Environments in System Development Life Cycle

Instructor: Elizabeth Wamicha

Elizabeth teaches undergraduate courses in Business and Information Technology for the last 7 years. She is currently on course to completing a Doctorate in Information Systems

This lesson examines the various environments that are found within the Systems Development Life Cycle - SDLC. These environments are largely aligned to the various phases that make up the SDLC.

The Systems Development Life Cycle or SDLC

The Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a software engineering framework that is used to describe the various phases used to develop an information system. These phases include planning, analysis, design, development, testing and implementation. SDLC environments describe the activities and tools required to perform a particular process within the SDLC. They are also defined as controlled points where software engineers can carry out activities related to development, testing, installation, and configuration. These environments are associated with the different phases that make up the SDLC. The main SDLC environments include:

  • The Analysis and Design Environment
  • The Development Environment
  • The Common Build Environment
  • The Testing Environment: This has two components:
    • The Systems Integration Testing Environment
    • The User Acceptance Testing Environment
  • The Production Environment

The Analysis and Design Environment

This environment is aligned to the planning and analysis phases of the SDLC. In this environment, the main processes that take place include carrying out an in-depth examination of the current system and the proposed system. The system architecture is also defined and includes developing the design of the hardware, software, and network requirements for the system. Within this environment, systems and business analysts work closely with software engineers.

The Development Environment

This environment is aligned to the development phase of the SDLC. This is where processes related to software development are carried out. The development environment contains a set of different processes and tools for programming. These are used to develop the final software. The development environment can also be a physical space where development takes place and where software engineers interact. Another example of the development environment is the Integrated Development Environment or IDE. The IDE provides a platform where tools and development processes are coordinated in order to provide software engineers a convenient way of accessing the resources they require during the development process.

The Common Build Environment

This environment is closely aligned to the development phase of the SDLC. In this environment, software engineers merge the work done in the development environment. Within this environment, software engineers build systems. These are used to automate the process of software compilation.

Testing Environment

This environment is closely aligned to the testing phase of the SDLC. The testing environment comprises the following components, the System Integration Testing Environment and the User Acceptance Testing Environment. The System Integration Testing Environment includes the testing of the entire system being developed. This includes a complete test of the modules making up the software. This environment controls processes involved in assembling parts of the system in a manner that is cost-effective and logical and then comprehensively checking the manner in which the system executes. It involves testing all functionalities of the system.

The User Acceptance Testing Environment encompasses all processes where actual users of the software test it in order to verify that its functionalities meet the specified requirements. The users test the system in order to ensure that it can handle all the tasks required in a real life environment. The overall goal of user acceptance testing, therefore, is to ensure that users are comfortable that the system will be able to support the day to day processes and that all user scenarios have been covered and their results have been satisfactory.

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