How to Benefit from Rapid Application Development
It’s no longer enough just to develop new programs, websites, and apps: companies desire to get their ready-to-launch app quickly and have the door opened for future updates and changes. That’s why more and more companies are adhering to more flexible and agile development models, such as RAD software development.
Understanding Rapid Application Development
The rapid application development (RAD) model focuses on the simplicity and quickness of the programming process. However, the RAD model is not universal and feasible for any project. This model is usually used when there is a need for client engagement from the earlier stages of the project to define system requirements, plan its functionality, or visualize the interface.
Unlike the waterfall model, where it’s hard to implement any changes after the start of development, RAD was purposely created to offer the chance for developers to generate various iterations on the designing stage of the project.
In RAD, the development process is organized so that the app can swiftly change based on quick feedback from a client. This approach allows developers to get approval from the client on the prototyping stage, make vital changes during the development process, and save time on altering and improving the final product.
It also means that the time of development from the start to a finished product is significantly reduced using this method. The rapid application development model ensures the speed of the software product promotion on the market, a user-friendly interface, simplifies the development of the system’s functionality, and also allows the project to adapt to changing requirements easily. All these perks ensure the stable popularity of the RAD model among developers, as can be seen on Google Trends.
The RAD method best suits small and mid-sized projects that don’t have an overwhelming structure or rigid requirements but pay a lot of attention to user experience and interface. RAD helps projects to be more adaptive to the market-changing conditions.
This model is usually divided into four main rapid application development phases: planning, designing, constructing, and cutover.
- Requirements planning phase. At this stage, the client and developers determine the app’s functions and requirements, highlight priorities, and gather information. The app development team weighs down the scope of the project in terms of the budget and deadlines and defines the time frame for each subsequent stage. This stage helps to evaluate the possibility of implementing the project within the period and financial framework.
- User Design phase. During the rapid application design phase, creators can understand, modify and define a working system model that suits their needs. This is one of the most dynamic phases, during which the development specialists create iterations of the technical design and working prototypes.
Then, the prototypes are shared with the client to get an evaluation and feedback, allowing developers to receive a clear vision of the final product in terms of the design and functions of the system that may not have been clearly defined at the previous stage.
Rapid application prototyping allows showing the rough working draft of the product, testing the ideas, eliminating ambiguities on the earlier stages, and incorporating the best of them into a final result.
- Build phase. After the partial or full prototype was approved, the team moves directly to developing the product. The client actively participates in testing and assessing the development process.
The life cycle of a project, as per the RAD methodology, is not rigid. Depending on the starting conditions of the project, the number of phases can be decreased or switched in order.
- Cutover. This stage includes data conversion operations, testing the interface and functionality, and transitioning to a new system. Thanks to continuous testing in the previous phases, the product’s launch and delivery to the end-user are usually stable and smooth.
Compared to traditional software development methods, the entire process is less time-consuming. As a result, the new product can be launched faster and with fewer issues and bugs.
Waterfall VS Agile VS RAD: What to Choose?
It’s important to note that each development model is not universal and works best when applied properly. The models’ efficiency highly depends on the project size, time limits, and financial prospects. Knowing the RAD advantages and disadvantages, alongside its difference from other models, you can use it to the fullest extent.
The clarity of requirements also plays a big part in the suitability of the model. Thus, RAD is perfect if the software requirements are not clearly defined at the very beginning and can be changed during the development process.
What Are the Most Common RAD Frameworks?
Rapid development software platforms are used to create software with low programming costs and quickly obtain a finished application based on ready-made functional blocks, interfaces, integrations, and business processes. Some of the best frameworks that suit the RAD method are Ruby, Flutter, and Python.
Ruby on Rails is one of the most popular web development frameworks in the world. It’s great for developing projects with complex business logic and high-performance requirements. Rails is primarily a fast application development environment that is great for building any type of web application. It’s perfect for RAD, as Ruby development allows the development of projects that should be really fast, fault-tolerant, and working under high load.
