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Importance of Software Development Best Practices

Colin Shah
Colin Shah
November 9, 2023
Clock icon9 mins read
Calendar iconLast updated November 9, 2023
Banner-Software Development Best Practices

What are Software Development Best Practices?

In the world of software development, we have a set of handy guidelines that are also referred to as “best practices” aimed at enhancing code quality and security. These practices help you write code that's clean, readable, and easy to handle. Think of them as friendly tips rather than strict rules – following them isn't a must, but ignoring them might land you in a bit of a pickle as your codebase gets bigger. Debugging, for instance, can become a real head-scratcher.

At Brilworks, we strictly adhere to these practices that help us develop applications that are easy to debug and maintain. You've probably heard of these as "best practices" when you're trying to get your team on the same page.

However, if you want to learn how to compose code that is easy to debug, maintain, and looks clean and readable, you're in the right place. These methods include various techniques, collectively known as "best practices," ranging from variable declarations to code formatting to the utilization of appropriate tools and more.

We've already covered these practices in detail in one of our earlier blog posts. These practices are applicable across different programming languages, with slight variations. If you're interested in exploring best practices tailored for Java developers, we've described these practices in a comprehensive two-part blog series, Part 1 and Part 2 for Java developers. 

In this blog, we'll cover what "software development best practices" means, how to write standard code, and all the essential information you need. So, let's begin by defining software development best practices.

Definition of software development best practices

Software development best practices refer to various methodologies and approaches implemented by professional developers and software development companies within their workplaces. Software development best practices are typically established and become widely recognized through a collaborative and iterative process.

Many best practices originate from the collective knowledge and experience of software developers and organizations working in the field. Experienced professionals identify common challenges, develop solutions, and share their insights with others to ensure proper coding, planning, and controlling the software development process.

They cover a wide range of topics, including:

  • Coding: This includes practices such as writing clean, readable, and maintainable code, using appropriate data structures and algorithms, and testing code thoroughly.
  • Planning and control: This includes practices such as defining clear requirements, estimating effort, tracking progress, and managing risk.
  • Methodologies and approaches: This includes practices such as agile development, waterfall development, and DevOps.

When developers adopt coding guidelines, they can collaborate and work more efficiently. Project managers can implement methodologies to ensure timely delivery and reduce costs.

Below are some popular methodologies in 2023 for software development:

Methodologies:

Software Development Best Practices

Here are some important practices that software developers should pay attention to.

1. Keep it simple: Keep your code straightforward and avoid unnecessary complexity.

2. DRY - Don't Repeat Yourself: Reusing code is efficient; don't duplicate it.

3. YAGNI - You Aren't Gonna Need It: Build what you need now, not what you might need later.

4. Write clean and readable code: Use consistent naming conventions, indentation, and formatting. Add comments to explain complex code and document your codebase.

5. Use Git for version control: Git allows you to track changes to your code, collaborate with other developers, and revert to previous versions if necessary.

6. Divide your software into manageable parts: This makes it easier to develop, test, and maintain your code. Use modules, classes, and functions to organize your code into logical units.

7. Test your code thoroughly: Write unit tests to test individual units of code and integration tests to test how different units of code work together.

8. Continuously integrate and deliver (CI/CD): CI/CD is a set of practices that automates the building, testing, and deployment of your code. This helps you to deliver high-quality software to your users more quickly.

9. Follow the SOLID principles: The SOLID principles are a set of guidelines for writing maintainable code. These principles include the Single Responsibility Principle, the Open/Closed Principle, the Liskov Substitution Principle, the Interface Segregation Principle, and the Dependency Inversion Principle.

10. Use agile and DevOps practices: Agile and DevOps are sets of practices that promote collaboration and continuous delivery. Agile teams focus on developing and delivering software in short iterations, and DevOps teams focus on automating the software development and delivery process.

11. Focus on the user experience: When developing software, it is important to keep the user in mind. Design your software to be easy to use and understand. Collect feedback from users and stakeholders to improve your software.

12. Write documentation: Documentation is essential for maintaining and understanding your software. Write clear and concise documentation that explains how to use and maintain your software.

Now, coming to the main point, what significance these practices bring for developers. In this section, we will be talking about the importance of software development best practices for development companies and businesses. 

