eCommerce software development life cycle: System and software development processes, often referred to as the Product Development Lifecycle are the steps and procedures taken to create and develop a software or a system to be used by a business. The process is usually structured and includes stages for conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, and deployment (sometimes maintenance).
eCommerce software development life cycle
There are numerous models and methodologies that can be used as a guide for development processes. The Waterfall development model is the original model for development processes and has been improved upon over time. One of the more successful variations of the original model is Agile development. Both can be useful models for your e-commerce business’s systems and software development based on its needs.
The Place of Testing in the SDLC
Testing has an important place in the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle).
The customer requirements will be brought by the marketing group.
The engineering group will access the feasibility.
The engineering and SQA groups will work together during the design phase and generate the product specification.
The developers will start implementing while the SQA team is developing the test plans and so …
What is Waterfall?
Waterfall or Waterfall development is viewed as the traditional development style. It focuses on planning the project thoroughly and maps out all of the detailed steps and like a waterfall, everything you want done flows over and spills into the project until everything’s been coded, then you call it done. During the planning stage, steps and actions are chosen for the entire project and the decisions are concrete. Once the plans have been made, there is no flexibility for changes, although it always does.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Waterfall
Why Choose Waterfall?
Like any method, Waterfall has both its strengths and weaknesses. With a well-planned process and a structured setting, Waterfall can prove to be very useful. However, the Waterfall development process can be time-consuming. The planning stage alone can take a considerable amount of time. Also, if you decide halfway through the project that something needs to be changed, it is difficult to change the plans and your developer would probably be reluctant to do so. When fixes are made to the project, it could be months before they are implemented. When you are dealing in a business-like eCommerce, waiting an extended amount of time for changes to be made could be very costly for you.
How Do You Eat an Elephant? Agile
As mentioned before, the Agile development process is an improvement upon Waterfall. While there are still stages and steps, they are separated into smaller phases, allowing for changes to be made and additions that may need to be added. The Agile model is very flexible and adaptable, allowing changes to be made as your project is developed.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Agile
Built to be more Fluid
One of the biggest strengths of Agile development is its flexibility. Being able to adjust for changes makes it ideal for clients who need to see their project evolving and taking shape before they make their final decisions about what all they need from it. Fixes can be easily made and are quickly implemented. Agile is usually a cheaper model to follow than waterfall and is overall a faster method. In addition, many projects are cut short by timeline or budget constraints. Agile development ensures that the most crucial elements of the project are completed and delivered first, meaning that even if time or money runs out, you will have the key deliverables already finished and functioning. However, it is important to be cautious when using Agile and remember to focus on the quality of your software or system, and not just how quickly it can be deployed.
The 4 life stages according to Gartner
In a report titled Identify Small Business Opportunities by Understanding Business Life Stage Requirement, Gartner, the world’s leading research and advisory company, finds that “small business IT investments, and hence product needs, are driven by pragmatic strategies aligned to business life stage, including startup, expansion, established and business maturity.”1 According to Gartner, “There are four life stages that influence IT investment requirements, as follows:
- Startup — Less than two years of operation
- Expansion — Two to four years of operation
- Establish — Five to nine years of operation
- Business Maturity — 10 and more years of operation”
System Development Life Cycle
System Development Life Cycle is a systematic approach for application development or system development. SDLC is the process of building the system that result in a high quality, cost-effective, within time and efficient application that is cheap to maintain, easy to enhance and that can work effectively. It is divided in several phases and each phase comprised of multiple steps, and they are as follows:
At Capacity, we follow the SDLC to build an application so that it is of high quality, cost-effective, easy to enhance and that can work effectively. Below is the diagram that can summarize our way of working using SDLC.
Software Development Methodologies
There have been a lot of software development methodologies investigated by researchers of software systems in the past four decades. Elliott (2004) considered the SDLC as the oldest formalised model for building information systems. According to Silberberg (2006) “these prescriptive process models bring useful structure to software development work and provide a roadmap for software teams.” The prescriptive models include the waterfall model, incremental process models, rapid application design (RAD), spiral model, and concurrent development models. Agile processes for software development are focused more on the early delivery of software and customer satisfaction. Most of the web-based applications like e-commerce have characteristics that are network intensive, and have a high level of concurrency that is right for agile process models. Agile process models inlcude extreme programming, adaptive software development (ASD), dynamic systems development method (DSDM), scrum, crystal, and agile modelling (Silberberg, 2006).
