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Software Development Infrastructure: What and Why

What Is Software Development Infrastructure?

Software development infrastructure refers to the tools, processes, and environments used to create software applications. In general, the term is used interchangeably with "software development platform." 

However, while a platform may provide some infrastructure, it's not the same as a complete infrastructure solution. Infrastructure solutions typically include everything from the operating system and database to the application server and development tools.

When choosing a software development infrastructure, businesses must consider their specific needs and objectives. 

For example, if they need to develop mobile apps, they will need an infrastructure that includes a mobile device emulator or simulator. On the other hand, if they need to build cloud-based applications, they will need an infrastructure that includes a cloud computing platform. 

The proper software development infrastructure can help businesses save time and money while improving the quality of their applications. 

Software Development Infrastructure Components

A software development infrastructure typically consists of tools, processes, and services used to develop, test, deploy, and manage software applications. The most common components of a software development infrastructure include source control management systems, build servers, testing frameworks, and deployment pipelines. When all these components are built out, they work together to provide a streamlined way to develop software applications. 

Integrated Development Environment

  • An integrated development environment (IDE) is a software application that provides developers with a graphical user interface (GUI) to manage the codebase and build applications. 
  • Examples: Visual Studio Code, JetBrains IntelliJ,  Eclipse 

Issue Tracking and Workflow Management

  • An issue tracking system is a software application that helps developers track and manage bugs and issues. 
  • Examples: JIRA, Asana, Trello 

Source Control Management

  • Source control management systems store and track changes to the codebase. 
  • Examples: Git, GitHub, BitBucket 

Code Quality Management

  • Code quality management systems help developers ensure that their code meets specific organization or team standards. 
  • Examples: SonarQube, PMD, Checkstyle 

Application Performance Management

  • Application performance management (APM) tools help developers monitor and optimize the performance of their applications. 
  • Examples: New Relic, AppDynamics, Dynatrace 

Dependency Management

  • Dependency management systems help developers manage the dependencies of their applications. 
  • Examples: Apache Maven, Gradle, Ivy 

Testing Frameworks

  • Testing frameworks allow you to execute tests automatically and ensure your organization meets code quality standards. 
  • Examples: Selenium, WebDriverIO, Cypress 

Continuous Integration

  • Continuous integration build servers automatically detect code changes, then build and package code changes to produce your deployment artifacts. 
  • Examples: Jenkins, GitLab, TravisCI 

Continuous Deployment

  • Deployment pipelines provide a mechanism for automatically deploying code changes to your staging environment and, if wanted, production environments. 
  • Examples: The tools you use for CD are the same as those for CI. 

Containerization Tools

  • Containerization tools help developers package their applications and dependencies into self-contained units. 
  • Examples: Docker, Kubernetes, Apache Mesos 

These are just a few of the most common software development infrastructure components and examples you may want to research. However, a complete infrastructure can consist of any tools that fill your organization's needs. The key is to choose the right tools and services for your specific needs. 

The Benefits of a Well-Designed Software Development Infrastructure

A well-designed software development infrastructure can benefit businesses by increasing efficiency, reducing costs, and improving quality control, among other things. By having a clear and concise framework in place, companies can develop new applications and features more efficiently while ensuring that existing ones are compatible. Establishing this framework can save valuable time and money and reduce the likelihood of errors. 

In addition, a well-designed infrastructure can help improve communication between different teams and departments, making it easier to coordinate efforts and identify potential issues. As a result, a well-designed software development infrastructure can be a valuable asset for any business. 

How to Design a Software Development Infrastructure That Meets Your Needs

Building a software development infrastructure is no small feat. There are many moving parts, and it can be challenging to know where to start. However, by assessing your needs and doing some research, you can develop an infrastructure that meets your specific requirements. 

One of the first things you'll need is to decide what programming languages you want to use. Next, the development languages will determine what tools and frameworks you need to be able to support your development process. This step includes building a standardized development environment made easier with Nova. 

Once you have a good idea of the languages you'll be working with, you can start looking at different options for code management, automated testing, continuous integration, and continuous deployment. 

By taking the time to design a robust infrastructure, you can set your software development team up for success. 

Why Choose a Cloud-Based Development Infrastructure?

Some services, such as Nimbus, allow you to build and run your development infrastructure in the cloud. 

These cloud-based solutions help you by: 

  • Allowing developers to concentrate on developing code instead of updating infrastructure.
  • Avoiding the need for high-end laptops, as development happens in the cloud.
  • Avoiding software decay and CI breaks. For example, one developer updates a package, but another hasn't done it yet; they check it in, and it breaks the build.
  • Providing increased security. You control the most vulnerable part of the development process by moving it from individual laptops to a central point.

Tips for Optimizing Your Software Development Infrastructure

There are a few simple steps to optimize your infrastructure and keep your projects running smoothly. 

First, make sure you have a straightforward process for developers to follow when onboarded to a new project. Something as simple as a guide will help ensure that all code and infrastructure are consistent and meet standards. Or you can choose to automate this entire process, so there's no guesswork. 

Secondly, make sure the infrastructure is tested and works! All packages are installed and working correctly. 

Finally, make sure your developers keep all their software up to date. For example, you might use manual reporting or scripting. 

With this in mind, you can help ensure your software development team is productive and efficient. If you want to ensure all these are followed, give Nimbus a try. 

Common Issues With Software Development Infrastructures and How to Address Them

Any software development team will eventually run into infrastructure issues. Here are some of the most common problems and how to address them: 

  • Lack of scalability. As your team grows, your infrastructure needs to be able to handle the increased load. Generally, scaling often means investing in more powerful servers or moving to a cloud-based solution.
  • Limited functionality. As your team's needs change, you may find that your current infrastructure can't keep up. In this case, it may be time to switch to a more robust solution.
  • High maintenance costs. Keeping up with infrastructure can be costly in both money and time. If you spend more time than you'd like on maintenance, it may be time to outsource or automate some of the work.
  • Security vulnerabilities. As your infrastructure grows, so do the chances of a security breach. So keep your systems up to date and invest in a sound security system.

By being aware of these common issues, you can take steps to avoid them or address them quickly if they do arise. 

The Future of Software Development Infrastructure

As the world becomes increasingly digitized, the demand for software developers will continue to grow. However, software development is also changing, and the infrastructure that supports development is evolving. 

In the future, developers will need to be able to work with more complex datasets and build more user-friendly applications. They will also need to manage multiple projects and collaborate with other developers more effectively. 

Development teams will need to invest in better tools and processes to meet these challenges. In particular, they will need to focus on automating repetitive tasks, reducing project cycle times, and improving communication and collaboration. By making these investments, development teams will be able to stay ahead of the curve and deliver higher-quality software faster. 

Wrapping up

If you're looking to set up your software development team for success, it's crucial to have a well-organized infrastructure. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can ensure that your team has everything they need to thrive. 

In addition, be sure to stay ahead of the curve by investing in new tools and technologies that will make your team more productive. With a bit of planning, you can set your team up for success now and in the future. 

This post was written Steven Lohrenz. Steven is an IT professional with 25-plus years of experience as a programmer, software engineer, technical team lead, and software and integrations architect. They blog at about things that interest them.