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(1) Acronym for synchronous data link control, a communications protocol used in IBM's SNA networks. SDLC is similar to HDLC, an ISO standard.

(2) Acronym for system development life cycle. SDLC is the process of developing information systems through investigation, analysis, design, implementation and maintenance. SDLC is also known as information systems development or application development. SDLC is a systems approach to problem solving and is made up of several phases, each comprised of multiple steps:

  • The software concept - identifies and defines a need for the new system
  • A requirements analysis - analyzes the information needs of the end users
  • The architectural design - creates a blueprint for the design with the necessary specifications for the hardware, software, people and data resources
  • Coding and debugging - creates and programs the final system
  • System testing - evaluates the system's actual functionality in relation to expected or intended functionality.

(3) Acronym for software development life cycle (SDLC) and also synonymous with software process as well as software engineering, it is a structured methodology used in the development of software products and packages. This methodology is used from the conception phase through to the delivery and end of life of a final software product. See under software engineering.

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