Rapid Application Development Model

Learn about WaveMaker Rapid Application Development model to create responsive web and hybrid mobile applications based on Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern

Definition of Rapid Application Development

A system development approach that employs tools, techniques, and methodologies designed to speed application development. 

– Source: Fundamentals of Information Systems 7th Edition by Ralph Stair and George Reynolds

What is Rapid Application Development model?

Rapid Application Development model relies on prototyping and rapid cycles of iterative development to speed up development and elicit early feedback from business users. After each iteration, developers can refine and validate the features with stakeholders. RAD model is also characterized by reiterative user testing and the re-use of software components. Hence, RAD has been instrumental in reducing the friction points in delivering successful enterprise applications. Learn more about the benefits of Rapid Application Development

rapid application development model

Steps involved in implementing Rapid Application Development model

Rapid development typically involves the following basic steps that complete the process

  1. Planning: The first step where developers, designers, engineers and technology people come together to discuss the project needs, limitations and specifications. The prototyping needs are identified and agreed upon.
  2. Design: Once the design requirements are gathered, initial prototyping and modelling is done.  Feedback from user experiences, help in designing the prototype and the overall architecture of the application. There can be multiple iterations.
  3. Development :  With the design and prototype in place, the real work begins with development. The basic coding, architecture, testing , deployment and integration to backend services happends in this phase. With rapid application development model, there can be changes and enhancements made as per the need of the project.
  4. Release: The final transition stage is where the release of the developed application happens.. The development team moves  the components from a testing environment to production . The application is deployed and the user can now use it to increase business efficiency

WaveMaker RAD model

WaveMaker makes use of the RAD model to provide a Rapid Application Development platform to create web and mobile applications. The following diagram depicts WaveMaker RAD platform architecture, based on the MVC (Model-View-Controller) pattern. Open standards, easy customization and rapid prototyping are central to the platform.

WaveMaker-RAD-Architecture

WaveMaker RAD Platform Architecture

Click here for the detailed WaveMaker RAD Platform architecture

The benefits of WaveMaker Rapid Application Development Model have a direct bearing on the cost and schedule of enterprise application delivery. In fact, organizations that have used WaveMaker RAD model have experienced:

The biggest advantage of rad development is its inherent synergy with the requirements of the medium itself: software. Whereas other forms of creation, such as a towering skyscraper or a sleek new automobile, require meticulous planning and logical development, the very essence of software is both malleable and in constant evolution. Since code itself — and by extension, the software which is powered by said code — can be morphed quickly and easily during development, software is inherently adaptable, lending itself well to iteration and experimentation.

Rapid Application development has many advantages over any traditional application model.  As the name suggests, the model makes application development fast and easy with iterative prototyping. Simple drag and drop features and the use of minimum coding efforts make it usable even for business people who have limited coding and technology knowledge.

By utilizing a rapid application development method, designers and developers can utilize knowledge and discoveries conceived during the development process itself to shape the design and or alter the software direction entirely.

Ideal condition for development using a RAD Model is:

When there is need to complete a project with great speed and agility, RAD is the best solution. With frequent possible iterations and prototyping possibility, RAD helps in building applications fast and deliver results.  Rapid Application Model is appropriate for building applications that involve lower risks and need to built in a very short span of time. This model works best where many changes can be apprehended due to the dynamic nature of business involved

67% faster application development than traditional software delivery

80% lesser coding required compared to traditional software development

75% lower maintenance costs than traditional software life cycle

Frequently asked questions

What is Rapid Application Development?

Rapid Application Development (RAD) simplifies the application development methodology such that technical business users can work together with professional developers in project management. The RAD methodology relies on prototyping and rapid cycles of iterative development to elicit early user feedback. The RAD platforms of today are far more nimble – they’re capable of leveraging millions of APIs and the most advanced open-standards-based technology stacks while maintaining enterprise-grade security and end-user experience.

