How to Build a Software Program
What to learnhow to build a software program? Don't worry, it's not as hard as it sounds, although there's a bit of a steep learning curve in the beginning. But once you learn how to build software from scratch, you'll have a solid overview of the processand you can then decide if you want to go further down that path - or even specialize in something like how to build AI software. Learning how to build a software application is merely a matter of understanding the steps and executing them in the proper order, while gaining the knowledge along the way. So let's begin by learning how to build a software product.
How to BuildaSoftwareProduct
Step 1: Putting a Concept to Paper
The first stage involves getting your thoughts and ideas on paper. You need to answer questions such as what the software actually does, who it can help, which type of user will be most likely to buy or use it, and so on. It helps crystalize your concepts into actual visual elements on paper, and it's a crucial part of the process because ithelps define the direction you'll be taking, what platform or language you'll be using to develop the software, and so on.
Step 2: Designing your Wireframe
Wireframing a software means putting all the elements on a big virtual board and connecting the parts to show how they interact with each other and the user's actions. It involves designing the UI or user interface, and directly impacts UX or user experience. This is where you'll be defining the parts of the software and how the user will interact with them. To show you how to wireframe your software, we'll be using Wondershare Mockitt, a powerful design and prototyping tool that is easy enough for beginners to learn and use.
- After you install and launch WondershareMockitt, start a new project and name it. Choose thedevice type you're designing for (desktop, mobile, etc.) and proceed to the next step.
- Your board will show the first screen. This is your starting page and the entryway into the rest of your software's functionality.
- Start dragging various components, widgets, and icons to create the initial layout of the different parts of the software, like your logo, a header block, a menu, some content blocks, some buttons, and so on.
- You'll be creating multiple screens after the first one, so you can save a lot of time by customizing your asset library and assigning Master status to widgets that you'll be using frequently. This allows you to make the change in one widget and have the others updated instantly without manual effort. The end result is a set of screens that show different ways in which the user can interact with the first page, and the resulting state of the page after the interaction is executed. The next step is to link these pages/screens in a sequential flow.
- To add a link from a widget such as a button or another component to another page state, simply drag the link icon that you see to the left of the component and drag it to the left side. Drop it on the target page/screen where that interaction will lead to. You can now add a transition to define what type of action will trigger that change. You can add simple transitions, dynamic animation effects, and gestures by simply editing the link's properties on the right side.
- You can now add annotations to theboard or a particular screen by using the "Sticky" widget to make a note.
- Preview the Wireframe Prototype
Your wireframe is now a fully functional prototype, so go ahead and test it out by executing the gestures and transitions that you defined in the wireframe. This preview gives you a good idea of how the software will ultimately work.
- Share the Prototype
Get others to test out your prototype and validate your assumptions about what features the software should have and how they should work. Thisobjective view gives you valuable data that you can use to go back and modify your logic flow and other aspects. Go back to your saved project and make any changes you need to.
Step 3: Coding your Software
Once your basic design is done, you can now start coding the actual software. The process will go faster because the widgets and other components you used for the wireframe will have theircode automatically generated in HTML and the required style codes for Swift, Android, and CSS.
This is where thelearning curve gets the steepest because you'll need to learn a new language. You can, of course, leverage the code libraries available in popular SDKs or software development kits so everything doesn't need to be written from scratch. However, if it's a relatively simple program, learning how to manually write the code is a fantastic learning experience before you graduate to using SDKs, APIs, and other advanced developer tools.
Step 4: Compile your Package asas.exe or .dmg
If you're creating the program for Windows, the source code needs to be compiled as a .exe package; formacOS, the equivalent is a .dmg. This is essentially a self-contained executable file that will install and run the program on the respective operating system it's been written for. In other words, it's your entire software program in an executable package designed for a particular platform.
Step 5: Testing your Program
The final step is to fully test out your program for bugs and usability issues. This will help you fine-tune your code, and your package can be updated to reflect the changes. You can do a formal round of user testing with other people as well, just like when you shared the prototype. This will give you even more ideas for how to improve on your software program.
Learning how to build a software application, even from scratch, is simply a question of understanding what's required and then gathering the skills as you go along. Nowadays, you don't even have to attend a formal course to learn how to build a software platform or how to build a software product. There are resources freely available on the Internet that show you every aspect of putting together a software package in a step-by-step manner.
One thing to keep in mind is that the wireframing or prototyping part of the process is absolutely critical, and WondershareMockittis an intuitive tool with a gentle learning curve that will take away a lot of the pain of learning how to create a software program. Once you know the entire process from one end to the other, you can choose which part you want to specialize in so you can get better at it. Who knows, maybe WondershareMockittwill even inspire you to be adeveloperanda designer!