How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time of course… The same goes for developing a software product. Trying to tackle all of the features and functionality at once is going to feel like you’ve taken on an impossible task, and risk of failure will be high. By breaking that product down into its standalone components, you can start building the product up, one feature at a time.
But what is a component? You can think of a component as a piece of code that when executed performs a specific task or delivers a specific feature. If we take a mobile application as an example; a user login facility would be one component while accessing the phone’s GPS to enable location-based features would be another.
And how does a component-based approach improve your development process overall?
- It promotes reuse (which in turn reduces development time)
When applying a component-based approach, your development team will build up a component library which contains all components previously developed along with an explanation of how they work and how to use them. From this library, different teams can then cherry-pick components that can be reused toward a new product or feature without any rework. This means that a development team is actually starting with a leg up, with less development needing to start from scratch.
- It ensures consistency and improved quality
If the same components are being reused across various development projects, you’re ensuring a consistent and predictable user experience throughout your product portfolio. Reuse also means that there’s more time for testing, ensuring the highest quality level possible.
- It streamlines the requirements and design process
As with development, requirements and design will not need to start from scratch within a component-based context. Your analysis and design teams can use existing components as their baseline and would only need to focus their energies on defining any add-on logic, enhanced features or product extensions.
- It reduces maintenance costs
The use of a component library will also enable the centralisation of code. This means where bug fixes and software upgrades need to be applied, you only have to apply it in one place to the benefit of all who are using that particular component. This ends up reducing the maintenance cost of your development shop considerably.
- Developers don’t need to be jack of all trades
The true beauty of a component-based development environment is that developers can remain specialists within their own fields of preference while still being able to build applications that require a mix of skills. Reuse not only shortens delivery timelines, but also allows developers to make use of components developed by people with very different skillset to their own.
Need assistance with creating a component-based view of your software products? Our team of analysts have extensive experience within this field and can help build your component library for you. Give us a call on 021 447 5696 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss consulting options to suit your specific needs.