by no means an exhaustive list of all the tools available in all environments, some of the most important categories of tools are:

Integrated Debugging Environment (IDE)

The IDE is where most developers spend the majority of their day working.  It serves as a combination code editor and debugging interface.  The IDE is also an integration point for many other types of tools.

Build Tools

Build tools include not just the compiler and link editor that translates the human-readable programming language statements into machine-executable instructions, but also the capabilities of managing dependencies.

Tools to Support Methodology

Some software development methodologies lend themselves to tools that make it easier to conform to the rules and guidelines imposed by the methodology.  For example, tools exist that allow teams to organize use cases or user stories into time-bracketed sprints and track progress in addressing them over time.

Source Control

Managing access to the source code of the project is critical in the day-to-day work of any programming team.  Concurrency must be managed so that one developer’s changes don’t overwrite other developers’ work.  Also, source control is extremely useful for creating branches/variations of the source, and merging changes between the branches.  It also provides versioning and archive access to the source code as it changes over time.

Bug Trackers

Bug tracking is essential to ensuring that defects found during (and after) the development process are addressed and then re-tested.  Bug trackers are often used as a primary interface with Quality Assurance.

Profilers

A variety of tools exist to report on the resource utilization of a program.  Profilers can analyze memory usage, input/output, and processor usage in order to help developers detect and react to problems in the way their code is executing.

Automated Deployment/Continuous Integration Tools

Modern applications can be complex to deploy.  Automating (or partially-automating) this function can reduce errors and save time.  By employing a policy of continuous integration, problems in integrating the various components and features worked on by each developer can be spotted quickly and then addressed while it’s still fresh in the developer’s mind.

Testing Tools

Testing a software product is a key activity in assuring that it meets the requirements and is free of defects.  Often it is desirable (or even policy) to create a test for every function in the program, and to run that test each time the function is modified to ensure that it produces the expected output and is free from any harmful side effects.  In addition to this low-level “unit testing”, testing of the program at the user interface level is necessary.  Tools exist to assist in many different types of testing, and can often automate or partially-automate the task of performing each test.

Factors to Consider

There are several factors to consider when deciding which tools to utilize to aid in the development of a software project.  Not all tools are necessarily appropriate for a given project, while others might be critical.  Each team should consider a number of factors when deciding on the tools to use in the software development of each project.

Usefulness

The primary factor when deciding on whether to use a type of tool, and which implementation of that tool is the usefulness it will provide to the overall completion of the project.

Applicability to Environment

Not all tools apply to all environments.  For example, a Windows desktop application will have no use for a web deployment tool.

Company Standards

In larger organizations, and often in smaller ones as well, use of certain tools will be mandated in order to achieve goals or to comply with established policy.  Standardization of tools can help an organization move developers easily between projects as needed, and gives management an assurance that similar processes are followed among different project and project teams resulting in homogeneous product quality.

Prior Team Experience with Tool

To some degree, almost all software has a learning curve.  The selection of specific tools can be influenced by the level of experience developers may already have with it.  That specific experience can also be used as a resource in deciding whether a tool might be useful in the project or not, as developers usually form strong opinions on such matters and are usually not shy about expressing them.

Integration

How well a tool integrates into other tools can greatly impact the value it adds to the team and the project.

Some Integration takes the form of “convenience” integration (i.e., the source control utility integrates with the IDE such that a developer automatically causes a file to be checked out once he begins editing it). Other deeper integration merges information and responds to events between tools to deliver high value to the team and to other groups within the organization.  An example of this deeper integration is where source control integrates with bug tracking which in turn integrates with incident (or customer problem) tracking.  A code change checked in to source control can signal the bug tracker that a fix is available for a reported bug; that bug may be associated with an incident report, which can then be updated with the status of the work that has been done that could (eventually) resolve that incident.

Overhead

All software has a learning curve, to one degree or another.   Complex tools can also require time and effort to deploy with the team and integrate into existing development software.  In addition to initial deployment and learning curve, many tools take some amount of time and effort to use. This overhead should be taken into account when evaluating the overall value of the tool.

Conclusion

The selection of tools is a critical step in the development of a software project.   There is a wide variety of types of tools available – many more than have been discussed here.  Within each type or category, there are many specific products to choose from.  Careful selection can have a tremendous impact on the efficiency and ultimate success of the software development project.

