Rapid Application Development - an overview
Rapid application development is a software development concept that involves agility and customer satisfaction while not being strict on following the rules. In addition, this software gives the opportunity to quickly build a prototype instead of spending a huge amount of money on just the planning process. It is typically misunderstood by thinking of it as a specific model, however, RAD is a concept that tells the consumer to think of the model as clay rather than steel. This is how most development practices interpret it.
One may wonder how did it all begin? In the late 1980s, Barry Boehm, James Martin, and others took one very obvious factor into account which was that software should not be considered as a raw material resource. They looked at software differently. Boehm and Martin saw an opportunity to develop their models after they saw the software's pliability and came up with the spiral model and the James RAD model, respectively. This article today talks in detail about RAD, while looking at its methodology as well as its pros and cons.
Although the specific practices and tools are different for each method, the basis of all the rapid application development phases is very much the same.
Instead of making the user spend loads of time to develop the specifications, Rapid Application Software starts by defining a rough set of requirements. The reason why it is roughly talked about is that the major principle of this software is the ability to allow the user to make any changes at any point during the process.
Therefore, while setting loose requirements, the client is getting a rough idea of the model. The user tells how and what they want it to be and after an agreement with the developers on the concept, they proceed with the next step.
During this phase of the process, the main aim for the developer is to build a model that they can present to the user. This model is typically a prototype of the actual thing which fulfills a few of the requirements.
The advantage of first building a prototype is that it can help save a lot of money. Most of the RAD processes include a finalization phase as well. This is where the developer puts down some technical debt through these initial prototypes.
Once an early prototype is ready, RAD developers show it to the user. The user then proceeds with giving feedback which is all noted down by the developers. The feedback includes everything from functionality to its interface, this is the phase that requires intricate details.
During the finalization process, it is very likely for the developers to entirely build the model again so that they can improve the model’s stability and maintainability. This phase can also be utilized to connect the back-end with the production data, making thorough notes, and doing any other final touches before giving in the final submission.
Rapid Application Development Advantages and Disadvantages
The client can ask to make any sort of changes in the model after the first submission, this includes the interface or even its functionality. With this software, projects tend to be completed within time and also make the client satisfied.
With rapid application development, the main goal for the developers is to build the vision of the client to the dot, and nothing more than that. The time and money that would have been spent on the traditional planning method could never be gained again, which consequently means that the entire budget is gone to waste. The rapid application software helps to reduce the risk of loss and therefore lessens the cost as well.
During all the phases of the rapid application development, the user is very much involved in all the phases which allows the developer to present the model in a more effective manner. What this does is that it gives the client a sense of satisfaction and confidence within the model, that they will receive exactly what they had asked for.
A project includes a large team of designers, builders, developers, and so on. Here everyone has access to the model, which may influence the end product. Once a project starts to expand the inter-communication skills become harder to handle. Hence, causing the model to constantly change.
During the entire process, the developers must commit to constantly having meetings with their clients, however, this may appear to take irrelevant cycles.
The client only criticizes that part of the solution in which they are allowed interaction with, but usually, all they are given to interact with is nothing but facade. Hence consequently, some developers forget about the vital back-end practice to improve the development of what the prototype will look like from the front end.
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