What is Rapid Application Development? Definition & Tools

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Rapid Application Development

What is Rapid Application Development?

Rapid Application Development (RAD) Definition

Rapid Application Development (RAD) is an adaptable software development method. A software prototype is rapidly changed depending on user input and repeatedly supplied until it satisfies all customer requirements.

Rapid Application Development, abbreviated as RAD, is an adaptive framework commonly used in software development. It functions by rapidly updating the software based on client feedback and promptly responding to all user requirements. 

In this model, the development team and the client or client network work collaboratively to determine the goal of any given project. 

The project goals, problems, and expectations get communicated by the client/user. The development team takes these up to evaluate these requirements and finalize the agreed set of updates. 

Next, the developers’ code prototypes can repeatedly filter and include user feedback until it meets everyone’s expectations. The development process is rapid during RAD since the issues and obstacles are identified correctly and removed.

Since there is a collaboration between users and developers in RAD, it enhances customer satisfaction and user experience

The RAD model significantly reduces the risk associated with the development process. And delivers high-quality products at the same time. 

Rapid application development vs. Waterfall

Time Required for Development:

Project development timelines can vary massively based on the software development methodology used. There could be a considerable wait for software implementation when using the Waterfall paradigm. Waterfall has numerous stages, some of which take a long time to complete.

Costs of creation:

Usually, waterfall development methodologies imply static development expenses. It means that the budget cannot get adjusted even for massive projects.

Because many adjustments and revisions are feasible with the RAD paradigm, projects do not have set budgets. The RAD method is generally designed to reduce development costs and speed up delivery.

Skills Necessary:

Both development techniques have distinct prerequisites in terms of developer abilities and experience.

When it comes to the waterfall, organizations can hire both senior and junior developers if the specifications are explicit, making finding a suitable contractor much more accessible.

However, finding a flexible, experienced, and multi-talented workforce is critical if a corporation intends to develop a product using a RAD strategy with the help of product management tools.


Each software development methodology handles risks differently, which you must consider before selecting one.

Users and contractors must adequately plan the development process. Then analyze potential difficulties, and predict the ultimate product in advance while depending on the waterfall.

What are the phases of rapid application development (RAD)?

There are four stages in the RAD approach. They are as follows: 

  • Goal planning: The users and the development team decide the project’s goal and finalize its requirements.
  • Prototype Design: User feedback gets incorporated throughout the prototype development process to tailor it to meet user expectations fully.
  • Rapid Development: Developing the prototype into functional software is quick and easy. While repeatedly updating it to include client feedback.
  • Production: The final prototype is sent forward to production. It is still plausible to make changes and upgrades continually with the RAD model.

What is the History of rapid application development (RAD)?

The RAD model serves as a substitute for the conventional waterfall software development life cycle model. Barry Boehm developed the spiral model initially, which he called the “Spiral Model.”

However, James Martin took inspiration from Barry’s work and finally put forward the “Rapid Application Development” that we know today. James Martin published his work in 1991 when he was working for IBM. 

What are the advantages of rapid application development?

Rapid development

RAD enables the developers to develop quickly and constantly with new feedback. 

This way, advanced software can get developed in a modular way in a limited time. It gives users a fully functioning product at a more incredible speed.

Reduced Rework

Since RAD is a reusable framework, there is no need to reinvent the wheel because the development parts can get reused.

Risk minimization

The chance of failure and lack of functioning is less in the RAD framework. It ensures good customer feedback and experience. 

Minimum incorporation issues

Since the customer feedback is incorporated into the development process right from the beginning, fewer issues arise because of the lack of incorporation. Moreover, you can introduce new features and updates to the prototype on the way. 

Drawbacks of RAD

Continuous customer involvement

Continuous feedback is required from the users to make changes until it satisfies everyone constantly. 

Now, one problem is that these changes are prone to internal bias. Secondly, there may not be enough outreach to have sustainable constant customer feedback in the initial phases of development.

Modular framework

Only modularized and decomposed software development processes can benefit from RAD.

The majority of modularized projects are small and medium-sized. Larger projects require complex frameworks, which do not fit with RAD. 

High-quality skillset

RAD requires well-versed experts in their field with good knowledge and experience. Thus, RAD is only suitable for experienced team players. Rather than startups and small businesses because they heavily depend on external experts. 

What are rapid application development examples?

Automobile industry:

The RAD methodology popularised the concept of rapid prototyping, which is now widely used in the automotive sector.

Instead of producing actual automobiles, automakers create physical prototypes and scaled models based on the design. 

The prototypes are then tested to see how well they work, uncover any potential problems, and discover areas for development. 

Car manufacturers can now use 3D printing technology to create prototypes.

Developers, testers, and spectators provided feedback and collated it for analysis and insights. 

Ideas for improvements are drawn from this and applied to the next model until a prototype meets all of the parameters and passes extensive testing and quality control.


Customers are increasingly choosing mobile banking systems for their transactions.

Banks and other financial institutions must migrate into the digital and mobile realm to meet rising requirements and demands. 

They must produce mobile payment services and other digital banking goods and services. That is thoroughly tested and assessed as soon as feasible before making them available to the general public.

They can accomplish precisely that thanks to rapid application development. 

RAD reduces the time it takes to produce new financial instruments. It comprises planning and testing, enabling banks and other financial services firms to offer new products in days rather than weeks.

RAD gives banks a distinct competitive edge in a demanding and ever-changing sector.

What are the best rapid application development tools?


With a single click, Decision.io allows you to design and manage processes. From your browser, you may control the workflow. 

Businesses, entrepreneurs, incubators, educational institutions, and foundations will benefit from the adaptable platform.


NetApp is a collection of software designed specifically for Mac computers. There are some excellent rapid application development tools among the various programs it offers. 

These RAD tools are fully compatible with one another. Each one serves a distinct purpose in the quick application development procedure.


Buddy is one of the quick application development tools designed exclusively for the iOS platform. Buddy uses continuous integration and continuous-deployment strategy as its base. 

Buddy provides a platform that decreases lag time and allows you to develop and deliver applications using CI and CD in minutes.


Microsoft PowerApps with Microsoft Azure is a popular choice among rapid application development solutions among professional and novice developers worldwide.

It’s mainly because Microsoft PowerApps allows you to customize your apps to your heart’s content.


What type of projects is RAD best suited for?

RAD is particularly well suited to (but not restricted to) developing software with user interface needs. The term graphical user interface builders generally refer to rapid application development tools.

When can designers use rapid application development?

Rapid application development is your top choice when you have a limited deadline or are under pressure to provide something that works. You save time by using RAD instead of going through a lengthy requirement planning and design phase.

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