See how the development team at SmartDraw created SmartDraw Cloud

SmartDraw has been creating easy to use diagram software for over 20 years to the delight of millions of users. Just as the way you work has changed over the years, so has SmartDraw.  So the development team created SmartDraw Cloud: SmartDraw that runs in a web browser with the full power of our Windows version.

Web development is a broad term for the work involved in developing a web site for the Internet (World Wide Web) or an intranet (a private network). Web development can range from developing the simplest static single page of plain text to the most complex web-based internet applications, electronic businesses, and social network services. A more comprehensive list of tasks to which web development commonly refers, may include web design, web content development, client liaison, client-side/server-side scripting, web server and network security configuration, and e-commerce development. Among web professionals, "web development" usually refers to the main non-design aspects of building web sites: writing markup and coding. Most recently Web development has come to mean the creation of content management systems or CMS. These CMS can be made from scratch, proprietary (such as Open Text) or open source (such as Drupal). In broad terms the CMS acts as middleware between the database and the user through the browser. A principle benefit of a CMS is that it allows non-technical people to make changes to their Web site without having technical knowledge.

For larger organizations and businesses, web development teams can consist of hundreds of people (web developers) and follow standard methods like Agile methodologies while developing websites. Smaller organizations may only require a single permanent or contracting developer, or secondary assignment to related job positions such as a graphic designer and/or information systems technician. Web development may be a collaborative effort between departments rather than the domain of a designated department

Creative Design that delivers on ideas, on time and on budget

Make an outstanding difference to your business, product or service with Creative Design. With over 30 years experience in creative marketing solutions for a wide range of clients. You'll find Creative Design flexible, affordable and will deliver on service, on time and on budget.
Please explore the website and discover how the application of Creative Design could make a difference to your business

My clients say the nicest things...

"Thank you so much for all your help designing our 10th Anniversary brochure. It exceeded all our expectations and it has been a pleasure working with you".

"I just wanted to send you a huge thank you for the absolutely splendid work you produced for our TOE2 launch..
The layout and design of the banners is excellent, and the AV was superb. Two of the guests commented to me that the rolling pictures were wonderful, so it was widely appreciated."

"Chris Matthews designed our inaugural TB Centre report entitled "Global Epidemic, Local Solutions". The report was produced in both PDF and flash formats.

The quality of the work is outstanding and we are delighted with the image-rich content. Chris has excellent vision, a kind temperament, and is a pleasure to work with. Chris worked with very short deadlines and made the project effortless. We recommend him wholeheartedly to future clients."
TB Centre, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

 CREATIVE DESIGNS

Humans always admired Creativity. Creativity has evolved from Clay to Computers. At Zero, we're passionate about exploiting creativity in Computers. It starts from a simple Logo Design to an entire umbrella of Design Services to establish your Brand Identity. As some one said, Website is truly your Online Business Card, we ensure that this business card gets you maximum reach to online Users. We are also actively engaged in traditional hard copy Print Services like Business Cards, Envelopes, Brochures, Banners and Hoardings. 

 

 

logo design

Logo Design

Logo is your corporate identity. If you're a startup or an enterprise, Logo is a key element. We offer customized services for Logo design...

 

graphic design

Graphic Design

We engage in creating original Graphics using graphic tools to match customers requirement. We've a talent pool of creative artist with Art...

 

web design

Web Design

Web has evolved from simple html pages to stunning animated graphical layouts. Modern technologies can turn creative layouts to reality...

 

brochuer-design

Brochure Design

We all agree that computer has not made paper obsolete, we still use pen and paper and it does not seem that we will do away with it. Brochures...

 

branding

Branding

Brand is the most valuable asset of any entity. Its not just LOGO, but the name, slogan, design scheme associated with your product or service..

 

 BRANDING DESIGN

Whether you’re launching a brand refresh or starting from scratch, Weboo’s branding design services will help your company develop a strong, consistent, and memorable brand across all assets of your marketing and advertising.

In addition to guiding your brand positioning, strategy, and guidelines, we’ll work with your company to develop, design, and produce brand assets and collateral including:

• Company logo

• Brand guidelines (including color palette, typeface, and logo formats)

• Marketing collateral (stationary, envelopes, folders, case studies, email templates, etc.)