Also Ruby provides a wide selection of rapid software development tools and plugins that are largely the reason for the high popularity of the framework. The ability to selectively connect individual components and libraries speed up development greatly, while third-party extensions are being debugged over the years, ensuring the reliability of solutions.
Flutter is the best option when the team needs to implement a unique design that would be the same on two platforms (Android and iOS) and provide tools to build desktop apps. Flutter reduces development time significantly, as highlighted on the official Flutter website, although this indicator will be unique for each project, depending on the complexity of the application, its UI, and functions. The Flutter toolset also allows to quickly implementation changes, test iterations, and fix errors. Flutter development allows building cross-platform mobile applications which is a great choice for RAD developers.
Python-based frameworks are the right platform for rapid software development if the project requires non-standard functionality or high performance, speed, and fault tolerance requirements. Python development is an optimal framework for RAD development.
Django allows you to create, modify, and delete any site content objects, log all performed actions, and provide an interface for managing users and groups. A lot of ready-made solutions have been developed based on Django, including Instagram, The Washington Times, and Pinterest, as mentioned on the Real Python learning resource.
The use of frameworks always speeds up and facilitates the development of any mobile application or website. As the main focus of RAD is on the speed of work, it’s obvious that using an environment that is comfortable for such programming eliminates all the limitations of a specialist’s capabilities.
Top Rapid Application Development Tools
All the tools, applications, and frameworks offer developers a quicker, automated way of creating desktop or mobile apps. The effective RAD tools provide relevant reusable templates, ready-to-use UI libraries and simplify the creation of cross-platform apps. Some of the most popular tools among developers are:
This flexible, cloud-based platform allows handling workflow easily by automating repetitive operations and reducing manual work. Within the platform, you can seamlessly mix and match various integrations, import and export data and ensure the transparency of the workflows.
Suitable for: It’s simple in usage, yet not a very scalable platform that is more suitable for projects that focus on security and customization of the product.
Kissflow allows companies to create custom workflows using visual tools. It is a code-free platform that allows non-coding executives to create their workflows without the help of the IT department. It’s a lightweight application with good BPM features for designing and implementing workflows. It has about 50 built-in applications for a wide range of processes, including vendor billing, mileage reimbursement, and employee onboarding.
Suitable for: small and medium businesses, midsize businesses, and enterprises.
Setapp is a platform that curates macOS and iOS apps you might need for the price of a monthly subscription. Setapp’s rapid application development software services include a huge collection of tools that will make developers work with Mac efficiently and productive. Using such apps as The Flinto, DevUtils, RapidWeaver, and Sizzy simplifies the coding and design experience and tests the end result without deep coding skills.
Suitable for: iOS-based rapid app development projects.
When the project is based on Java, Spring Boot is the best solution for rapid development. This framework ensures a simple coding process, thanks to embedded HTTP servers. However, using this framework requires previous experience with Spring and coding knowledge, so it’s preferable to have an IBM rapid application developer working with it.
Suitable for: Java-based projects.
It’s a RAD code-free platform with a simple editor that ensures simplicity in apps development. It’s an affordable and easy-to-implement tool that allows building various apps for workflow tracking. All integral parts and visuals are easy to customize with a simple drag-and-drop tool.
Suitable for: HR, CRM, Sales Management-related projects
it is an enterprise platform that provides audit logs, IP filtering, custom password policies, multi-step authentication, and private cloud hosting. It can be easily integrated with any external system and extended applications. Quixy has dozens of out-of-the-box solutions for various use cases, like CRM, project and task management, travel and expense management, and more.
Suitable for: PMs with low code knowledge and seasoned programmers to create apps.
Buddy is an application development automation platform that allows programmers to speed up the software testing process dramatically. Buddy has 80 automated visual and code quality testing scripts in its arsenal to accomplish tasks that lead to faster software production and help developers get results faster with less time. It also allows for the integration of various services, including Slack, Trello, GitHub, and Jira.
