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12 Dec 2019
Jermaine Trotman

What is Rapid Application Development and When Should You Use It?

If your building is a skyscraper, you can't change the design in between. In order to do this, you have to follow the path from beginning to end. But in the case of developing software, this isn't the same. Software is adaptable to changes, so you can easily change the design or alter the functionalities of the software without affecting the final product.

So if you want your software to be efficient from development to launch then you must use good development models. Rapid Application Development(RAD) is used for this purpose- to develop various rapid prototypes of the software for testing the functionality and features without worrying about the effect on the final product.

What are the requirements in Rapid Application Development? What are the pros and cons of using the RAD model for software development? What are the features you must include in Rapid Application Development? Read until the end to find out the answer to these questions.

Definition of Rapid Application Development

Rapid Application Development is an agile process for creating rapid prototypes of software. With RAD, developers can make multiple iterations and can continuously release updates for the software without scheduling the development from the beginning.

Due to the various flaws in the Waterfall model of development, the RAD model came into existence. The major drawback of the Waterfall model is that you cannot change the functionalities and features of the software in the testing phase. Rapid Application Development(RAD) came into existence in the 1980s, so the concept is not very much fresh. But the RAD is not singular like the Waterfall model. The functionalities and features of the RAD evolved according to the needs of the developers.

Barry Boehm, James Martin, and other developers realized that functionalities of RAD are not limited to traditional models of SDLC instead it was adaptable to suit the needs of the user.

Originally, the RAD model was named as the Spiral Model in which one or more prototypes were used for developing software. With time, the Rapid Application Development forged itself according to the requirements of the users.

Steps For Rapid Application Development

Although RAD molded itself according to the needs over the years, there are four basic steps which are similar in the Rapid Application Development.

  • Requirement Gathering/Planning
  • Prototype Development
  • Feedback
  • Finalize Software

These are the four necessary steps in Rapid Application Development.

  1. Planning the Requirements

The most crucial part of software development is requirement gathering. At this stage, clients, developers and the team members communicate with each other to discuss the goals, expectations and current issues related to the project that need to be addressed during the development. By discussing the requirements with every stakeholder team can avoid future miscommunication and issues during development.

The basics in the requirement gathering are:-

  • Discussing the current problem
  • Sharing and collecting all the requirements
  • Finalizing the requirements
  1. Prototype Development

After gathering all the requirements, the development of different prototypes begins. Developers build one or more prototypes with various different functions according to the requirements of the client. Then the client selects the prototype which is perfectly suitable for their software.

These prototypes are small models of the actual software. They are quickly built by the developer to certain and basic features of the actual software. And the final product is developed according to the prototype on which the developer and client both agree.

  1. Feedback

After every phase of development, the client is asked to give feedback on the product. It helps the developer in reviewing if there is something that the client doesn't like or something needs to be changed.

With a continuous reviewing from the client, development continues. These steps are repeated until a final product is developed which meets the requirements of both developer and client.

  1. Finalize Software

After the final product is developed, features, functionalities, interface, and working of the product are discussed with the client.  After the product is launched and tested the clients maintain it continuously to prevent it from bugs and errors.

Advantages and Disadvantages of RAD

Although application development is a better option for software development but its not a solution for every development. Rapid Application Development is great for small and quick projects. There are some advantages as well as disadvantages of using Rapid Application Development.

Advantages Disadvantages
1.Reduced development time. 1. It depends on a strong team and individual performances for identifying business requirements.
2. Increases reusability of components 2. The only system that can be modularized can be built using RAD
3. Quick initial reviews occur 3. Requires highly skilled developers/designers.
4.Encourages customer feedback 4. High dependency on modeling skills
5. Integration from the very beginning solves a lot of integration issues. 5. Inapplicable to cheaper projects as the cost of modeling and automated code generation is very high

Rapid Application Development Models vs Traditional Models Of Development

There are some reasons why Rapid Application Development models are always preferred over Traditional Development Models.

Specification Rapid Application Development Traditional App Development
Application Development Process Iterative flow of development Linear sequential flow of development
Team Structure Small team structure with intermediate knowledge in technology Large team structure with strict knowledge in technology
Productivity and Flexibility High flexibility and productivity due to iterative development Low productivity and flexibility due to linear development
Documentation Minimum documentation due to product testing at every iteration Inflexible documentation and analysis at every phase of development
Time and Cost Estimation Small development time with low costs Large development with high cost due to reworking
Testing Tested after every single iteration Tested after projected is completed
Predefined Elements Use of predefined themes, templates and functionalities Development of new elements from beginning as per the project requirements

When To Use Rapid Application Development

  1. When You Have Expert Testing Team

If you have a pool of expert testers who can give consistent and accurate feedback on your prototypes, then Rapid Application Development is a great idea to follow. Prototypes developed using RAD depend on the previous iterations, so reliable feedback is really helpful in this situation.

  1. If You Have Budget

Although RAD is relatively inexpensive as compared to other models of development, but sometimes it can be costly. So if you want to develop a product using RAD then you must have a good budget. But if you already got a team then it's a good idea to choose the Rapid Application Development model.

  1. If You Want to Develop a Project Quickly

If you have got a tight deadline or you are under pressure for developing a product, then Rapid Application Development is probably the best model to follow. On the other hand, if you have don't have much time for requirement gathering and designing phase then also you can choose RAD. It follows the iterative methodology for development so it can help in developing projects in a lesser time period.

Features of Rapid Application Development

What are the features of RAD that make it stand out above from the rest of the models? Here are some of the most important feature which makes the RAD a must use model.

  1. Pre-Designed Application Development

Rapid Application Development supports quick, agile development and modification. It also has a tool that provides app templates.

App templates allow you to customize the apps according to your needs and requirements. Predefined themes, templates, and functions of the app help you to develop software in less time.

  1. Visual Development Support

RAD allows you to create a visual representation of the product. Flow charts are created which show the working and process, how the app will work before actually developing it.

The visual representation created is similar to the app itself. It helps in quick rendering and development of the product with Rapid Application Development.

  1. Lifecycle Management

If you are developing a product using Rapid Application Development, then the initial model will never be what the final product will be.  The initial model is always for observing how the final solution will be developed. If you want to customize processes for your software, then you must use Rapid Application Development.

  1. Cross-Platform Compatibility

Business users nowadays work on various platforms like laptops, desktop or even hand-held devices. So it is possible that the client is accessing the product from a computer browser, desktop or by mobile devices. Rapid Application Development allows building apps that can work on a different platform. This feature makes the RAD a must-have model for every development.

How Nimble AppGenie Can Help You in Rapid Application Development

There is no doubt that Rapid Application Development is the best model for developing software. If you are looking for developing an App with RAD then we are here for you. Nimble AppGenie provides a platform for clients to develop their apps with more flexibility and productivity. With a team of expert developers who have immense knowledge in agile development, we will help you in developing software with the Rapid Application Development model. Get in touch with us now and develop your software with RAD at a budget cost.

Jermaine Trotman

Jermaine Trotman is the co-founder of Nimble AppGenie, a company renowned for its bespoke mobile app development and web development in e-wallet app development and fintech development.

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