RAD (Rapid Application Development) is a development approach that focuses on the design and prototyping phases to get immediate feedback from the user. Unlike traditional development models with initial planning and subsequent execution, RAD provides more flexibility. Constant iterations of user feedback and rapid incremental updates contribute to a better outcome.

James Martin introduced RAD as an alternative to hard waterfall techniques in 1991. Construction and many other businesses where changes in project scope are expensive and uncommon benefit greatly from the traditional waterfall methodology. It is improbable that a bridge will be replaced with a ferry midway through construction.

For whom RAD approach is suitable?

Fast-paced environments with experienced teams and a budget for rapid application development tools, like low-code platforms and code generators, should utilize RAD. The system should be able to be incrementally developed. As you consider whether RAD is the best approach for your internal business tool or customer portal, consider the following checklist.

  1. Can your team engage in a high-level communication-intensive, continuous development process?
  2. What level of involvement is required on the part of your customer, and if he or she is open to this approach? An unresolved communication breakdown could lead to project failure.
  3. Would your client be willing to adhere to the project deadlines and timeline? This method can only be effective if all stakeholders are on board.
  4. Within 2-3 months, can the system be built modularly?
  5. To use RAD effectively, do you have the necessary communication and development tools? Alternatively, do you have the budget to hire additional skilled team members if necessary?
  6. Does the technical risk seem low?

Rapid application development guide

The creation of software is much more versatile. The same business problem can be solved in multiple ways, and adjustments are also less expensive. As a result, trial and error frequently take the place of extremely comprehensive designs and planning. Users also tend to provide better comments only when they observe something in action.

These steps make up the quick application development cycle:

  • Requirements planning. 
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The project team, along with the users, determines the system’s long-term objectives at this phase. The rules are lax because the emphasis is on attaining corporate objectives. It’s crucial to have the flexibility to modify or adjust them during the prototyping stage.

  • Prototype.  

The goal is to demonstrate to the client a working design as quickly as possible. Until the final product is ready, developers and designers work closely with the client to ensure their needs are met. Projects are repeated as necessary as they progress. In the early prototyping phase, designers typically compromise to create an acceptable working product.

Rapid prototyping promotes user participation, testing, and feedback rather than analyzing an abstract design document. The feedback gives designers the chance to gradually modify models until they satisfy project objectives. Stakeholders may quickly and readily decide what works and what doesn’t through communicating, learning from their experiences, and sharing information. By releasing versions quickly, bugs are more likely to be discovered earlier, resulting in fewer errors and less troubleshooting.

  • Construction. 

Rapid Construction, which involves application coding, system testing, and module integration, is the process of turning a system’s prototype or beta version into a functioning model. During this stage, a system might also have new components added or adjustments made. Usually, little code or RAD tools are used to create the application.

With an iterative prototyping approach, developers may create a final functioning model more quickly because the majority of user problems and customer modifications are fixed during the prototyping stage. The software and apps are rigorously tested throughout this phase to make sure the outcome fits the customer’s expectations and objectives. To improve every part of the product, developers consult with clients and users to collect their opinions on the user interface and functioning.

  • Implementation.

The RAD process ends with developers eliminating technical debt accumulated in the prototyping phase and optimizing implementation to ensure stability and maintainability. To identify defects, components are moved into a live production environment where extensive testing is conducted.

As components are rolled out, all necessary testing and training are conducted in a production environment. Documentation is written and maintenance tasks are performed before the finished product is confidently handed over.

Benefits of using RAD

The RAD approach offers several benefits for both software development teams and their customers. It is imperative for IT teams to operate at a fast pace, enabling them to be more productive and achieve better results in less time. The following are some of the key benefits of the RAD methodology:

  • Risk reduction and early system integration. 

Rapid Application Development Teams can assist organizations in early software life cycle feature validation (RAD Teams). To ensure that budgets and deadlines are met, feedback patterns and frequent iterations make it easier to assess progress and deadlines. Rapidly evolving applications integrate with other systems and services practically instantly, yet integration typically takes place after a development lifecycle. Stakeholders have the opportunity to identify and debate bugs, vulnerabilities in the code, or complex issues during each iteration. This allows them to fix them immediately without delaying the development process. Taking steps to reduce risk means reducing costs.

