Many companies create Software (also called computer programs or IT systems in this article). However, it is essential to know what kind of software it is.
Because depending on that, the approach with which you approach the programming also differs. For some, the end device (end device: for example, desktop, smartphone, etc.) does not play a significant role, since in some cases, it is always the same, such as with embedded software. In some cases, the end devices play a significant role, such as packaged IT systems. The requirements change depending on the software to be developed, and not only with the end devices, i.e., the program’s hardware. Other parameters such as budget, implementation time, speed requirements, and many more also change.
The following are the different types of IT programs:
Packaged software is familiar to most. Microsoft Windows or Microsoft Office are suitable examples. What is unique about this type of program is that they are already delivered ready-made and are no longer specifically adapted for the customer. All users get the same. Only a few settings can be changed.
The challenge in programming here is that these computer programs are installed on different computers with different configurations. For example, the program could react differently on Intel processors than it would on AMD processors, for example. This makes it necessary to test the IT system consistently. At the same time, it’s not so bad to release a first version 1.0, which still contains bugs (called “bugs” in computer jargon). In the next version, you can then fix the errors found by the users and your team. Again, the best example is Microsoft Windows. New updates are installed almost every time the program is restarted. These are bug fixes that the users or their test team have found in most cases. Only to a small extent are new functions being imported.
Open source is software that is provided free of charge. This system is operated and further developed by a community of developers, who usually do not take any remuneration for this.
An excellent example of this is PHP. There is a large community here that provides this programming for free. PHP, in turn, can be used to write web applications. A PHP developer could charge a fee for this. The various components that are already programmed help to develop applications faster. The big challenge with such systems is that the programmers who work together on them are spread worldwide. As a result, these systems, or at least their components, are not always as well thought out as is the case with other systems where programmers coordinate directly in a group on-site.
Business/consulting software also falls partly into the area of packaged IT systems. Already packaged programs are adapted to companies. The consultants or consulting firms that make these adjustments usually charge several hundred euros per hour. Certainly also because they have a high degree of specialization in their field. An example would be a consulting firm that implements SAP in a large bank, where SAP is essentially already written software.
In some cases, companies have such unusual wishes or requirements that applications are only written for them. An example would be a particular application for a company that manufactures engines and needs to determine their noise level down to the smallest decibel. Most likely, no packaged systems or open-source modules can be found for this. The significant advantage of developing such systems is that you can make assumptions about which hardware is used and the general technical environment. You know, for example, that a specific version of Internet Explorer is used in the company and only a certain number of different computer systems. Accordingly, one can develop specifically for this environment.
Embedded software is a technology installed in particular hardware and is not changed later. You have to be extremely careful during development because the solution finally imported into the hardware must no longer contain any errors. Because you can usually not import updates to it. An example of this would be software that is implemented in a car. You can no longer make any changes here once it has been sold. In the worst case, programming errors can lead to recalls from these cars. Again, this isn’t so bad for packaged systems because, as mentioned, it’s just another version, with the bug fixes, that’s given out to customers, either for free or for a fee.
cloud-based solutions are becoming increasingly important in the corporate sector. IT systems had to be laboriously maintained internally by IT departments in the past. Today everything runs in the background and is supported by the cloud solution providers.
With such software, the provider, as with packaged systems, can also rely on the fact that version 1.0 does not have to be perfect. He can import new versions much faster and respond to customer feedback relatively quickly. When programming these systems, particular focus must be given to security, offline use, and others.
Once you understand that there are different IT systems and different requirements, you will approach the development process differently. A cloud-based provider can look at and publish the first version of the solution much more relaxed than, for example, an embedded system provider could do. If you want to bet on low prices, you should program packaged software, as the development costs can be more easily spread over many users.
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