The Software Development Methodologies in E-commerce
Surcel (2009) suggests that “IT professionals, web designers, IT managers and executives and all involved in the e-commerce software development must understand how to apply software engineering concepts for e-commerce systems, for better integrate their software with the needs of their business. IT professionals need to establish a methodology that resolves all the problems of e-business applications. Software developers, who understand the concepts of analysis, architecture and design, will have the success in developing the e-commerce systems.” The traditional SDLC is not enough to get the job done in e-commerce systems. Building information system is far more different with e-commerce systems because there are distinctive characteristic of the web application like creative design, advertising, marketing concepts and software engineering (Surcel, 2009).
According to Coda et.al (1998) “The web infrastructure is going beyond the mere distribution of information and services towards the development of platform for generic distributed applications in the world-wide setting. This promising scenario is endangered by the weakness of the current methodologies that support the development of web-based applications.”
With the advent of Web 2.0, social networking and media, innovative approach of doing software development methodologies are needed in order to sustain the needs of the growing interests of users on the Internet that is not just doing online transactions but consuming most of the applications and services beyond what is being offered by e-commerce.
Agile methodologies are the best candidates for e-commerce systems that incorporate the innovative and dynamic nature of the web. Agile web development is a development model for web applications that follow the same concept as the agile methodologies. This approach is more efficient and powerful to ensure every piece of functionality is delivered early in the development stage and improves throughout the life of the web application.
Agile web development has the following characteristics according to Clark (2008):
Iterative and incremental development methods that is aimed to deliver the application at shorter period of time;
The production progress is measured based on the complete and tested features during the schedule release of the application;
Tasks are broken down into smaller increments that make it more adaptable to some changes;
A working application is the principal measure of the development progress.
This methodology follows planning, requirements analysis, designing, coding, testing and documentation in parallel during the stage of production process. Customer involvement during the development process by getting their feedback improves the confidence of making changes, error free, and customer-oriented approach.
Agile web methodologies also cover the following approaches that are presented in this paper: feature driven development (FDD), adaptive software development (ASD), and dynamic systems development method (DSDM).
Feature Driven Development (FDD)
FDD is a model-driven short-iteration process that consists of five activities was described by Luca (no date) as “patterns of play that brings success.” The five basic activities of FDD are:
“Develop an overall model” described as the high-level walkthrough of the scope of the system. These are composed of meta-models that are pieces of the model in the domain and combined to form an overall model based on the consensus of the peer review and discussion of the development team.
“Build a feature list” are the ideas generated from the overall model and decomposing the domain into subject areas.
“Plan by feature” is using the list from the second activity to produce the development plan.
“Design by feature” is a design package made from the third activity.
“Build by feature” is the task that generated the completed client-valued function state.
According to (Martin, 2003), FDD can be used in web development. However, web development covers a lot of project types and it is dependent to the nature of the project where FDD can be applied. The effective way to get the development process done right is to start it with the FDD approach. “FDD understands, embraces, and accepts software construction as a human activity. Process is needed, as is technology, but it is knowing of where to specify what should be done and where what to do. That is the essense of a well-bounded process in recognition of people and thier role in software construction projects, and knowing what needs to be written down (as a process) versus what ius simply delegated to the right role. The patterns of play that brings success” (Luca, no date). Almost all projects can use FDD regardless of the size and technology. Defining and mapping the features in a web development project can be described into requirements and specifications. The requirement should establish the concise project objective that put everything in place. Then document the specifications that defines the project itslef like, interaction design (frontend and backend), page flow and logic, page wireframes, database schema, class diagrams, and feature list. Features can be described as the the view/add/edit/delete functionality relevant to the users/customer needs. The features are mapped according to the interactions of the screen design. Technical implementation where a specific technology is used to describe business logic of model-view-controller (MVC) to separate data and layers of the interface (Martin, 2003).
