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Explain that “Software is developed or engineered, not manufactured”.


It is often said that Software is engineered or developed but not manufactured. Some similarities exists between software development and hardware manufacturing. But these two activities are fundamentally different. Software is a design of strategies, instructions. These instructions finally perform the targeted tasks. And a design can only be developed, not manufactured. On the other hand, design is just a material of hardware.


Before we get into the debate, lets see what development means

the process in which someone or something grows or changes and becomes more advanced

Online Cambridge Dictionary

Now let us see what manufacture means

to produce goods in large numbers, usually in a factory using machines

Online Cambridge Dictionary

From these two quotes, let us see our findings. Development of something involves planning, designing and making the first piece of that thing. It also includes future work on that thing to advance to next version of that thing. On the other hand, manufacturing is the step that comes after development. In manufacturing, we replicate the developed thing in mass and create copies.

Discussion with example

In manufacturing we do not design or plan again. We just keep replicating the last tested, approved version of the item. For example, a hardware, such as a printer. First it goes through development phase. Engineers will develop and bring all the different parts together to build the printer. Then they will test and upon approval will release the product. Then the manufacturing phase starts. In manufacturing, the product is built in mass number. However, before releasing a product from manufacturing phase, each item will be tested again. This step is required so that no faulty item gets into the market.

To develop software, engineers or developers go through various software development steps in different software development models. Then the finally tested and approved software comes out. Unlike hardware, a software doesn’t have involvement of machineries. One just simply copy & paste the code to replicate it. As the software is virtual, it doesn’t required physical interaction.


In conclusion, we can say that, in case of hardware manufacturing, development is a part. But in case of software, manufacturing doesn’t exists. A software is only developed.

Read More: Differences between computer hardware and software.

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