Software Maintainability and its Types

"The simplicity of changing a software system to fix bugs, enhance performance, or adapt to a new environment", is what Software maintenance is about.

Digital Delivery
6 min
Digital Delivery
Software Maintainability and its Types

The importance of maintainability in the tech industry cannot be overstated. The software industry has been undergoing rapid change, and the need for maintainable products has never been greater.

What does Maintainability really mean?

Before we dive into the maintainability definition, we need to take a moment to review what maintenance in software engineering means because they are related concepts.

The extent of understanding, maintaining, or improving a software application or a component is referred to as software maintainability.

The ease and competence of repairing, enhancing, and comprehending software code is what maintainability is all about. Following the delivery of the product to the customer, the software development cycle's maintenance phase begins.

Whereas, software maintenance refers to all actions taken to change, adapt, and update software in order to fulfill customer requirements.

These software maintenance interventions are performed after the product has been released in order to improve overall performance or to address bugs and other concerns.

According to Wikipedia, Maintainability in engineering encompasses the ease with which a product can be maintained to:

  • Eliminate flaws or their root causes,
  • Repair or replace worn-out or defective parts without replacing working ones, 
  • Avoid unexpected working conditions, 
  • Lengthen the useful life of a product, 
  • Increase its efficiency, reliability, and safety, 
  • Satisfy new specifications, 
  • Facilitate future maintenance, or adapt to changing environmental conditions.

Importance of Maintainability

The process of planning, designing, and developing a software product is not enough to ensure a product's success.

After the development stage, digital products face their biggest challenge. They are now made available for use by a wide range of platforms, devices, and consumers in big numbers, and in a variety of other scenarios.

The best testers are the community, that’s why you can never know what will occur. Being aware of continuous tech updates, and new features that are released for tech devices, we are never able to predict the future flaws of our products.

The need for change and the evolution of the products must be part of our future vision when designing and developing products. Always, products that can be easily extended and fixed are more likely to be adopted, used, and succeed when facing competitors. 

Several reasons that software products need to keep maintained:

  • Bug-fixing comprises finding errors in the program and correcting them to ensure appropriate operation.
  • Enhancing the software's capabilities to include desired new features
  • The replacement of undesired characteristics to boost adaptability and efficiency
  • Fixing security problems found in your or other people's code is referred to as a security issue, especially for open-source components.

Metrics used for monitoring maintainability include mean time to repair (MTTR) and maintenance cost per replacement asset value.

We need to know that software maintenance takes a huge amount of total project costs, around ⅓, therefore it is important to do it right and efficiently.

Types of Software Maintenance 

To fix flaws, implement improvements, enhance the design, adopt a new environment, etc., software maintenance is necessary. 

There are various types of software maintenance available today, including corrective maintenance, adaptive maintenance, preventive maintenance, and perfective maintenance. 

Corrective software maintenance

Correct software maintenance handles flaws and faults inside software applications that may have an impact on numerous aspects of your software, such as the design, logic, and code.

When something goes wrong with a piece of software, such as flaws and errors, corrective software maintenance is necessary.

These need to be fixed right away since they can have a significant effect on how the software performs generally. This kind of software maintenance addresses all potential fixes that may be offered.

Corrective maintenance, when done properly, can assist in identifying and fixing bugs and errors in software, helping brands to uphold their reputation.

Adaptive software maintenance

Adaptive software maintenance takes into account both the evolving technology and the laws and regulations that apply to your software. 

These consist of hardware upgrades, cloud storage, operating system modifications, etc. Your software needs to adapt when these modifications are made in order to function effectively and continue meeting new requirements.

Preventive maintenance

The goal of preventative software maintenance is to plan ahead so that your program can continue to function as intended for as long as feasible.

This includes implementing any necessary upgrades, modifications, and other adjustments. Preventative software maintenance may address minor flaws that may not seem important at the moment but could grow into bigger difficulties later. 

These are referred too as latent faults, which must be found and fixed in order to prevent them from becoming effective faults.

Perfective maintenance

New problems and suggestions develop when the software is made available to the general public, just like with any other product on the market. In order to make the product the ideal tool for their purposes, users could identify the need for new features or specifications. Perfective software maintenance is used in this situation.

Perfective software maintenance seeks to modify software by deleting aspects that are unnecessary or ineffective for the software at hand and adding new features as needed. Software remains relevant via this process as the market and user needs evolve.

Key takeaways

It's a good idea to try to create a software maintainability checklist so you can see where you stand. 

You can do this by trying to provide answers to questions such as:

  • Can I determine the code that is linked to a specific issue or change?
  • Can you explain the code to me? Can I provide someone else with the justification for it?
  • Is it simple to modify the code? Is it simple for me to identify what needs to change as a result? 
  • Can I modify something with only a small chance of breaking already-existing features, and confirm that easily that modification?
  • Is it quick and simple to identify and fix the issue if I do break something?

Depending on the type of maintenance and the software maintenance strategy in place, the software maintenance process involves a variety of software maintenance procedures.

Published on
October 10, 2022

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