The comprehensive guide to Software Development

Learn what software development is, what frameworks and applications are used and how it works in this complete guide. Find out everything you need to know.

software development

Software development is a fundamental aspect of technological and business advancement. It's the systematic process of creating computer programs, applications, and systems that allow modern businesses and our world to thrive.

At Propel Tech, we are experts in all aspects of software development. Therefore, we have put together this comprehensive guide to outline what software development is, how it works, and the key frameworks.

From understanding its fundamental concepts to exploring the step-by-step process, this guide offers an accessible overview for beginners and a refresher for those familiar with the field.

Table of Contents

What is software development?

what is software development

Software development refers to the systematic process of designing, creating, testing, and maintaining:

  • Computer programs
  • Applications
  • Systems

This process involves translating user needs into functional software solutions. Developers use programming languages, frameworks, and methodologies to do this. It is the art and science of turning ideas into tangible digital products that address specific needs. This can range from simple mobile apps to complex enterprise-level software.

Software development, as a whole, aims to craft efficient, user-friendly, and reliable solutions. The purpose of these solutions is varied and includes enhancing productivity, streamlining operations, creating transparency, improving customer service, and enabling innovation across a wide variety of functions and industries.

Understanding how software development works

understanding software development

Software development is a systematic journey. The process follows a set of steps to transform ideas into functional software. It starts with the strategy phase; in this phase, the opportunity for software is identified and thorough planning is undertaken: requirements are gathered, business and user needs are assessed, and any existing systems are analysed.

Designing follows, where the blueprint for the software's structure and functionalities is created, the system design must address issues such as scalability, security, and availability to handle required usage and provide a seamless experience. Then comes the coding phase, where developers write and build the actual software based on the designs and software architecture.

Once coded, the software undergoes precise testing to identify and fix any bugs or issues. After successful testing, the software is deployed for use. Post-deployment, ongoing maintenance ensures the software remains up-to-date, secure and responsive to evolving user and business needs.

Steps in the software development process

There are a number of steps in any software development process. These steps help to ensure that the software has been planned, developed, and tested to perform properly:

Requirements analysis and specification

This initial strategy phase involves gathering and understanding business requirements, user needs and expectations. It considers any existing or legacy systems that are in place and it aims to define the software's functionalities, features, and constraints.

Design and Development

The blueprint for the software is crafted in this phase. It encompasses its architecture, interface, and functionalities. Developers then proceed to write and build the software based on these designs. Any design or development must overcome business and software challenges. Whether these are resource needs, quality issues, integration, growth, or even transformation gaps.


Tests are performed thoroughly on software to ensure optimal quality and speed. Testing is essential to optimise the quality, performance, and security of your system and identify errors. Typical areas of testing include automated testing, manual testing, load testing, performance testing, and usability testing to ensure that the software functions reliably and meets the specified requirements.


After thorough testing, the software undergoes deployment for end-users and other programs. This involves adhering to established processes outlined in a deployment checklist. The detailed steps encompass installation and configuration processes, ensuring the software is not only available but also fully functional for use.

Maintenance and Support

Post-deployment, the software requires ongoing maintenance. This phase involves providing support, updates, and enhancements to ensure the software remains efficient, secure, and aligned with evolving user needs.

Types of software

types of software

These classifications encompass the diverse categories of software. Ranging from foundational system software to specialised application software. Alongside the tools utilised in software development.

System software

System software serves as the backbone of a computer system. It acts as the foundation for application software and it manages hardware components providing a platform for running applications and ensuring that all parts work together seamlessly. Examples include operating systems (such as Windows, macOS, Linux), device drivers, and utility programs responsible for system maintenance.

Application software

Application software comprises programs designed to perform specific tasks or cater to user requirements. These include productivity tools (like Microsoft Office, Google Workspace), graphics software (Adobe Photoshop), communication apps (such as Skype, Zoom), and various industry-specific applications like accounting software or CRM systems.

Programming languages

Programming languages are tools used to create software. They act as a bridge between a user interface and machine-executable instructions. Examples include high-level languages like Python, Java, and C++ and scripting languages such as JavaScript and Ruby. Each has its own unique application and purpose.

What are the main software development languages?

Here are the main software development languages that Propel Tech works across:

Microsoft .NET

Microsoft.NET is a versatile framework used to build various types of applications for Windows, web, mobile, and more.