Suitable for: QAs and RAD programmers.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Rapid Application Development
The clear benefits of RAD include:
- High Quality. The end project’s high productivity and functionality are achieved by constant interaction with the end-user during the development stage. Thanks to multiple iterations and user feedback in the development process, the final product can better meet the customer’s needs (end-user) than agile/waterfall approaches.
- Risk Control. While the lion’s share of RAD content focuses on speed and user engagement as key features of the model, a third major benefit is a risk reduction. Using rapid application development allows you to focus on and adapt the system to the main risk factors early.
- Rapid Development. Since RAD is an incremental development model, the chances of critical errors that often occur in large waterfall projects are reduced. Unlike the waterfall system, where the implementation of the project can hold back up to six months of analysis and development, RAD provides all the necessary tests and analyzes not only results but progress during the process of creating the application itself.
However, there might be some pitfalls to be aware of and to avoid:
- Reduced Control. Due to its flexibility and process adaptability, RAD holds significantly less control over the process. The time frame, costs, and end result can change together with the requirements.
- Lean Design. Focusing on prototypes in some cases leads to shifting developers’ focus from major system architecture to minor improvement of individual elements.
- Lack of Scalability. RAD is mainly used by small and medium project teams. The shortcomings of the RAD model are especially trackable when implemented wrongfully on a large project.
To sum up, RAD in software engineering projects is preferable to use when the priority lies on speed and ease of development, and the user interface is its main focus. Suppose this is a large project where a high level of planning and strict adherence to pre-developed protocols and interface is critical for implementation. In that case, it’s better to consider using a different approach.
Building a Top RAD Team: Defining Roles and Responsibilities of RAD Developers
RAD developers usually work in a small team and focus on building sizeable applications or app updates for the end-user. The best RAD software developer cooperates closely with end-users must obtain quick-solution analytical skills and exceptional soft skills for fruitful cooperation. They also must be ready to prioritize tasks and work simultaneously on multiple assignments.
The main roles and responsibilities of a RAD programmer may include:
- Building small applications, using SQL, Python, or other relevant resources;
- Quickly assessing tasks, analyzing problematic statements, and proposing multiple solutions;
- Working with technical data for business process automation;
- Creating iterations and drafts for tests cases to design, build, and test software;
- Working with cloud-based services for hosting applications;
- Creating and migrating applications within frameworks.
Hiring Rapid Application Developer: Salaries Around the World
The average rapid application developer salary largely depends on their experience, required skill-set, and country of location. However, the programmer’s location also plays a crucial role.
For instance, on average, the US RAD developer’s wage is rounded above $6,730 per year. The RAD specialist located in the UK will be offered around £5,617 ($7,551).
On the other hand, in Germany, a seasoned application support developer can earn near €4,086 ($4,619) for their services. If the company is based in the Netherlands, the middle-level specialist will be paid €4,670 ($4,618).
The skills and experience of the specialists are at a similar level around Europe and the US, so if there is a need to find a specialist with lower salary expectations, one of the most attractive countries for hiring PHP rapid application development software experts and other RAD specialists remains Ukraine, where the average paycheck is around $3,500* per month.
Mobilunity – a Trustworthy Ukrainian Partner for Hiring IT Specialists
Outsourcing IT specialists comes with many benefits for the business, but it is usually linked with an avalanche of pitfalls, administrative regulations, and mundane processes. However, the process can be less stressful if you work with a trusted partner.
Mobilunity is a respectable provider of IT workforces for various projects worldwide and has a lengthy record of successful cases. Our clients note our professionalism and dedicated approach. We’ve crafted and perfected our own time-tested methodology to sourcing the best IT candidates and building dedicated first-class teams for the business. That’s why if you’re in search of a reliable vendor in Ukraine, reach out to Mobilunity representatives and let us help you with a RAD solution for your project.