In the past, there used to be significant differences between individual coding languages, enough so that programmers could have lively discussions about the reasons why their preferred language was superior to all others.
These days, though, the differences between coding languages are far less pronounced, and the debate among programmers is focused more intensely on frameworks rather than the specific nuances of particular languages.
Working with a software framework is a lot like building a house. All houses require basic elements: A floor, walls, ceiling, windows, doors, electrical and plumbing systems, etc. While most structures contain these basic elements, it’s the specific details that make every one unique, from the number and shape of the windows down to the interior details like light switches and door knobs.
A software framework provides the basic foundation of the house — the walls and ceiling — while the coders then add the details. In other words, using a framework is a lot like building a modular house and allowing the homeowners to put their own touches on it to meet their individual needs.
While some programmers might balk at using an “out of the box” solution to develop their programs, most see frameworks as a useful starting point. In fact, a framework takes a great deal of the guesswork out of the beginning a project, which is just one of the reasons you should consider using one.
The Benefits of Using a Framework
Using a framework to develop your project helps you get off the ground from the start because you can use pre-written code for the standard functions. In a sense, it keeps you from reinventing the wheel, because the most common functions and foundations are already taken care of, so you don’t have to spend time writing them yourself. Usually, this is done via an easy-to-use graphic interface, which saves a great deal of time in and of itself.
However, when you use a well-developed framework, it will also automatically add any additional coding modules that are required to work with the selection you have made. In other words, if you want to put windows into your house, you need walls; a software framework makes sure that you have the walls you need for your windows so that they have a place to go.
A high-level framework, like the Harmony software framework, also offers options beyond the default within modules and allows for efficient customization. In the end, by giving you the basic code structure for your application you can reduce and simplify the amount of code you have to write.
Using a framework offers a few other advantages as well.
- Shorter time to market. Because the developers aren’t spending time writing code for basic functions, they can spend time on the additional code, and get devices developed sooner.
- Less resource usage. When you use a framework, the framework’s code is optimized for that specific device, therefore requiring less code than if the developer created those functions from scratch. In fact, when most developers write code from scratch, they don’t always optimize the code for every individual device, since the time and resources required to do so could push the project off track. Therefore, devices that aren’t developed using a framework may use more resources than necessary.
- Better code interoperability. Code developed within frameworks tends to be more flexible in terms of the devices where it can be used.
- Improved coding. When used within integrated development environments, frameworks help improve the accuracy of the code and identify potential errors.
- Easier updating. Products generally need to be updated for better performance or other reasons. Frameworks make it easier to update the software or hardware from one device to another, as you can simply move the code from one device to another as long as they are using chips from the same manufacturer.
There are plenty of benefits to using a software framework when developing your device, but the ease of use and faster time to market are perhaps the most compelling.
When time is of the essence, and you do not want to use resources to create code that’s already been developed multiple times over, a framework can help your project get off the ground faster and work more efficiently.