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When some major downfalls in waterfall came up while developing a software, including lack of flexibility and longer delivery time, developers were looking for something they can totally rely upon. The best part about building a software is that unlike a skyscraper, you can change the design midway, remove/add things without compromising the end product. When Rapid Application development came, it became easier for developers to test functions and features by developing prototypes rapidly. And the best part? The worry of end product was completely being taken care of.
What Is Rapid Application Development?
When the Waterfall Model’s effectiveness started becoming questionable, Rapid Application Development model came into existence. The main problem developers faced while using the Waterfall was that it was very difficult to make changes in the core functions and features of the program once it was in the testing phase. As Waterfall wasn’t meeting the evolving needs of the developers, Rapid Application Development came up was highly compatible.
Rapid Application Development is a development model which prioritizes quick feedback over testing and development cycles by rapid prototyping to quickly develop software models. It has got various techniques and tools and is a popular software development method. RAD can be trusted for object-oriented approach to developing solutions because it comes with built-in customizable data and organizational models. With Rapid Application Development (RAD), without starting a development schedule from scratch every time, the developers can update and make multiple changes simultaneously without harming the end product. RAD is not something new as it was conceived in 1980s, but it is continuously evolving unlike the Waterfall. The need for evolving came from the fact that software is much more than traditional engineering method. It is about the needs of the user so that it can be changed and that it is not a singular resource for fixed structure.
RAD tools accelerate the development process of application as they have various build in features which include navigational controls, form handlers, user interface and flexible reports which is a real burden reliever.
If we talk about the most significant tool of RAD which makes Rapid Application Development a better choice is the ‘Declarative Development’. When it comes to defining objectives, the tasks are performed in such a way that it helps you create different application pages and it is done with built-in-wizards. If you are looking for results, each wizard takes you to that process thoroughly. Input here is again important as on its basis the wizard data is stores in the back-end database tables as ‘metadata’, through custom-code you can add more functionalities. So, when you want to change or extend the application, the database tables which have metadata stored gets modified.
You can create applications for mobile devices as well and this is another best feature the RAD tool is currently providing. Since the working of mobile is different, to support page transition some specific themes are added like tap, swipe and with responsive web design capability, these themes are provided. Responsive tool helps the content adjust any screen resolution and provides same user interface for all kinds of devices. The delivery of content is ensured by jQuery Mobile for these tools.
What are the Steps in Rapid Application Development?
Even though RAD is all about evolving as it has changed a lot over the years, the steps remained the same.
- Define the requirements- What is the objective of client?
- Prototype- creating prototypes and collaborating with the clients.
- Receive Feedback- Test, Test, Test and feedback of the product with respect to the end users.
- Finalize Software- proving with the final product to the client after the agreement.
What are the Pros and Cons of RAD?
- Checks customer feedback and priority which makes it customer-centric tool
- The requirements can be changed at any point of time
- The review system is very quick
- The time taken for development is reduced drastically with comparison to the traditional ones
- More productivity is ensured with less people
- Integration is a mere problem as it is integrated from project inception
- The time is short between prototypes and iteration
- Strong team collaboration is required
- Large team members are restricted as it cannot work with large teams
- Highly skilled developers are required for this tool and market not always has it
- Throughout the product life cycle, user requirement is must
- Cannot work with projects which have long development time, it is only suitable for projects with short development time
- To manage it is complex in comparison with other models
- RAD is only specialized for systems which can be modularized.
When should a team use RAD?
If your client wants product delivered fast or time provided for development is restricted, you should consider RAD. It produces a working system more quickly than any other traditional model. RAD is dependent on feedback and tests, so user feedback being one of the advantages you cannot skip it in RAD. So, its important that the client team is available for the collaboration with the development team for the whole span of development process.
Time is the major part here, since testing and feedback is already the part of the development process, users will not need to draw separate time from their schedules for the software iterations.
RAD provides with tools for the professionals who are looking to get things done quick and yet effective.