What is Rapid Application Development and When Should You Use It?
If you’re building 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. 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 like 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 RAD
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
- Finalize Software
These are the four necessary steps in RAD.
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
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.
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.
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. RAD is great for small and quick projects. There are some advantages as well as disadvantages of using it.
|1. Reduced development time.||1. It depends on 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. It 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 RAD models are always preferred over Traditional Development Models.
|Specification||Rapid Application Development||Traditional App Development|
|Application Development Process||The iterative flow of development||The linear sequential flow of development|
|Team Structure||Small team structure with an 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 the beginning as per the project requirements|
When To Use RAD
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 RAD is a great idea to follow. Prototypes developed using RAD depend on the previous iterations, so reliable feedback is really helpful in this situation.
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 RADmodel.
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 RAD
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.
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.
Visual Development Support
RAD allows you to create a visual representation of the product. Flow charts are created which shows 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.
If you are developing a product using RAD, 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 RAD.
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. RAD allows building apps that can work on a different platform. This feature makes the RAD a must-have model for every development.
There is no doubt that RAD is the best model for developing software. If you are looking for developing an App with RAD then we are here for you. Nextyug provides a platform for clients to develop their app 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.