The Role of Document Comparison in Software Development

July 14, 2023 Web development

Software development takes place in cycles rather than being one continuous process. For a single process to finish, you must deal with many different versions entering countless changes into a single document. It gets even more complex since these changes don’t come from a single party, person, or device. This is why you need a document comparison tool to keep it all in check. Here’s a more specific explanation of the role of document comparison in software development.

1. Code review

Reviewing your code will ensure it meets your coding standards and help you spot potential bugs.

The first thing you must do here is pick the right tool. So, review the list and find something that fulfills all the standards and pre-set requirements. Generally speaking, a platform like Draftable Compare or a suitable alternative would be more than up to the task.

You’ll need both the original code and the modified version regarding the procedure. Then, you’ll have all the differences highlighted, and you’ll be able to review the differences.

Next, you want to provide feedback and get a report of the changes. While, in an ideal world, people would make notes of changes while making them, this won’t always be the case. Fortunately, you have a comparison software to help you out.

2. Version control

Modern software development happens through the agile methodology. This means the development process happens in cycles rather than continuous runs.

The way this works in practice is that you develop the first serviceable version of the process, get people to test it or use it as an early alpha, then gather feedback and improve/upgrade it.

However, you must keep track of all these changes. This affects the code review we’ve previously discussed and plays a huge part in your roadmapping. Then again, not all changes will be good/positive, and you may need to restore the file to a previous version (in some regards).

Then, some conflicts can arise from unrestricted changes. With the help of advanced version control (handled through accurate document comparison software), you’ll easily get to the bottom of things. Once you have facts, conflict resolution becomes a simple diplomatic matter.

3. Testing and quality control

Testing and quality control are huge aspects of software development, and there are a few ways in which they can be improved through document comparison.

  • Requirements traceability: All you need to do is compare requirement documents with design documents or code. This way, it’s easier to spot gaps or deviations.
  • Change impact analysis: We previously mentioned that not all changes are positive. Even those that are positive are not making as big of a difference.
  • Peer reviews and collaboration: Catching errors and oversights from a document multiple parties are working on is easier with a document comparison tool.

In the end, quality control ensures that your end product is up to the standards of your business. It’s equally important for software development and web design, so you have no clue how consistent your ideas are without testing.

4. Reviewing and collaboration

The point of collaboration is to ensure that the work is done more quickly by having people work on different parts of the project simultaneously. For this to work, everyone has to be on the same page. As we’ve mentioned several times before, the product is constantly evolving, and just keeping up with all the changes would take too much time (which would defeat the point).

With the help of a document comparison tool, you can get a visual representation of changes. This means that people collaborating on the project don’t have to go through the entirety of the document to be updated on the changes.

Aside from this, document comparison tools also have integrated commenting and annotation features. This makes in-text communication a lot easier.

Finally, through the help of the collaborative review feature, more than one party can review the document or code at the same time without confusion.

5. Regulatory compliance

Laws are constantly evolving, and it’s hard to keep track of all these regulations. At the same time, it’s mandatory for anyone who wants to produce and sell software.

Also, from the legal standpoint, you may sometimes find yourself in a situation where you have to prove that, although the previous version of your product is not compliant with current regulations, it was so at a time. You would be surprised to learn how often these moments happen.

This is why conducting an occasional version control audit is important to show that your product is evolving to meet the evolving regulation.

You may also want to analyze these regulatory changes to understand what lies ahead. Naturally, this, once again, involves the change impact analysis.

While this is far from an exact science, just getting a general idea can sometimes make a difference.

6. Localization and internationalization

Making your software available in multiple languages can drastically increase your market. In some regions, it’s required by the law for the product to have disclaimers and translations in the local language.

While this was a massive problem in the past, with the help of modern machine translation, creating a multilingual WordPress site is no longer as big a problem as it once was.

Since this project is sensitive, you want to conduct regular comparison checks. The best way is to check translation consistency across different versions. Here, you’ll have a fairly easy job of spotting any irregularities.

Another important aspect of localization checks is the verification of UI changes. These elements often get messed up during the localization, and a direct comparison is the simplest way to check this.

The developers often overlook the process of localization quality assurance. The result of this can be a delivery of a far inferior version to some users, which ruins the integrity of the brand and the overall quality of your product. Don’t allow this to happen.

Wrap up

In the end, document and version comparison is mandatory, with or without the tool. With the digital assistance of a document comparison tool, you get a better visual representation and a more transparent review. It’s really that simple.

About the author:

Nebojsa Jankovic is a seasoned professional in the SEO and link-building industry with significant expertise and a history of leading successful teams. With a keen focus on client satisfaction, our team at Heroic Rankings has built a reputation for hard work, high standards, and consistent results.