Adaptive Software Development (ASD)
ASD software development approach use the continuous adaptation and learning that described the dynamic “speculate-collaborate-learn life cycle” (Highsmith, 2000a). ASD approach is dedicated to constant change, re-evaluation, and collaboration among all members of the development team and clients. The conceptual notion of ASD was based of complex adaptive systems (CAS) that is designed for complex, high-speed, high-change, and uncertain projects. The change-oriented life cycle has a direct relation to speculate-collaborate-learn concept. Speculate is to have a clear realization of understanding the plan. Speculation is recognizing the uncertainty of the problem that needs to be explored. Collaboration is the giving importance to teamwork that encompasses the development team, customers, suppliers, vendors, and others that is directly and indirectly involved in the process. Learning is the product of acknowledging the course and the result of the development process. The learning process is test of knowledge and can be derived from the organizational practices, being committed and adaptive to retrospective and focus group discussions.
According to (Arthur, 1996) ASD addresses the “economy of increasing returns”. The Internet and the dot com markets are characterized by the “high-speed, high-change economy”(Arthur, 1996). This approach makes the market unpredictable and unplanned developmental process in the normal or traditional way of controlling the project (Riehle, 2001).
CAS model as described by (Highsmith,2000a) in software development that explain the world of agents, environment, and emergence is translated to the development organization as the environment; members as agents; and the product as the emergent result of competition and cooperation within the uncertain and unpredictable world of software development (Riehle, 2001).
ASD lifecycle has six characteristics: mission focused, component based, iterative, timeboxed, risk driven, and change tolerant (Highsmith, 2000b).
In e-commerce projects mission focused projects are guided by the boundaries of the mission statements. Application components are the result that defines the group features. During the iteration cycle the components are developed and the documentation are deliverables which are secondary to the software feature that is needed by the client. Timeboxing are deadlines or fixed delivery times for the iterative processes and project itself. Then this is analysed according to the risks associate during the adaptive cycles. Change tolerance is the ability to view and incorporate change in the process that take advantage of the make it more error-free and compliant with the set requirements (Highsmith, 2000b).
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What is the Systems Development Life Cycle?
The system development life cycle is a long-term embedded concept in software engineering and in the world of Information Technology. In previous articles, we’ve covered the importance of having a structure and a set of regulatory guidelines that delimit a process to make it effective, efficient, and successful. This rings true for this article’s subject of interest: the system development life cycle…but what is the system development life cycle?
In this article, we reflect on the concept’s definition, characteristics, key traits, and more, to fully comprehend its scope and reach, especially in today’s ever-changing atmosphere.
First up, let’s bring clarity to the definition of a system. A system is an information technology component (hardware, software, or a combination of the two). In software development, a component integrates with other software components to create a full-fledged system.
Now, let’s dive into the definition first: the system development life cycle (SDLC), also commonly known as the application development lifecycle, is a multistep, iterative, and structured process that encompasses the activities of planning, analysis, designing, building, testing, deploying, and maintaining an information system. The term has been around since the 1960s back when teams were more centralized, but now that information technology has evolved, the SDLC has been transformed to meet ever-changing needs in a complex atmosphere and under unique circumstances. When talking about an information system, we must recognize that it includes both hardware and software configurations, which is why the SDLC encompasses these two components and usually covers these 7 phases: planning, analysis, design, development, testing and integration, implementation, and maintenance. Additionally, it covers activities such as documentation and evaluation.
The essence of the system development life cycle is to deliver high-quality information systems that meet and/or exceed client expectations as they flow through pre-defined phases, within given timeframes and budget.
The system development life cycle is oftentimes confused with the software development lifecycle, but while they share remarkable similarities, the development of information systems is relatively more complex and robust in its overall architecture.
Given the complexity of the method, there are numerous methodologies out there that help manage and control the system development process. Among these methodologies, we can find Waterfall, Agile, rapid prototyping, incremental, and more. In this article, we will explore these methodologies within the framework of developing information systems.
Why is it important to have a system development life cycle in place?
