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The Software Development Life Cycle: Explained

The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is the same process whether programmers are looking to create an in-house web application or a third-party software solution for a client. What is important to remember is that each step has its own, mini life cycle, and that developers need to complete one step before moving on to the next step.

Phases of the Life Cycle

While there are many different models representing an SDLC, the iterative process is often utilized since programming is never considered complete. Consistent maintenance and improvement is necessary even after the program is released and used by the organization or customers.

software development

The five main phases of SDLC are considered to be:

  • Planning
  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Coding
  • Testing
  • Maintenance

Planning Phase

In this initial phase, the main purpose of the software is defined, specifically the problem the company or client needs to solve. User and system requirements are determined during an information gathering phase so that the needs of the stakeholders are met and the technological aspects of the program are accounted for. This can include software, hardware, networking, and peripherals that are necessary in the course of maintaining and utilizing the software.

Some life cycle models separate the portions of the planning phase into separate phases in order to stress the importance of each area. While this isn’t necessary, it is vital to not that the research and information phase needs to be exhaustive in order for the program to perform the functions originally determined when the project was initiated.

Analysis Phase

During the analysis phase, reality must set in. Some requirements may not be feasible, or system requirements may need to be altered to accommodate them. Priorities are set at this time as well to make sure that there is a hierarchy of needs and programming goals can be determined.

In the ongoing, iterative approach to SDLC, analysis is also where the program is reviewed for possible vulnerabilities and errors. Feedback and review is necessary to tweak performance and to create a quality web application that satisfies the needs of the company and its stakeholders.

Design Phase

The overall program structure is created at this point, and at last this is where all of the different pieces will fall into place. The different programmers will be assigned tasks at this point, and milestones will be created to make sure that the overall development falls within original parameters.

Coding Phase

According to programmers, this is where the real work begins. But if the other steps aren’t followed correctly, the coding will not create a satisfactory program, no matter how skilled the coders may be. This is a complicated and time consuming process, where each programmer has to create an element that will eventually be melded into a harmonious whole.


This may be the first time the web application is reviewed for performance, but it won’t be the last. A system test is performed, and a test to determine the integration of the program with all of its separate elements. Any issues discovered here will be remedied and tested again before launch.


After launch, the web application will need to be monitored and adjusted to make sure it is running smoothly. If feedback is gathered from users, some of the improvements can be implemented during this phase. If extensive changes are required, or vulnerabilities are discovered, then it may be necessary to return to the planning phase to adjust the requirements and definition of the program.

During these phases of planning, analysis, design, coding, testing and maintenance, programmers need to make sure they understand and comply with the parameters of the project. By keeping the original goals in mind, coders will be able to ensure customer satisfaction with the end result, even if the customers in question are upper management.

Author Bio

Fergal Glynn is the Director of Product Marketing at Veracode, an award-winning application security company specializing in secure SDLC and other security breaches with effective risk assessment tools.

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