JavaScript is a universal scripting language primarily employed for creating interactive web pages and web applications.


PHP is a server-side scripting language widely used for web development to create dynamic and interactive websites.

Progress OpenEdge

Progress OpenEdge is a specialised environment for building scalable and secure business applications.


Laravel is a PHP framework known for its elegant syntax and ability to streamline web development tasks.

React JS

React JS is a JavaScript library for building user interfaces. It is known for its efficiency in creating single-page applications.

React Native

React Native is a framework for building native mobile apps using React and JavaScript.


NativeScript is an open-source framework for building truly native mobile apps with Angular, Vue.js, TypeScript, or JavaScript.

Node JS

Node JS is a server-side JavaScript runtime that allows the building of scalable and fast network applications.

Final thoughts: what is software development?

Software development is the science of creating functional, user-oriented digital solutions. It's a structured process that solves problems and transforms ideas into tangible software. It caters to diverse user needs and business objectives.

By embracing a thorough process of strategy, planning, design, precise coding, thorough testing, smooth deployment, and continuous maintenance, software development stands as the cornerstone of business improvement, technological innovation, and it is fundamental to moving a business forward.

Understanding the essence of software development enables us to appreciate its pivotal role in shaping our world. It allows us to drive efficiency, innovation, and empowerment across various industries and domains.

Software development at Propel Tech

At Propel Tech, we provide a wide range of software development services. We work across a range of technology stacks, and our expertise is tailored to meet diverse business needs.

From conceptualisation to deployment and ongoing maintenance, we offer end-to-end software development services. We ensure seamless experiences and high-quality outcomes.

Work with Propel Tech for software development.


Is software development the same as coding?

Coding and software development are directly related. But they represent distinct aspects of the software development process.

Coding involves the implementation of specific instructions in a programming language to instruct machines or computers. It primarily focuses on translating algorithms and logical steps into a language that computers can comprehend and execute efficiently.

Software Development, on the other hand, is a comprehensive process that encompasses various stages beyond just coding. It involves a holistic approach to creating software, which includes planning, designing, coding, testing, and deployment.

What is meant by software development lifecycle?

The Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) is a structured process encompassing planning, analysis, design, coding, testing, deployment, and maintenance.

It aims to deliver high-quality software, meeting user needs while minimising risks. By iteratively progressing through phases, from concept to deployment and maintenance, the SDLC ensures efficient, customer-centric software solutions.

How is software developed step by step?

Software development progresses through key steps within a structured framework:

  • Planning: Define project scope, goals, and resources required
  • Analysis: Gather and understand user requirements thoroughly
  • Design: Blueprint software architecture, functionalities, and UI/UX
  • Implementation (Coding): Write and build the software based on designs
  • Testing: Verify and fix issues to ensure functionality and quality
  • Deployment: Release the software for end-users
  • Maintenance: Provide ongoing support, updates, and enhancements


'Programming Languages'

Formal languages used to create instructions for computers to perform specific tasks. Examples include Python, Java, and C++.


Pre-designed structures that provide a foundation for developing software applications. They offer reusable code libraries and tools to streamline development.


The act of writing instructions in a programming language to create software, applications, or websites.

'JavaScript Library'

A collection of pre-written JavaScript functions and tools that simplify the development of web applications.

'Native Mobile Apps'

Applications developed specifically for a particular mobile operating system (e.g., iOS or Android) using platform-specific languages or tools.


Refers to the operations performed on a server computer, typically related to processing data, managing databases, or executing code in response to user requests.

'Cloud Computing'

Delivery of computing services (such as servers, storage, databases, networking, software, and analytics) over the internet ("the cloud") to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale.

'Technology Stacks'

Combination of programming languages, frameworks, and tools used together to create a software solution or application. It includes both front-end and back-end technologies working together harmoniously.

'Software Engineers'

A professional who applies engineering principles to design, develop, test, and maintain software systems. They possess expertise in various programming languages, software design, algorithms, and system architecture to create robust and efficient software solutions.

'Software Developers'

A professional primarily focused on writing, testing, and maintaining code to create software applications. They specialise in translating user needs into functional code, utilising programming languages, frameworks, and development tools to bring software concepts to life.


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