Errors are a common occurrence in the software development process.
Despite the best efforts of developers and technologists to eliminate errors, they can still be a major source of frustration when coding. Fortunately, there are a number of steps that can be taken to move closer to defeating errors in the software development process.
Types of Software Development Errors
The first step to mitigating errors is understanding the types of errors that may arise. The most common types of software development errors include:
• Syntax errors: An error by which the coding language is used incorrectly, resulting in the software not being able to comprehend the programmer’s instructions.
• Logical errors: Also known as design errors, these are the result of decisions made by the developer in the coding process. The code works, but not in the way it was intended.
• Compilation errors: The code will not even compile, leading to the program crashing and often requiring the developer to completely rebuild the code.
• Runtime errors: These errors occur when code has compiled correctly, but the code does not run as intended.
• Security errors: An error that not only affects the functionality of software, but also leaves the system vulnerable to attackers.
Structuring Software Development
With the understanding of the various types of software development errors, developers can then move on to structuring their development in a way that reduces the chances of errors occurring. Structuring software development begins with the planning phase.
In the planning phase of software development, the following steps can be taken:
• Defining the objectives: Know why you’re coding, what you’re building and what you intend to achieve.
• Creating a timeline: Establishing a timeline for development and setting deadlines for completing various tasks.
• Establishing dependencies: Figure out what other technology your software requires to function properly.
• Designing the system: Identifying the overall architecture and choosing the right design pattern.
• Listing tasks to be done: Listing out details of the development process, identifying potential errors and creating a plan to mitigate and address them.
Once the plan is in place, it’s time to move onto the coding phase. During this stage, the following steps are critical in mitigating errors:
• Conduct code reviews: Have a team member review your code periodically to ensure it complies with set standards and to look for potential errors.
• Utilize debugging tools: Utilizing debugging tools can help detect errors early in the software development process.
• Write unit tests: Writing unit tests that are separate from the code help to identify errors and can even help to prevent them from occurring.
• Utilize coding conventions: Establishing coding conventions such as indentation, variable names, etc. help to reduce the chances of errors occurring.
• Automate the process: Utilizing automated testing and deployment can help to ensure errors are detected and addressed quickly.
Software development is not a perfect process, and errors are all but unavoidable. However, by following the steps outlined above, developers can mitigate the chances of errors occurring and move closer to defeating errors in the software development process. Through proper planning, structured coding, use of debugging tools, and automated testing and deployment, developers can prepare for and combat errors in software development.