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What are the Different Types of Software Design Tools?

Patrick Wensink
Updated May 16, 2024
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Designing a piece of computer software can be done in as many ways as there are computer programs. Software design tools come in a variety of uses and complexity levels, ranging from novice home designers to programs that require a college level education to operate. Some of the most widely used programs include C++, Java and Python.

Software design tools all have the same goal of creating a digital program that operates on a computer. Whether the program is automated or semi-automated is partially a product of the designer but also a result of the software used to build the software. Each tool, no matter if it is designing a video game, accounting software or data management system, uses its own language to achieve these goals, but it ultimately breaks down every command into a binary code that computers can understand.

C++ is one of the most popular software design tools for developers. This is considered a general purpose design program because it is statically typed and uses free form. It is used in the creation of everything from video games to application software to high performance server applications and much more. This design tool can be learned by tutorials and practice but is also frequently taught in software development courses at colleges.

Another one of the commonly utilized software design tools is Java. Java shares a lot of similarities to C++, but its object-oriented features are modeled after Smalltalk and Objective instead. It also is used in desktop software ranging from video games and application software, and it also is a popular choice for mobile phone software. Its ability to create complex programs that take up small amounts of space helps it easily integrate onto a phone's limited capacity.

Python is another popular software design tool. It usually is utilized by designers with a great deal of C++ and Java experience who are looking for a way to create more complex work. One interesting thing about Python is that, unlike many other software companies, it is run by a nonprofit organization and can be downloaded for free.

These are three of the most popular formats of software design tools, but they are not the only options available. Programs such as Perl, Redhat, WebSphere, .NET and many others all offer different ways to create software from scratch. No matter what the program, each aims to provide a way to create a program to be used by customers.

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Patrick Wensink
By Patrick Wensink
Patrick Wensink, a bestselling novelist and nonfiction writer, captivates readers with his engaging style across various genres and platforms. His work has been featured in major publications, including attention from The New Yorker. With a background in communication management, Wensink brings a unique perspective to his writing, crafting compelling narratives that resonate with audiences.
Discussion Comments
By hamje32 — On Jul 04, 2011

@David09 - I think it should be pointed out that a software designer, however, is not necessarily a tool with a software design interface. In other words, not every compiler supports building forms with drag and drop functionality like you said.

Sometimes you have to create the form in pure code; at other times you have a visual tool that you can use. The phrase software design does not imply you’re using a graphical user interface as I see it; it just means that you’re designing software, and this is first and foremost a conceptual process not a visual one.

The GNU C++ compiler is just a console based compiler, like a DOS utility, for example. I do agree, however, that most programmers nowadays are using the visual tools.

By miriam98 — On Jul 03, 2011

If you’re looking to save money on software design tools open source may be the way to go. The open source communities provide a lot of compilers like the GNU C++ compiler as well as the Watcom C compiler, in addition to development environments for C#.

You can even find reporting designers for common development environments if you can’t shell out the cash for a commercial product like Crystal Reports.

Even Microsoft has embraced the open source philosophy. While their products are not open source they have released free, scaled down versions of their popular compilers for the .NET platform. I use these compilers myself at home and they work just as well as their full blown, commercial counterparts.

By David09 — On Jul 02, 2011

We’ve worked with Borland C++, but now are migrating to .NET. We do custom software design for clients in the electrical utilities industry, and one of the requirements we have is the ability to turn around software quickly.

Both Borland and .NET have this capability. Actually nowadays there are many software design tools that will give you this capability. They have drag-and-drop functionality that makes it possible to build Windows forms applications with buttons, text boxes, menu items and a whole host of other controls in a fraction of the time it used to take twenty years ago.

We are in the age of Rapid Application Development and I believe that the visual software designer is a major reason we have been able to take this leapfrog in technology.

Patrick Wensink
Patrick Wensink
Patrick Wensink, a bestselling novelist and nonfiction writer, captivates readers with his engaging style across various...
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