What if you are building a house for yourself and halfway through you realize that you have to make a major change in the structural design of the house? That will be pure chaos. The same applies to development in any field including software.
Thanks to Rapid Application Development, you don’t have to worry anymore about specific planning or changed requirements. Rapid Application Development or RAD is a software development model based on prototyping and iterative model. RAD approach to software development is against the waterfall software design approach which requires specific planning.
RAD approach does not follow this method. Rapid Application Development is similar Agile approach to software development. In an interesting study by PwC, it was found that Agile projects are 28% more successful than the waterfall approach.
Rapid Application Development addresses these issues by making use of predefined prototyping techniques and tools to develop software applications. It comprises a graphical user interface (GUI) development environment that facilitates the developer to build applications by dragging and dropping required software application components.
However, RAD’s working software prototypes or models lack the full functionality of a software application. The main objective of RAD is to develop prototypes for demonstration and requirement gathering. Rapid Application Development comes with built-in and customizable data, processes and organizational models. This allows for faster prototype development. It makes use of model-driven and object-oriented approach to develop a complete solution.
Introduction to Rapid Application Development
Rapid Application Development or RAD is an agile software development model. The biggest benefit it delivers is the fast project turnaround whereby the entire team works in a fast-paced environment. In the RAD approach, the entire team focuses on minimizing the time spent on planning and maximizing the focus on prototype development.
This approach allows the project managers and stakeholders to accurately gauge progress and communicate in real-time on issues and changes. This leads to greater efficiency, effective communication, and thereby aid faster development.
Rapid Application Development was invented in the 1980s to overcome the drawbacks of regressive traditional development models like Waterfall Software Development Model. The biggest issue with Waterfall Software Development Model is that once the software enters the testing phase it becomes extremely difficult to change its core functions and features. You may end up with the product that may not fit your evolving requirements.
RAD is a progressive development model that emphasizes on rapid prototyping and speedy feedback. This significantly cuts down the lengthy development time and testing cycle. Being a progressive development model, RAD allows software developers to make multiple iterations quickly without the need to restart a development schedule from scratch again.
RAD has gained much popularity and acceptance in development communities and business because it helps them stay relevant in today’s competitive marketplace where technology is changing at a much faster speed than ever.
The 4 phases of the RAD Model
A PHP web development company builds a prototype using Rapid Application Development. Then the client has to provide feedback for the prototype developed. The PHP website development services company again makes changes to the prototype based on feedback, before delivering it back to the client.
The process keeps repeating itself until the client validates the prototype. PHP web development company along with client finalize the SRS (software requirement specification) and product designs. There are four phases of the RAD model:
- Defining requirements
- Developing prototype
- Feedback and client validation
- Finalize software
1. Defining requirements
Rapid Application Development takes a very different approach to define development requirements. Instead of spending endless hours collecting the detailed list of specifications, RAD requires just a broad requirement to start. Since the requirement is broad, there is scope to collect specific requirement at different points of the development cycle. This way, RAD is better positioned to handle the changed requirement and is more flexible in its approach.
At the initial stage the development team, the design team, and the end users come on a rough agreement over the project scope and application requirements. One of the key features of rapid application development is permission to change requirements at any point in the development cycle. Here is a breakdown of the stages involved:
- Researching the current problems
- Defining the requirements
- Finalizing the requirements with the stakeholders
It is important to get the approval of all the stakeholders involved to make sure the goals and expectations for the project are set right. This will also help everyone stay on the same page. This is especially more relevant when you Hire PHP Developer or have new members on the team.
2. Developing prototype
In the rapid application development phase, the main goal of the development team is to quickly build something to show to the client. Rather than following a strict set of requirements, the development teams focus their energy and time developing prototypes with different features and functions as fast as they can. The prototype is sent to the client who decides what they like and what they don’t.