Different Types of Software Development: Which Do You Need?
There are many different ways to categorize software development. One way to break up the possibilities is by considering the factors of platform and place in stack.
With platform, there are three main possibilities: desktop, mobile, and web development. Each of these types of software development has its own norms and challenges.
With the place in stack, development can be either front-end, back-end, or full-stack. This has to do with what part of the application is being developed.
There are also other factors, such as specific technologies or methodologies, that determine the type of software development you may need. Sometimes you might need database-focused software development, or prefer working with a team that implements Scrum.
In any case, deciding on a development team requires first deciding what kind of software development you need.
Choosing Development by Platform
For decades, practically all software development was for the desktop. Users would install software directly to their computer and use it locally.
This is still an important category of development, even though so much activity occurs online and on mobile devices these days. Founders often choose to have a desktop version of their app for one reason or another, in addition to a mobile version.
For the most part, desktop development is for Windows or Mac, but plenty of developers can also build your project to work on Linux.
Because accessing the web through mobile phones is so common, mobile development is incredibly important. Almost 60% of all web traffic goes through mobile devices.
Mobile developers may focus on either iOS or Android, or they may work with both.
Web development pertains to any software that runs online, usually in a browser. It can therefore be accessed through either desktop or mobile, and a good developer will have both possibilities in mind for their design.
Many different types of software fall under this category, including progressive web apps and dynamic web pages.
Choosing Development by Place in Stack
Front-end developers build what the users see and interact with- the "front" of an application. They build the user interface (UI), and work closely with the user experience (UX) designer to ensure that the overall experience is comfortable, intuitive, and efficient. They also work with the back-end developer to fix bugs and make sure that the entire application functions cohesively.
Back-end developers build what users don't see or interact with- the "back" of an application. This is the core logic of the program, and will vary significantly depending on the purpose of the project. They work together with the front-end developer to ensure that their back-end work can be used effectively to deliver a cohesive final product.
Full-stack developers build both front and back ends, and make sure that they work together. Many development teams will offer full-stack services in creating an entire product. Some individuals can handle working on the entire stack all by themselves, although this is generally slower and more limited than if they focused on one part alone.
Pretty much every application built today needs both front-end and back-end development. Neither is more important than the other- both are necessary for producing a good product.
That said, projects will differ on their exact emphasis. A complicated mathematics software might need only a bare-bones front-end, while supporting a highly complex back-end. And a simple information app might lean more on a sleek interface, while having a relatively uncomplicated back-end.
Other Factors: Technology and Methodology
If your vision requires the use of a specific technology, then it goes without saying that you will need a developer that has expertise in that technology. This could be anything from IoT, to Web3, to cloud services, to a new piece of AI software.
This doesn't have to limit your options, however. In many cases, just one specialist is needed. Many teams have such a person in house, or they can hire someone on a temporary or ad hoc basis.
In practice, developers that focus on a particular technology are often associated with a particular industry. Consider Fintech and Web3, for example.
Development teams also differ based on the methodology they use to approach software development. These days, most teams will follow some sort of Agile methodology, such as Scrum, or Kanban.
In practice, any of these approaches should work for building your project. But perhaps you are particularly fond of one particular framework, and would prefer to work with a team that applies it.
What kind of software development do we do at JetRockets?
We focus on web and mobile development, and develop the front-end as well as the back-end. Our focus is on Ruby on Rails, which we use along with other web tools, like Svelte and React.
Additionally, we have expertise in a wide variety of software niches, such as:
Do you have a vision for a new mobile or web application? We'd love to talk!