The significance of best practices in software development

  • Smooth Development Process

Effective teamwork makes the development process run smoothly. When developers or a team follow consistent standards and conventions, it fosters a cohesive and efficient collaborative environment. These standards cover various aspects, such as how to name variables and use comments in the code.

On the flip side, without clear guidelines, each developer might opt for their unique coding style. This diversity can lead to challenges during software development. Therefore, adopting standard practices is vital, especially for companies striving to create uniform and reliable applications.

  • Better Team Collaboration

Software engineers often have their own distinct ways of working, which can lead to differences in their code. In such cases, best practices come to the rescue, providing a common ground for collaboration when multiple developers are involved.

These guidelines offer instructions on how to create code that's easier for fellow developers to understand. This encourages better teamwork and saves time by avoiding unique code patterns and styles.

  • Reduced Rework

Well-known agile development methods, such as Scrum, encourage step-by-step progress and teamwork. This lowers the chance of making mistakes.

According to a study, software developers usually have to redo about 26% of their code before releasing it. Using common software methods is one of the best ways to decrease the chances of redoing your code.

  • Improved Code Quality

There are many benefits to having good code quality. One of the main benefits is that it makes your code easier to read and understand. But what exactly is code quality? It refers to how reliable a software program's source code is.

Good code quality is important because it makes maintaining the software much easier. One of the best ways to achieve this is by following consistent coding standards. For example, a development team can decide on a set of rules that everyone follows when naming variables and functions. This ensures that all team members use the same pattern for naming functions, which makes the code easier to work with.

  • Cost Reduction

In addition to making it less likely that you'll have to redo your work when you write your code well, it can also save you money in the long run. Well-structured code is easier to maintain and upgrade.

This means that when you follow good coding practices, it becomes simpler to keep your software in good shape over time. You can easily make improvements or changes without encountering too many issues. In the end, this can reduce the overall cost of managing your software.

Challenges of implementing software development best practices

One of the biggest challenges of implementing software development best practices is getting everyone on the team to agree on and follow the same set of practices. This can be difficult, especially on large teams with developers who have different experience levels and backgrounds.

Another challenge is keeping up with the latest best practices. As the software development industry evolves, new best practices are constantly being developed. It can be difficult for developers to stay up-to-date on the latest best practices, especially if they are working on multiple projects.

How to Overcome Challenges in Implementing Software Development Best Practices

While adhering to best practices is crucial for success, there are a few challenges that teams may encounter when trying to implement them. Here are some tips on how to address these challenges:

  • Developers also need guidance to implement best practices effectively. Explain to them the benefits of using these methods and practices, such as reducing redundant work and improving team collaboration significantly.
  • Instead of compelling your team members to adopt these practices immediately, consider gradually training them to start using established practices.
  • Provide training for your developers and give them access to valuable resources, as well as offer mentorship and coaching to support their growth.
  • These practices continually evolve over time, so consider having periodic knowledge programs to educate your developers about these efficiency-enhancing techniques.

Summing Up

We hope you found this article helpful; where we have described the importance of software development best practices while also providing concrete examples of the benefits of implementing these best practices.

If you are struggling with your codebase and seeking to standardize it, don't hesitate to reach out to Brilworks. We can assign developers according to your specific needs. So, what are you waiting for? Brilworks offers a wide range of services, including application development, performance and security enhancements, and scaling web, native, and cross-platform applications.

 

FAQ

1. What are Software development best practices?

Software development best practices are guidelines and methodologies by renowned developers that aim to improve code quality, readability, and security. They are not strict rules but guidelines to enhance your development experience.

2. Why should I follow software development best practices? 

These practices aim to improve development experience, collaboration, and code quality. By following these practices, a team of developers can reduce their rework and improve collaboration. These practices are leveraged by big names, making them develop complex software more effectively. 

3. Are these practices language-specific?

While these practices may have slight variation in terms of writing, as each programming language has its own conventions and standard methods to write maintainable code, major practices in this blog are applicable across several domains. 

4. What are some popular development methodologies for 2023? 

Popular methodologies include Agile, Rapid application development (RAD), Scrum framework, and DevOps.

 

Colin Shah

Colin Shah

As a lead Java developer with 8+ years of experience, I design and develop high-performance web applications using Java, Spring Boot, Hibernate, Microservices, RESTful APIs, AWS, and DevOps. I'm dedicated to sharing knowledge through blogs and tutorials.

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