Through the years, there have been a variety of different approaches to software development. One of the most popular has been the waterfall model, which emphasized strict planning of all tasks. However, in recent years the approach to software development has changed to emphasize development and flexibility rather than rigorous planning. Known as rapid application development, this method has gained widespread popularity by letting those involved in the process use knowledge gained during the course of the project to make adjustments along the way. In doing so, a better product is developed and able to be better suited for certain applications, especially those involving graphical user interface.
Advantages of Rapid Application Development
As today’s technology continues to evolve, rapid application development offers numerous advantages to software developers including:
- Software developed more quickly
- Better quality within software
- Shorter development cycles
- Projects completed on budget
In addition to these advantages, RAD allows for greater risk mitigation with the project. As empirical evidence is collected throughout the project, risk factors can be identified earlier and adjustments made more easily and quickly.
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Disadvantages to Rapid Application Development
Despite its success within software development, some critics have tried to point out certain disadvantages. These can include:
- Unknown product cost
- Less control over development process
- Too dependent on cohesive teams
While some people cite these as disadvantages, others look at them as having little if any impact on the finished product. Development teams, no matter what approach they are using, must still be cohesive and have high levels of commitment from team members in order to succeed. As for the risk of using a new approach to software development, experts agree there is always some level of resistance to change in any process, and that by itself has had no significant impact on the ability of rapid application development to create a solid product.
Microsoft Visual Studio
One of the most popular rapid application development tools used in today’s web applications, Microsoft Visual Studio is completely visual and designed to enable developers to use it without having to learn all aspects of visual programming. One of the biggest advantages to using Visual Studio is it enables developers to quickly drag and drop web controls onto a design surface to “mock up” user interfaces which can later be refined through direct editing of the underlying HTML. Whether it’s Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome or other browsers, the interface can be customized to work with whatever type of browser is being used.
So while rapid application development may have some detractors, overall it is viewed by those in software development as the best approach to take when developing software for almost any application. As projects become more complex in the years ahead, techniques such as this will continue to be used to keep the process running as smoothly as possible.