To develop the best possible software in the most efficient manner possible is no easy feat. Complex software development projects may take tens or hundreds of hours to complete and require extensive testing and revising. Without a solid framework to manage such a monumental task, financial and time-related costs can get vastly out of control, leading to an unpleasant situation for both the client and developer(s). It is highly recommended for a software development team to develop and adhere to an effective software development checklist that will streamline the development process. Such a checklist is provided below, the implementation of which can vastly improve the software production and management process:
1. Network Accessibility
Starting with the most basic aspect of a software project, the software must be able to connect to an external network. In an increasingly interconnected world, internet-accessibility is crucial to the functionality and accessibility of any software program.
2. Data Access Permissions
Users of a software program should be able to access the program, but only administrators and owners of the software should have permission to edit and manage the software code. This should be set up in the data layer of code so that any changes made to the software will still allow those with advanced permissions to retain their abilities within the program.
3. Hardware Access
Every software program is stored in some form of hardware. To maintain data security, access to this hardware must be limited. Hardware should not be accessible to all employees or personnel, only to persons that require access to said hardware for maintenance purposes.
To ensure the quickest and most effective possible experience when it comes to creating a software program, sufficient research must be done to establish the basic requirements needed for a program. This ensures that a strong foundation will be laid, which will reduce the amount of revising and editing that will inevitably be required. Once the basic requirements of the software have been established, further development will be made easier.
5. Authentication Management
The developers of the software must determine how users will access the program. The best option in most cases is to use an internal company authentication service that can effectively manage password data for users and administrators.
6. Security Compliance
This leads to the next point on the checklist for software development because most times when storing user data internally, sufficient security measures and standards are required by government organizations (such as FERPA). Create a plan for safely storing and protecting all user data stored in the software program.
7. Establish Secure Practices
Implementing certain practices to ensure that developers remain vigilant of security priorities when coding and testing will greatly help mitigate any possible vulnerabilities that may otherwise be overlooked. A well-developed software program should not contain any security risks, and establishing basic coding standards at the onset of the project will make sure of this.
8. Hash Passwords
To prevent hacking of user passwords, a goal that any developer should always seek, do not encrypt passwords. Instead, the safest option is to use an effective hashing algorithm that will provide the greatest defense against any hacking attempt.
9. Prevent the Exposing of Data
Ensure that no data related to the program is publicly exposed when accessing the web page. Check to see if the webserver provides information related to run-time or environment information and if so, solve this issue immediately.
10. Account Security
Only the basic permissions required for accessing and using the software should be provided to service and user accounts. This will prevent any data not necessary for use of the software from being exposed to accounts that do not require it.
11. Content Delivery Networks
An easy upgrade that can be utilized by any software program is to provide assets for the application on a content delivery network. This is a quick fix that will provide some key benefits to a software program. When using a content delivery network, large scale services will be delivered and loaded faster for users, and latency when loading a web page will be reduced.
A crucial aspect of any software service is its potential to be scaled out. Implementing nodes when developing software can ease the future process of scaling it to reach a larger audience or adding more depth to the program. This should be accounted for in the research phase and implemented from the start of production.
13. Optimize the Software Program's Object-Related-Mapping (ORM)
An easy way to reduce the time it takes to access multiple data layers is to optimize any ORM system used for the data in the program. This will lead to easier maintenance of the software program for developers who will be able to use data as "objects" when updating or editing code.
14. Design Documents
Another time-saver that will be helpful to the design process is saving design documents. In a complex project, often the same design decision is worked on multiple times. Creating design documents will allow developers to have a reference to use if they encounter a problem that has been solved previously.
15. Licensing External Code
Many software programs tend to utilize resources and code from external sources, such as other websites or forums. Keeping a record of what external resources are used in the program along with the required licensing terms will make licensing your program much easier when the time comes to release it.
16. Testing For Issues
A crucial part of developing software is backtesting for any bugs or technical issues that may affect the user experience. Identifying where a bug or glitch originated and fixing the problem is key to ensuring that the finished product is free from technical issues.
17. Secure Keys
Make sure to analyze key security for your software. Encryption keys and API keys should not be put into source control.
18. Budgetary Management
Every software program has a limited budget allocated to its development. Plan to make certain that the requirements for development do not exceed the budget for the program by first prioritizing the most important aspects of the software and determining the costs associated with them.
19. Timeline Management
Planning effectively to meet a deadline for development will make the process more time-efficient. Establish timeframes for developing specific aspects of the program and adhere to a schedule. Also, always leave time for testing and fixing any issues that arise after the program is completed.
20. Quality Assurance
Finally, the most important part of the development process is ensuring that it meets all quality standards. Finishing a project only to realize it does not fulfill the requirements it is meant to will lead to setbacks and budget/time issues. This is easily avoidable by constantly examining the quality of the program and planning for extra time to assure its quality in the review phase.
Overall, using this checklist will make for a much more structured and efficient process when developing a software program. When a complex and lengthy programming task has an established timeframe and budget, it is crucial to follow a plan and keep data security and quality assurance in mind at all times, among many of the other points mentioned above.
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