The system development life cycle helps alleviate the complexity of developing a system information system from scratch, within a framework of structured phases that help shape the project and manage it easily.
It’s important to have a system development life cycle in place because it helps transform an idea project into a functional and fully operational system. The SDLC, apart from covering the technical aspects of an information system’s development,also encompasses activities such as process and procedure development, change in management, user experience, policy development, impact, and conformity to security regulations.
Another important reason for leveraging a system development life cycle is to plan ahead of time and analyze the structured phases and goals of a specific software system project. Goal-oriented processes don’t follow a one-size-fits-all methodology; instead, they adapt and are responsive to user needs, which is why it is important to have a well-defined plan to determine costs and staffing decisions, provide goals and deliverables, measure performance, and apply validation points at each phase of the life cycle to improve quality.
Next, we are going to cover the main phases involved in the System Development Life Cycle to review what each one entails.
Why to use these tools for building your online site?
A developer can make a website from scratch using coding and programming. It will take time, but the end result is great. So, why use these tools?
These website building tools host your site on the internet.
It aids you in buying a domain name.
They are secure and have certificates to prove that. It helps to keep the payment getaway and customer details safe.
It monitors your site continuously so that it runs smoothly.
Now, you must be confused about choosing the right platform. Don’t, check with your team and find out the purpose of your online store. Once you are clear on that, the right platform will be easier to find.
2. Test the tool Before you start with the development process, test the tool to find out any discrepancies. For a successful online store, this step is crucial. To test the e-commerce development platform, all you have to do is sign-up for the free trial and start exploring.
Here some things to check in the test which will help you find the right tool:
How easy is it to customize the features or modify it?
Are the templates/theme provided suits your business? Also, check whether it’s easy to choose them or not.
How is thefeature and can you customize it to add sub-menus and all?
You can make a trial site and check out all these and other things that you require for your business.
3. Buy the right plan for your business Once you have finalized your e-commerce site development platforms and tested it. It’s time to choose a plan for starting the development process. All these tools come with many plans- free, paid version for individual and paid version for companies.
According to your need and size of the online store, you will have to choose the plan. A free plan of all these platforms supports minimum selling of products and runs up to 15 days.
If you want to build an e-commerce store, you need more features, and functionalities, which mean buying the full version. If you want a small online store, maybe you can develop it using the free version.
4. Register for a domain name A domain name is the part of URL that has the name of your business. It is crucial to have a good domain name as it builds trust and brand with your consumer. With the help Shopify, Wix and BigCommerce platform, you can buy a great domain name in around $10-$20 per year.
Here are some tricks and tips to select a correct domain name for your eCommerce solution:
: Picking a correct country code is crucial. If you plan to sell your product to only international clients, use a dot com (.com) domain. If selling to a specific county, then you can use their code. Like Amazon has both .com for US and international consumers and .in for selling just in India.
No brand name : Avoid using brand or product name in the URL as it can get you into legal troubles.
: The domain name should be unique, but not so weird that people find it hard to look on a search engine.
Integrate a keyword : In the domain name, add a term that resonates with your business. The keyword will help you to have a higher rank in search engines which will ultimately get you more traffic and sales.
If you already have a domain name, you can link it with your online store or cancel that agreement.
5. Pick template for your website Templates also known as themes make your site appealing. Most e-commerce platform lets you design and develop your own site too, but that requires coding. So, if you want to avoid that, use these templates.
Here are some tips for choosing the right template:
Features you want in your store : Features are the key to a good website. So, brainstorm and decide which feature is more important for your store. It can be mapped, about us page and so on. Make a list of features and use it narrow down the template.
: Homepage is the first thing consumers will notice about your e-commerce site. So, make sure that the chosen template does justice to it. Based on your business goals, decide what you want more videos, sliders, single image and so on.
: The potential customer will surf through the site for 10-20 seconds if the template’s navigation feature is weak; it means that they won’t find what they are looking for easily. It will amplify bounce rate of the website.of the website should be simple and helpful. A
Other than that, check out the font and color of the template. It should go with your brand image and should not be offensive.
6. Customizing the template After choosing the template, the e-commerce development tools allow the user to customize it. For customization, you will have to go to the store’s admin panel. You can modify anything according to your will.