Myths about RAD technology

As with any new technology, lack of proper knowledge leads to some commonly accepted misconceptions. Here is clearing the air on some of them –

  • RAD tools are useful for small applications only – RAD technique helps to build quickly, minimally-coded applications and this has led to the belief that this approach is meant for only small apps. In reality, there are many success stories of apps created with rapid methodology which are processing millions of transactions. 
  • RAD technology will steal the job of developers – Rapid construction model is not here to take over developers’ job. Rather, it is a tool to hone their skills, making them more productive by eliminating redundancies and saving time. 
  • RAD tools cannot support many features – These platforms are perfectly equipped to help develop apps that are rich in functionality, which can be customized as well if needed. 
  • You cannot create amazing UI/UX with rapid approach – This is a myth as rapid application development software, truly speaking, lets you build amazing looking user design. Such platforms have visual development tools that can eliminate the need for hiring experts to build user interface, cutting down on project management cost.

What are the ideal use cases for RAD methodology?

The most popular use cases for rapid development approach are –

  • Live data forms that are used to create form-based line of business applications
  • To quickly build working prototypes from application mock-ups and shorten feedback cycles
  • Enable legacy applications to deliver more responsive, modern user experiences which generates early user feedback while keeping the backend data source and business logic intact.
  • Business dashboards that rely on apps that fetch data from multiple data sources
  • To build API-driven applications that enable organizations to create greater flexibility in IT application infrastructure

When is RAD methodology most suitable?

The rapid construction model is most suitable when the apps are data-driven, often populated from a database system. Pagination of data or memory management (for example, a mobile app that brings in too much data ahead of use may waste data traffic; whereas one that brings in too little could provide poor interactivity) is very tricky particularly when apps need to use AJAX, a common form of programming. WaveMaker leverages the latest trends and technologies of Rapid App Development tools that help you develop apps and deploy them anywhere.

Where is RAD methodology headed next?

As technology further matures and encompasses professional developers’ needs, rapid development technology will become the de-facto productivity platform for professional developers. RAD tools will be used in the future for –

  • Creating enhanced enterprise-grade applications
  • Become a central hub for app development tools via integrations
  • Building user-centric digital experiences
  • Develop long-lived mainstream business applications

Why choose RAD over traditional SDLC methods?

RAD methodology came into existence because of the inadequacies of traditional software development methodology, namely the waterfall model. Though traditional methods still have its use cases, choosing a RAD platform makes more sense because:

  • It is incremental and iterative which allows you to revisit different phases of development when required. 
  • It requires small teams with moderate technical skills 
  • It enables high productivity and flexibility due to iterations, leading to faster turnaround time and low waste
  • Minimum viable documentation as the deliverable at every iteration is the code/app itself
  • Comes with predefined themes, templates, layouts and micro applications which are tested and ready-to-use
  • Project durations are much shorter and maintenance cost is much less, unlike in the waterfall model

Which RAD platform is ideal for your enterprise?

Here is a checklist that will help evaluate a RAD platform for your enterprise and help you make an informed decision:

  • One of the primary reasons an enterprise chooses a RAD platform is to increase the speed of application delivery. A good rapid development platform would have an easy to use drag- and drop interface which would reduce the workload of the user and help the user develop applications with great precision, speed, and customizations. 
  • Such a platform should provide ready to use themes and templates which makes it easy for the user to have a base to start their application rather than have to create one from scratch. It should also allow the code to be easily shared and reworked. 
  • It should make it possible to develop, test and deploy changes in hours, enabling tight feedback-iteration loops 
  • Chose a low-code RAD platform that is based on proven open source technologies in order to ensure an open and extensible approach to application delivery. Also, the platform should use the best-of-breed application stack for developing full-stack applications. 
  • Look for a platform with features that ease external integration of data and services as most business data is stored in disparate, proprietary systems. Look for out-of-the-box integrations and verify whether custom integrations can be built and reused across apps.

Can you take RAD approach to build web and mobile applications?

Yes. A low-code rapid application construction platform has the ability to create applications using a single code base that can adapt to any native platform or operating system (which could be iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, Blackberry /RIM, etc). Its hybrid adaptive design enables applications to be run seamlessly on any device giving it cross-platform capabilities. From a development methodology standpoint, it saves a great deal of time and effort as cross-platform capabilities of an application means that a developer does not have to recreate the application for each operating system that supports multiple devices.

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