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Rapid Application Development
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RAD Methodology: The Rapid Development of Applications

By Duco Zitman | October 19, 2020

RAD or Rapid Application Development, is a streamlined model for developing applications. Namely, we are talking about the process of software development. This method encompasses interactive development, the creation of prototypes , and the use of CASE (Computer Aided Software Engineering) tools. Additionally, RAD usually encompasses the usability, utility, and speed of launch as well. What more do you want? Here you’ll find everything about RAD: the definition, the pros and cons, and the phases in a RAD process.

Definition of Rapid Application Development (RAD)

Delving into what RAD is, we must ascertain what its main premises are: people, tools, methodology, and management. The first person that spoke of RAD was James Martin in the late 80s. He believed that to apply Rapid Application Development correctly, you must consider those four elements. The main idea is to deliver high-quality systems in a short amount of time and with a low cost of investment. To achieve this, certain phases should be followed to have a Rapid Application Development process. Meanwhile, RAD has grown to be one of the most popular methods within the techniques of fast development.

What is the purpose of RAD?

At the moment, businesses invest a big part of their resources in developing applications that allow them to work more efficiently. With the emergence of the models of Rapid Application Development, you can create software quickly and inexpensively to satisfy the business requirements without a significant investment of time or money.

Pros and cons of Rapid Application Development

When adopting the RAD methodology, you should consider a good handful of advantages and disadvantages. After all, you are not going to apply a method without clarifying why RAD is effective? So the pros and cons are essential. We listed them for you.

Advantages of RAD

  • Measurable progress. With several iterations, components and prototypes rolled out every once in a while, the development of the project can be measured and evaluated with ease, and by doing that, complying with the established budgets.
  • Faster results. RAD enables developers to adopt multidisciplinary roles allowing quick creation of prototypes and codes of work, which means they are up and running faster.
  • Separation of the system's components. With RAD, you develop independent components that you can use multiple times. Each element can be split into compartments and modified according to evolving needs.
  • Constant feedback. Prototypes and interactions are launched quickly, which allows users to give frequent feedback.
  • Early integration of the systems. Software developed with RAD can be integrated with other systems from the start. With these early integrations, errors are identified quickly, and developers can think of new solutions early on in the process. Talking about efficiency.
  • Adaptability. Thanks to fast development, the software is quite malleable, which helps to carry out any possible adaption of the prototypes or iterations.

Disadvantages of RAD

Just like any other method of software development, the RAD method has some disadvantages that should be considered when deciding to work with it.

  • Demands interactivity from the user. Obtaining user feedback in an early stage is very useful, but you do need the willingness to accept constructive feedback.
  • Requires senior developers. Applying the RAD methodology is not as easy as it seems, therefore the team will need skilled developers that are able to apply and adapt to any requirements or changes.

Phases within a process with RAD

To implement the model of Rapid Application Development, a specific methodology should be followed that includes the following cyclical phases.

1. Planning of requirements

In this initial phase, the foundations should be laid according to the requirements of the project, including the requirements of the application as well as the scope of the project. With these frameworks you can start creating prototypes.

2. Design and feedback with the user

The users will add comments that will be decisive when it comes to designing the architecture of the system. The first models and prototypes will be built with user feedback. This step can be repeated as many times as is considered necessary as the project progresses.

3. Building

Now that we have the basic design, we need to carry out the bulk of the project: coding, tests, and the integration of the application. Just as in the prior phase, this can be repeated as many times as considered necessary (dependent on any new components or modifications in the project).

4. Transition

The final phase, also known as ‘cutover’, allows the development team to pass the components through a real-time production environment to carry out all the necessary tests.

Opportunities with RAD

Hopefully, now you have all the ins & outs of RAD listed. Currently, there are tools that apply the RAD method. One of them is Mendix. We happen to know everything about Mendix. Curious about the possibilities of RAD for your company? We are happy to help you.

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Duco Zitman

Duco, Sales Director

Want to know more? Get in contact with Duco.

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