What is an artifact in software development?

by Illia M. on Apr 13, 2022

The term “artifact” is frequently used about previous events involving man’s innovations. So in essence, artifacts are things left from the bygone civilization, more of an insight into how things operated in the years-long gone.

Software artifacts are similar to historical artifacts in many ways. It’s a tangible by-product of software development, and it’s rightly called an artifact since it’s something made by individuals who took part in the process of passing on the knowledge of how it was done. This article explains what software artifacts are and why they’re utilized by developers.

What are artifacts in software development?

A physical result of the software development process is called an artifact. Artifacts such as use cases, class diagrams, and other Unified Modeling Language (UML) models, as well as requirements and design papers, help in understanding the software’s purpose, architecture, and design. Project plans, business cases, and risk assessments are examples of other development-related artifacts.

Software artifacts are developed as part of the product development process and might refer to specific approaches or procedures used. A software build, for example, involves both the developer’s code and a variety of other artifacts. Some of these artifacts provide information about how the software works, while others enable it to execute. Dependencies, project source code, a resource list, and other artifacts might all be included in the code. These artifacts are kept in a repository where they can be categorised and located quickly.

Why are artifacts important?

After they’ve been produced, artifacts are critical over the course of the software development lifecycle. Software artifacts help to make the process of creating software easier with time. If an artifact that defines the architecture, design, and function of the software is missing or incomplete, developers may be left in the dark when anything goes wrong. Developers may access important artifacts at any time from a single location by storing them in a repository. 

Control sequences and database queries are examples of artifacts that determine a software product’s behavior and features. Developers can grasp how the software works without having to examine the complexity in the code underlying it thanks to artifacts. This is particularly beneficial for freshly onboarded developers since the artifacts assist them in understanding prior developers’ thought processes.

Being able to look at artifacts that immediately explain how the software works, aids in the software’s operation, maintenance, and update.

Types of software artifacts

Project management artifacts

After the code has been written, these artifacts are created. They are used to evaluate the functionality of the software and identify faults or problems. Typically, software engineers, software maintenance workers, and software project managers, for instance, build project management artifacts keeping the end-user in mind.

Code artifacts

As they provide the backbone of a program, code artifacts are undoubtedly the most requested by-products in the software development process. Developers and site reliability engineers generate code artifacts to allow them to extensively test their work before it is deployed. This is the greatest method to avoid problems in the future.

Documentation artifacts

Documentation artifacts, which are created by software developers, maintenance workers, or software project managers, become increasingly vital as programming continues. To put it simply, a documentation artifact keeps track of all the papers required to duplicate the result without having to produce new ones. 

This involves the end-user agreement, which specifies the artifact’s usage terms and conditions — in other words, it defines how to use the artifact rather than the software program.

The benefits of software artifacts

When software artifacts are kept in a usable state, many benefits arise for development teams and beyond. They are used to communicate the program’s objectives, performance expectations, and product feature information, among other things. These may be evaluated by both the team and the customer to ensure that everyone is on the same page.


Software artifacts are the foundation of software development since they give a blueprint for a program from beginning to end. It would be difficult to determine which tools are required to develop a complete working software without artifacts. This roadmap or template also enables teams to track the development process over time and determine whether procedures need to be altered to achieve specific expectations, goals, and deadlines.

Time efficiency

Software artifacts help you save time and money. After all, no one wants to create software that will be obsolete by the time it is ready to go live. This is why software artifacts should be at the heart of the development process: they give direction and structure, as well as assist developers in reducing their workload by allowing them to skip certain phases and procedures. They also enable them to avoid typical blunders and effectively deal with identified bottlenecks.


Maintainability is referred to as the simplicity with which a program may be kept in check. It’s the capacity to fix mistakes that occur as a result of use. In computer parlance, these flaws are referred to as bugs. It also entails resolving issues that arise during use and may lead to the termination or replacement of software. Maintainability refers to a software program’s ability to boost its efficiency and extend its useful life without causing severe difficulties. All of these issues are addressed by the procedures involved in producing software artifacts, making it simple to patch defects and improve the overall quality of one’s user experience.

Insisting ownership

One thing that all creatives and developers have in common is the need to sign their work. Most software producers want their insignia to appear on their products as a sign of private ownership. This symbol serves as a signature, demonstrating each developer’s individuality and making their work identifiable. Developers may add a stamp of identification to their work, thanks to the usage of artifacts. If you haven’t factored it in when creating your software artifacts, signing a program or piece of software may be problematic.

Development of prototypes

Clients frequently want to view a prototype before a program is fully produced and released, so they can see how the final product will appear and what the user will experience. In essence, this prototype is a genuine artifact that will aid developers in translating a product’s concept into working software. It’s also far easier to make changes to a prototype than it is to a final software product.


Software engineers are increasingly valuing artifacts, especially as artificial intelligence (AI) transforms the world, including the IT industry. Software artifacts provide rich insights that AI may utilize to improve software programs further. Furthermore, software artifacts give essential information to anyone who picks up the software for subsequent development. 

For instance, if a fresh developer is in charge of a software upgrade, the job will be simple for them to do. A developer may swiftly lookup software assets to assess how the development process is going and plan their next steps accordingly. The software artifact acts as a data library for the fresh developer, who may review the schematics to identify what has to be altered.

After you’ve finished building your program, you’ll need to discover alternate backups to preserve your software artifact for adequate documentation and to keep your work going if the necessity arises later.


Artifacts are the building blocks of every software project. They are also the road map that leads to the production of the majority of modern programs used by corporations and individuals. As a result, software artifacts have become essential in software development. 

Software artifacts are used by developers to generate a program template and prototype, improve the template design, record the development process, get insights, and set themselves apart from other developers.

To stay relevant in the field of software development, you’ll need the correct understanding of how to produce and manage software artifacts as a software engineer.


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Written by


Illia M., Writer in QArea

Ilya is an experienced analyst and a passionate writer. Driven by his longing for new information, he provides exceptional takes on the newest technologies presented in the Information Technologies sphere, he also enjoys history, music and bodybuilding.