Are There Rules To Software Engineering?
Like any person who creates a software system from scratch, having the liberty to innovate and do things your own way is appealing and important in ensuring your end product is successful. However, that doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel.
When a developer creates software based on a poor design, the code might become prone to cracking – sometimes referred to as spaghetti code. Bugs might appear as a result of minor program modifications. For this precise reason, some fundamental principles of software design exist.
What Is A Software Design Principle?
Software design principles exist as a means to help engineers when working on a new software product. They aren’t something to close you in a box, but to guide you while you work outside it towards your end (software) goals.
The goal of software design principles is to provide tools for effectively managing the difficulty of the design process. Effectively managing complexity reduces both the labor required for design and the risk of introducing errors as they write code.
SOLID Software Design Principles
In his work “Design Principles and Design Patterns”, published in 2000, Robert C. Martin proposed the SOLID design principles. These ideas were then expanded upon by Michael Feathers, who coined the name SOLID.
Despite more modern principles being coined along the way, SOLID principles remain well-known, respected and used to this day by software engineers all around the world thanks to their ability to reduce the difficulty of the designing process along the way, as apps grow in size and complexity.
The best way to understand these principles and their importance in the software design process is by taking each principle and exploring its meaning. Don’t worry, we’ll keep it brief and simple. After all, good software development companies such as Idyllic take care of these things for you!
Single Responsibility Principle (SRP)
This principle states that a class should do only one job.
Each class has its own goal and serves its own layer of the software development process, and therefore should remain serving that purpose all throughout. If, as the product becomes more complex, the class ends up covering more purposes, it means it is time to get rewritten.
The Open/Close principle states that software entities should remain open to being extended without having to be modified. When your product grows, your functions, classes, modules, and everything else will need to be extended.
Ensuring that this can take place without any interference with the already existing code ensures that a product that functions properly will not be facing new bugs as it becomes bigger and more complex.
This principle applies, obviously, only to software that is properly functional. If bugs do exist in the already written code, it should be modified accordingly during the development process.
Liskov Substitution Principle
This principle is a more complicated one to understand than the first two. Reading it the way Barbara Liskov penned it might sound like a foreign language; programming talk can have this effect sometimes.
However, Robert Martin made the explanation of what this principle states a bit easier to understand later on: subclasses and derived classes should be interchangeable with their parent/base class.
Interface Segregation Principle
This principle comes in favor of the client, stating, according to Martin, that no client should be forced to use an interface that they do not know how to operate.
Therefore, interface segregation provides an easy solution to that: interfaces that are too large can, and should, be divided into smaller and more manageable interfaces during the development process.
Dependency Inversion Principle
It is called the dependency inversion principle because it states that instead of abstractions depending on details, it should be the other way around.
The Dependency Inversion Principle allows other modules to quickly change the modules by just updating the dependency module. The high-level module is unaffected by modifications to the low-level module.
Modern Day Principles
The SOLID principles are well-established, have been here for a long time and will remain important in the software industry for a while thanks to their ability to simplify design and ensure smooth development.
However, since 2000 many other principles have been theorized and can be taken into account by engineers. It would be a shame if we didn’t mention a few modern ones, so here is a rundown on two more principles!
Any software product, in order to be effective and, ultimately, successful, should be created with the clear goal of meeting its future users’ needs.
Instead of having tunnel vision and getting caught up in the wants of the stakeholders, paying attention to the needs of the customer and making it most appealing to them can ensure that future modifications and fixes will be kept to a minimum.
How inconvenient would it be, and how much would it add to the development time, to launch a product, only to realize it needs to be changed almost in its entirety because the people it was intended for do not like it?
Breaking Down A Large Project Into Various Smaller Ones
No matter how good the design of a software product is, it can collapse under the pressure of its growing complexity as its development progresses.
Not only does the product itself grow in difficulty to handle and understand as it advances in its creation process, but any new engineer added to the team only adds to the hardships in management and flexibility.
In order to avoid getting lost or stuck along the way, breaking your software project into multiple smaller ones can make things easier for a variety of reasons. If you operate in such a way, the development team will have an easier time catching up, and bugs will be easier to spot and fix.
Implementing These Principles
Any good custom development company will take these things into account when working on your software requirements.
You can tell that they know how to implement the necessary principles in their process by taking a look at their portfolio and how successful their prior projects have been. Idyllic boasts an impressive list of products they have developed with their clients, making them a natural first choice if you wish to outsource your software.