Text Size, Color and Font
Color of the theme
Use of images
Product’s position and so on.
7. Time to add the products Once you have customized your template, it’s now time to add products to your website. There is a that will guide in adding your products. You must add these details to your product to make it more alluring consumers:
Name of the product and name of the brand (If outsourcing)
Price of the good
Weight for physical things
File (For eBooks and all)
All the platforms have a different policy when it comes to a number of products, product description and variation you can add.
A product description is crucial to get the attention of the consumer along with images and category.
Check out these pro tips for the description:
Don’t use a long sentence to describe the product. No one has that much time.
Don’t use cliques or technical jargon while describing a product.
The description should also be SEO optimized as it will help you rank higher and get more traffic and sales.
For product image:
The images used should be high in quality and must not be blurry.
The size of every image must be the same.
The photos of the product should be taken with a piece of good quality equipment.
The image should be visible from every angle, so a 360-degree option is necessary.
The image should have a zoom button.
The images used should be optimized so that they don’t slow down your website’s speed.
For product category:
Price range so that people pick products that they can afford.
Option to filter the product using price, size and so on.
8. Payment methods Online stores will be incomplete without payment gateway. It is a crucial step in converting a consumer into a buyer. E-commerce development tool makes integrating payment methods of all kinds into the site easy.
They connect the user directly to PayPal, Apple and Google Pay, Credit/Debit cards, Master or Visa Cards for paying. The option to pay on delivery is also available.
There are three popular payment options:
Merchant account and payment gateway : In this option, you partner up with a bank and they accept payment on your behalf. After this, they transfer the amount to your business account.
Payment gateway packages : In this option, software integrates all the option into one and processes your card payments.
Credit card payment : In this option, the payment method is integrated with the store’s cart which means you don’t have to leave the site to complete your payment.
Tips to apply the best payment method for your online store:
To find out which payment methods work for your site, keep these things in mind:
Figure out the estimated number of total sales
Customer details are also crucial. Find out, where the customer is from so that you can have a payment getaway preferred by everyone.
The payment method should also go with your store’s purpose and needs.
Customer worries most about security as they share their private details online. So, making the site secure should be your priority, and it’s also easy to do so.
The website building tools use SSL certificates to secure the website. Secure Socket Layer encrypts user data and optimizes user experience while online shopping secure.
SSL is inbuilt in the tool. If not, it will be available as an add-on.
What is a Product Life Cycle
Think back to your school biology lessons. You probably dimly remember something about life cycles. You might have learned how frogspawn becomes a tadpole, before then turning into a frog.
You’re not likely to have thought that the lesson would help you in an ecommerce career one day. Online shopping may not even have been a thing back then . The fact is, though, that life cycles – and more specifically – product life cycles are critical in retail.
How to Implement the Solution with DevSecOps
Build the store modules using Java and JDK. This includes Order Management, Shop Management , Customer management,Payment module, Customer service
Shift left in the continuous delivery. This is done by integrating security solutions to the modules, including adding WAF, anti-fraud, Server Guard, security testing, and CloudMonitor.
Enable the microservices architecture in the above 2 steps. This makes the portal scalable and brings agility and alignment to the business. With this solution, you can make changes to the code immediately for customers.
Integrate elastic computing in the cloud deployment using Server Load Balancer, Auto Scaling and Elastic Compute Service (ECS). We used containers as a part of DevOps lifecycle. Containers hold packaged pieces of software that contain all the components (the software, system libraries, and file system) needed to run the service. We used Auto Scaling to adjust to the demand of the customer spike during peak shopping season.
Also as a part of Development lifecycle, you can use Message Service to help with automation. Message Service is useful for typical large-scale, high-reliability, high-concurrency software code automation.
Integrate object storage and also the backend with APIs. You’ll also need databases to process massive volumes of images and transcoding capabilities for image processing, and handling audio and video content.
Merge CDN with the lifecycles to accelerate content delivery for end users.
Once you complete the 7 steps above, you’ll need to maintain the operations of the lifecycle with Cloud Monitor.