The word artifact is commonly used in connection with past histories that involve man’s inventions. So, for instance, you have gold artifacts, arts as artifacts, and so on. These artifacts help shed light on the civilizations that made such objects.
Archaeologists unearth these items, study them, and try to trace the science behind the objects to understand how people lived during that period.
Software artifacts are not so different from historical artifacts. It is the material by-product of software development, and it is rightfully an artifact since they are things produced by people involved in a process. Read on to find out more about software artifacts and why developers use them.
What is a software artifact?
A software artifact is everything involved in the development of a program. It shows the things generated in the development process, which may include mock-ups, design documents, test matrices, prototypes, notes, data models and diagrams, etc. It practically covers the whole tangible by-products produced during the span of the project.
This means that software developers should be able to analyze and know the tools used in creating such software by looking at the artifacts. In other words, artifacts are like a map that you can use to trace the developmental process of any software.
Software artifacts are the foundation on which most computer programs, websites, and applications are developed. For more exposition on what a software artifact is, check Artifacts.ai.
When an Artifact is created as a complex data or an end-user’s application, it is usually done without the need for a programming language. This is because the artifact is automatically created with control sequences and automated behaviors following grammar rules, databased requests, and other user-generated requests.
Due to their programmed specificities, software artifacts come in various types and perform different functions. Some of the most common ones are highlighted below.
Types and functions of software artifacts
Based on program specificity, there are three main groups of software artifacts. They are project management artifacts, code related artifacts, and documentation artifacts.
1. Project management artifacts
These kinds of artifacts are created to function after the codes are developed. They are used to test run the functionality of the codes by performing random checks for bugs and glitches in the software’s operation.
The project management aspects put the end-user in mind and test-runs the software to see the problems the end-user might experience during use.
This makes a project management software artifact a much-needed tool for software development. It helps software developers get feedback on programming and what needs fixing.
It is also why you still need a project management artifact no matter how experienced you are in software development to help you fine-tune your program for quality user experience.
There are two ways to make project management artifacts. One is by following what is called the story approach. The “story approach” explains what needs to be done in technical terms, focusing specifically on the goals of the program and how to achieve them.
The other way is to set a benchmark showing the minimum required standards for the program. Here, the client usually sets the criteria for the artifact developmental team.
2. Code artifacts
In program development, each program is developed using codes that serve as the foundation for the software. This makes code artifacts a necessity for every software developer.
The code artifact is the foundation on which other programs are built on. With a code artifact, a software programmer can test the program in detail and perfect things before launching the software. The program can easily pass the testing phase for a project management artifact without any problems if errors are corrected at the level of the coding.
Popular code artifacts include the setup scripts that ascertain the compatibility of each developed program with a specific machine and the test suites used to test run each stage of the program execution. Both code artifacts are there to ensure that there won’t be any glitches at any stage.
3. Documentation artifacts
A documentation artifact comes into play at the end of programming. It is an artifact that keeps a record of all the relevant documents. Documentation artifacts are important because they allow for the replication of the outcome of effort without the need to repeat the process of creating artifacts.
Documentation artifacts include the end-user agreement, which is any document that contains the terms and conditions for which the user can use the artifact. These terms are not a condition set for the user. Instead, they are written to make the user understand how to use the artifact.
Another example of a documentation artifact are the internal documents written to help other developers who want to access the artifacts to fix bugs and upgrade the program. These documents also talk about how to manage the program by showing the results of previous test runs.
Also crucial in documentation artifacts are diagrams. These diagrams give visual images to written codes to create a connection between the developer and the program.
All types of artifacts mentioned here have their specific functions, and they are used by software developers to create user-friendly programs with little to no glitches.
Reasons why developers use software artifacts
1. Create a roadmap or template to develop a program
It is almost impossible for any developer to work on any program without using software artifacts. This is because artifacts serve as the backbone of every program. It is literally the whole process of software development.
Artifacts help developers create a roadmap for a program from start to finish. It also advises developers on the necessary tools they need to make the application functional.
As a programmer, you need to be able to identify all the things you need and create artifacts that can perfectly handle each need and allow for a smooth process. The artifacts you create will now serve as the template upon which to build the program.
Gone were the days when software development was an utterly stressful and challenging job. Today, you don’t have to go through the rigors of starting your programming from scratch when creating new programs or software.
Artifacts are helpful in this sense because they remove the stress, as well as make program development fun. Software artifacts combined with AI are making software development easier for coders and companies.
