Everything You Need to Know Rapid Application Development (RAD)

Software development has brought a positive change in our lives. The software’s are used for multiple purposes like physical safety, business enhancement, strengthening defense systems, or compiling health care data, etc., and have become pivotal in today’s era. Before the 1980s, the waterfall model was used in the software development process.

The process in this model worked in sequence at each phase, and the next phase would commence with the completion of the previous phase. But this model had one disadvantage. Any change in the parameters at any phase was a tough call, and hence a smoother and quicker method came in the form of Rapid Application Development (RAD), which James Martin discovered.


What is Rapid Application Development?

In recent years, Rapid Application Development has been adopted and desired by software developers for making software, thanks to its wonderful flexibility, agility, and easy iterations.

As stated above, the Waterfall method was popular from 1970-1980, but its major disadvantage in the rigidness to change the parameters gave birth to Rapid Application Development. Any client suggestions or modifications could be done only by restarting the whole development process from its initial stage, which was a tedious task.

Contrary to the Waterfall method, the RAD model approach is based on prototyping and nil planning. Its prominence on user feedback and future development and its benefit in its adaptability to change makes it more recommendable than the rigid Waterfall model, which always followed a strict plan.

This blog will plunge into how RAD works, its pros and cons, its life cycle, and how RAD is better for specific industries.


Rapid Application Development Methodology:

The RAD model comprises 4 basic steps. They are:

  • Outlining Requirements:

In this initial phase, all concerned IT personnel, managers, and employees give their consent on the project’s needs and requirements.

  • User Input:

This phase involves the users and the software developers working together as per the defined requirements. Here the users constantly interact with the developers and give their feedback to ratify a final product.

  • Construction:

This is an implementation phase wherein all the project approvals based on the user’s feedback are implemented and developed via coding and testing methods. The input and construction phases are checked, and the user finally approves the main software-generated.

  • Finalization:

Once the product is generated and approved, final testing, communication, and user training are done apart from checking the other parameters like stability and reliability. Later it is delivered to the market for public use.

  • Advantages & Disadvantages of Rapid Application Development:

Advantages of RAD:

  1. It’s less risky than a strict plan-based method since it’s flexible and can adapt to new prototypes.
  2. With an early paradigm, the identification of key tasks becomes easy.
  1. Code reuse is possible, which leads to less manual coding and, in turn, fewer errors.
  2. RAD is known for portraying issues at an early stage. Hence it becomes easy to eliminate them during the development phase.
  3. This, in turn, reduces the development cost and the time to make a user-friendly product.
  4. User feedback can be easily incorporated, and other vulnerabilities can be addressed in between the development phase without halting the development process.
  5. RAD products are user-friendly and hence are more desirable and appreciable.
  6. The final product turns out as per user expectations which enhances customer satisfaction.


Disadvantages of Rapid Application Development:

Focusing on one content like software improvisation may lead to neglect of other software protocols and product architecture.

  1. The longevity of the software depends on the software structure and functions, which in case of neglect may be affected.
  2. Scalable projects may not be appropriate for RAD. Even lengthy projects requiring ample planning and coordination may lose focus on other aspects like product designing.
  3. In RAD projects, user-testing at every stage is essential. In case of user scarcity, the project finalization may become stagnant.
  4. RAD is dependent on user feedback and testing methods, and the absence of both these dependencies may hamper the development process.

What is Rapid Application Development Life-Cycle?

The life-cycle of RAS is a combination of the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and all RAD stages. The stages are:

  1. Planning: The assessment stage involves checking project requirements, feedback, scope, viability, etc.
  2. Analysis: Analyzing the project goals and creating the project requirements.
  3. Design: Rough display of the project displaying the design, layout, and other features is created in the designing stage.
  4. Implementation/Environments: The project is passed through multiple development phases till it reaches the end-user.
  5. Testing: The software testing for the final product on varied levels is done to check its lapses.
  6. Evaluation/Maintenance: After the testing and user training stage is over, the evaluation of the software is done, and its shortcomings are taken care of to ensure its smooth functioning.

RAD method, too, needs security just like other development methods. This security comes in the form of digital certificates and is termed Code Signing Certificates.


Your software codes need to portray authenticity to its users, and the same is possible only when they are digitally signed and timestamped with the company’s name. This is the motto of Code Signing Certificates.

These certificates display the publisher’s name on the software and help in enhancing brand reputation. They prevent tampering by securing the code with SHA-2 encryption and ensuring code integrity.


What makes the RAD Model better than Waterfall model?

The Waterfall model involves the end user only at the initial and final stages, making it less desirable and involved. High costs and rigidity to change the parameters add up to the cons of this process.

The RAD model replaces the Waterfall model with its user benefits, involvements, and friendly rates. More emphasis on designing the software, using basic paradigms, and involving users in the process of designing and development stages are the essential and finest steps in the RAD approach.

RAD delivers a project more quickly than the user’s needs through consistent testing of prototypes and other modifications.

Is RAD Right for You?

RAD software works the best when teams are small and quick results are needed. The company’s internal software or customer-centric portals, small apps or websites, etc., are the best industries for implementing the RAD development techniques.

But when there are huge technical risks like launching critical software, etc. RAD technology is inappropriate.


Final Words

If RAD is ideal for your company, ensure to involve your employees and clients, brief them about the project, take their feedback, and address their issues.

Go for the ideal application tools and development techniques that affiliate with the business budget, goals, and requirements and plan your software development process accordingly.