  • Component separation of the system and flexibility. 

The development process for software is flexible. Code modifications can be used by developers to iterate and prototype ideas, which can significantly modify the system. With this iterative method, design and development are encouraged to produce independent and useful components. Partitioning makes it possible to reuse each element and makes it simple to make adjustments to meet the needs of software development.

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  • Iterative launches and quick time to market.

Because less time is spent on manual coding thanks to low-code and RAD development tools, businesses and IT teams can work together effectively and deploy new, production-ready apps more quickly. Experienced team members can prototype and write working code in a fraction of the time it would normally take. The number of team members required decreases, increasing productivity. Projects can be broken down into smaller, easier-to-manage tasks and given to team members based on specialization and experience with the help of frequent repetition. Organizations can benefit from early availability while delivering new features often and getting a working product in less time.

  • User Feedback. 

RAD is a fantastic technique for gathering input from users who directly engage with programs throughout the prototype and development phases due to its simplicity of use and wide adoption. Regular communication and ongoing feedback increase effectiveness and quality overall. Feedback is kept at the forefront of the process through iterating on the design and interacting with the UI/UX system components. Receiving feedback can be a difficult, time-consuming, and expensive procedure because developers often work alone and without input. This necessitates extensive meetings and phone conversations. In RAD, teamwork and coordination boost customer happiness. Customers acquire trust in the developers’ ability to satisfy them after the finished product is delivered because they constantly see their efforts. Tests throughout the project lifecycle improve the overall quality of the software by evaluating and refining requirements as users’ feedback is incorporated.

Using Flatlogic Platform for RAD

The Flatlogic Platform is a platform that enables you to design, host, and develop fully functional CRUD web applications with front-end, back-end, and database. The generated application has user authentication, data management, and a pre-made basic structure, making it an excellent base for further development.

A tool for quickly building web apps from scratch is the Flatlogic full-stack web application generator. The organization offers the UI for building the database schema, which you use to construct the application code base. You only need to consider the database structure for your upcoming application. Importantly, you can use our generator to produce static web pages as well.

You can create almost any type of web application with the help of the tool:

  • CRM;
  • Headless CMS;
  • E-commerce CMS;
  • Admin Panel;
  • Data management app;
  • Inventory management application;
  • UI for the database.

How does it work?

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Using the Flatlogic Platform you can create CRUD and static applications in a few minutes. Creating a full-stack application consists of 3 steps and static only 2 steps.

Step 1. Choosing the Tech Stack

In this step, you’re setting the name of your application and choosing the stack: Frontend, Backend, and Database.

Step 2. Choosing the Starter Template

In this step, you’re choosing the design of the web app.

Step 3. Schema Editor

In this step, you can create your database schema from scratch, import an existing schema or select one of the suggested schemas.

To import your existing database, click the Import SQL button and select your .sql file. After that, your database will be opened in the Schema Editor where you can further edit your data (add/edit/delete entities).

If you are not familiar with database design and find it difficult to understand what tables are, we have prepared some ready-made sample schemas of real applications that you can modify for your application:

  • E-commerce app;
  • Time tracking app;
  • Book store;
  • Chat (messaging) app;
  • Blog.

Next, you can connect your GitHub and push your application code there. Or skip this step by clicking the Finish and Deploy button and in a few minutes, your application will be generated.

Summing Up

A fundamental tenet of RAD is a tight collaboration with end users and quick, iterative development based on input. Delivering software that is ready for production takes precedence once users are content. To enable rapid prototyping and, as a result, the successful use of the RAD approach in a project, it is essential to select the appropriate tool. Fortunately, a wide range of tools and platforms are accessible, focusing on various application types, project stages, and team qualifications. The RAD technique aids in achieving higher user satisfaction while lowering risk in a shorter amount of time with the proper sorts of projects and team organization. With Flatlogic Platform, you can easily and rapidly construct a fully functional, static CRUD application. Unlike other low-code and code-generation technologies, our platform gives you complete control over the final application since we give you access to the generated code. Do not waste time, try our product and see how rapid and simple it is! If you encounter any difficulties, feel free to message us on our forum, Twitter or Facebook, Instagram and ProductHunt. We will respond to your inquiry as quickly as possible!

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