• Advertising (remarketing ads)

• And more

Our Branding Design Process

Our creative team will meet with you to gain insights into your company’s history and vision for your branding design or refresh. We’ll turn your feedback into a strategic creative plan and direction before any of the design work ever begins.

With a brand direction in place, we’ll begin development to present your team with a handful of new creative options that align with your company’s branding vision and goals.

Your branding design package allows for several rounds of revisions before presenting you with your final, new assets—including all color palettes, typefaces, and logo formats.

 

The Importance of Branding

No matter your business size, industry, or location, a strong, effective, and cohesive brand strategy and design help to convey your company’s quality, credibility, value, and experience. When it comes to marketing and advertising your products and services, those that have a strong brand behind hold an enormous competitive advantage.

Ready to get started? Contact our creative team today.

 

Graphic Design Services

Need a new brochure, logo or flyer designed? 

We can design anything you need.  We have been designing high-end graphics since 1998.  Whether you need a simple business card designed or a highly complex, color catalog.  We have the software skills and creativity to get any size project completed fast and at a very high-quality.

Our Design Team

Our designers have a minimum of 5 years of graphic design experience and a BA in graphic design.  You will get one-on-one custom service directly from our art director.  We always try to form long-lasting relationships with our clients, we want to make our relationship last as long as possible, which is why we make sure you are 100% satisfied with our work.

E-commerce short for electronic commerce, is trading in products or services using computer networks, such as the Internet. Electronic commerce draws on technologies such as mobile commerce, electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, Internet marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange (EDI), inventory management systems, and automated data collection systems. Modern electronic commerce typically uses the World Wide Web for at least one part of the transaction's life cycle, although it may also use other technologies such as e-mail.

E-commerce businesses may employ some or all of the following:

  • Online shopping web sites for retail sales direct to consumers
  • Providing or participating in online marketplaces, which process third-party business-to-consumer or consumer-to-consumer sales
  • Business-to-business buying and selling
  • Gathering and using demographic data through web contacts and social media
  • Business-to-business electronic data interchange
  • Marketing to prospective and established customers by e-mail or fax (for example, with newsletters)
  • Engaging in pretail for launching new products and services

 

Our department offers full-service, discovery, strategy, and implementation offerings for Direct to Consumer (DTC) and Business-to-Business (B2B) advertisers.

We are not an above-the-line agency that doesn’t understand the blocking and tackling needed to launch a sustainable business, nor a consultancy that’s solely obsessed with the bottom line and detached from the realities of the modern consumer. Our dual sets of knowledge complement each other to create informed, long-game strategies that focus on generating revenue and providing value to our clients’ consumers.

How we’re different:

• Breadth and depth of expertise in digital and eCommerce consulting

• Experience that spans categories such as CPG, Health & Beauty, Consumer Electronics, and more

• To-the-minute knowledge of new technology in digital advertising and eCommerce

• Collaborations with other forward-thinking partners

• Prioritization of both conversions and UX

Offerings include:

 

Discovery:
Deep exploration of a brand’s existing digital ecosystem including tech stack, operational readiness and revenue sources, design optimization, and customers. We generate projections to help our clients see the big picture, as well as the nuanced mile-markers of their eCommerce business with reports that cover media, product, financials, and customer lifecycle forecasts for 3 years.

 

Marketplace Optimization:
Consider us your go-to consultants for increasing visibility, conversions, and reviews on the marketplaces most important to your brand—from Amazon A+ pages to custom solutions for Target, Walmart, and beyond.

 

CRM Strategy & Implementation:
Customer Relationship Management has become increasingly important for generating ROI from the customer funnel. We have the strategic, creative, and analytical tools to help launch, grow, and nurture customers to increase their loyalty and action.

 

Revenue Strategy:
A detailed plan that spells out the appropriate mix of media channels to meet a brand’s revenue goals as well as the media expertise to implement it.

 

Direct to Consumer Site Builds and Infrastructure Development:
From identifying the appropriate selling platform to ensuring backend logistics are structured to support the business, we will create a direct to consumer site that’s optimized for conversion and primed to collect valuable data.

 

Affiliate Strategy & Management:
We evaluate a brand’s current presence and recommend enhancements, or set it up from scratch with the publisher networks that will create a new revenue stream for their business—all while optimizing along the way for growth.