Once you have your artifact in place, you can develop your program without breaking a sweat. This is why most developers leverage software artifacts to reduce the workload involved in software development.
3. Flexibility in program development
Flexibility in programming means the ease of use of a program that allows for hassle-free maneuverability. Maneuverability is the ability to navigate the intricacies of each aspect of the codes needed to develop software programming.
The average developer needs to be able to maneuver their way around bottlenecks involved in software development. Software artifacts provide this flexibility because all the necessary codes to develop the software are already written and documented within the program.
4. Saves time
Let’s face it: time is of the essence when developing a program. You don’t want to create a program that will become obsolete by the time you are finally done.
This is why you need to leverage on artifacts, which should come ahead of developing the program. With well-developed software artifacts in place, you will be able to save a lot of time in your developmental processes.
Besides, leveraging on created software artifacts also helps reduce the workload, thereby fast-tracking the whole process.
5. Promotes easy upgrades and continuity
There is no permanent software; every program requires a constant update for continuity, lest they become redundant. The average software usually lasts for about 3 to 5 years, after which an update is necessary to continue functioning.
The need to continually do software updates can become a significant source of work overload if the developer has to begin the developmental process all over again. However, using artifacts allow developers to have a stored template to fall back on when they need to update or upgrade their programs.
The software artifact provides a template to build on to allow continuity instead of starting from scratch or terminating the software.
Maintainability is a term used to describe the ease of keeping a program in check. It is the ability to correct errors that arise as a result of use. These errors in computer terms are called bugs.
It also involves solving problems arising from use that can result in the termination or replacement of a program. Maintainability means to increase the efficiency of a software program and prolong the duration of use without any significant problems.
The processes involved in creating software artifacts addresses all these problems, making it easy to fix bugs and increase the overall quality of one’s user experience.
7. Signature or uniqueness
One thing common among creatives and developers is the need to leave their signature on their products. Most software developers want to include their symbol on their programs, which show some sort of proprietary ownership.
This symbol acts as a signature that shows the uniqueness of each developer and makes their work easily recognizable. Developers can put a stamp of identity on their software because they use software artifacts.
Putting your signature on a program or software may otherwise be difficult if you haven’t factored it in when making your software artifacts.
8. To develop program prototypes
When a developer is given the responsibility of developing a program or software, it is expected that they will come up with a prototype that shows the client what the final program will look like or how the user experience will feel.
This prototype that the client will see is, in essence, an artifact. The artifact may contain the entire software as it will be when fully developed or just the crucial segments of the software for preview.
The artifact will also help the developer create a mental idea of what to do and how to build a bridge between the client and the developer.
In business terms, the artifacts used as a prototype serves as a proposal presentation to clients in need of a developer’s service. If the client should have corrections at the level of a prototype, the developer can quickly rectify it than when the whole development stage is completed, and the product is ready.
9. It provides knowledge of developmental processes
Artifacts are becoming increasingly important to software developers, especially now that AI is changing the world, including the tech environment. Software artifacts give deep insights that AI can use to make further improvements in software programs.
Besides, software artifacts provide the necessary insight to anyone who takes up the software for further work.
For instance, if a new developer shoulders the responsibility of a software upgrade, they won’t find it challenging to perform the task. Such a developer can easily look up the software artifacts to see the developmental process and plan their course of action appropriately.
The software artifact is a sort of information bank for the new developer, and they can check the schematics to see areas that need upgrades.
Software artifacts store their information in what is called “artifact respiratory.” The storage system has three types, which include:
- The Local Respiratory: This is usually an in-house storage facility kept in the software or on a specified server that is easily accessible.
- The Remote Respiratory: The remote respiratory is generally done using a third-party server. It involves using a remote URL address from where you can access stored artifacts. Most remote URL does not allow the addition of new artifacts for already existing software.
- The Virtual Respiratory: The last of the storage system, and it combines both the local and remote respiratory qualities. It is designed to accommodate both the remote URL artifact and the local artifacts in the same target respiratory, which makes it the best respiratory to use when storing your software artifacts.
After developing your software, it is essential to find alternative backups where you can store your software artifact for proper documentation and to facilitate continuity of your work when the need arises later.
Artifacts are the backbone of any software development. They are also the roadmap that leads to the creation of most programs that businesses and people use today. This has made software artifacts indispensable in software development.
Developers depend on software artifacts to create a template and prototype for a program, improve the template design, document the development process, gain insights, and differentiate their work from other developers.
As a software developer, you will need accurate knowledge of how to create and manage software artifacts to be able to stay relevant in the field of software development.