Executive summary

Rapid application development platforms provide a graphical model-driven approach with pre-built application components which allow users to visually construct complex processes and applications without coding. This enables both technical and business individuals to orchestrate and deploy business applications with ease and speed. The right model-driven development platform provides significant productivity advantages over traditional development methods and enables project delivery by smaller yet faster teams.

Whether your business processes are unique, you need to distinguish yourself from the competition or you need the ability to adapt to fast changes in the market you operate in; rapid application development supports these needs.

Key benefits:

  • Cost-effective and time-saving
  • Accelerate innovation by 9-12 months
  • Easy to make adjustments
  • Tailor made; use what you need
  • Easy to integrate with current IT systems
  • Simplified lifecycle management
  • No coding
  • Fast delivery
  • Responsive applications for every platform

Introduction

In today’s world, markets change fast and companies need to be flexible to adapt to these changes. Also, most companies find themselves in challenging environments due to fierce existing competitors and disrupting new start-ups. This requires an IT landscape that is able to quickly adapt, to support the organization’s business, rather than the other way around, where the business needs to adapt to cope with the existing IT landscape.

Developing transformative or disruptive applications at high speed to keep up with the changing markets, requires rapid experimentation, frequent iteration, and close collaboration between business and IT.

There are online platforms that make it easier than ever to create new applications and enable you to adapt to the ever faster changing market demands. They can be used for quickly building a prototype, integration with core systems and, services or to deliver a complete multi-channel experience on top of your existing IT systems. These platforms are called “Application Platforms as a Service” (aPaas) and in combination with Rapid Application Development, it can enhance every unique business processes very fast.

So what is Rapid Application Development exactly? And what is this so-called Application Platform as a Service? Maybe even more important: How can it help your organization? In this article, we answer these questions in a practical way. After reading it you will understand the basics of this powerful software development & project management approach.

What is Rapid Application Development?

A form of application development in which the time required for development is reduced so that changing requirements during the course of development do not invalidate the end product; abbreviated RAD” – Oxford Dictionaries

RAD is a software development approach that uses minimal planning and enables organizations to develop software faster. Especially in combination with aPaaS RAD is significantly faster than traditional development.

RAD focuses on the gathering of customer wishes and requirements and prototypes that the customer will test during the development process. This model divides the analysis, design, construction and the testing phases of the software development process into short cycles, called sprints. Each sprint takes one or two weeks and results in a working prototype that serves as a working model that forms an immediate part of the final product. Therefore, there is a little waste of time and effort, and the customer can see and test the results.

Model Driven Development

As mentioned before, RAD is a software development approach. Model-driven development (MDD) is a software development methodology that focuses on leveraging a data model, which is a conceptual model of all topics related to a specific process. The MDD methodology is meant to increase productivity by simplifying the architecture design, simplifying application development and optimizing system compatibility.

Model Driven Development is most effective if its models are created from the user’s point of view. These models must make sense from the point of view of a user that is familiar with the domain and they form the basis for implementing applications. The models are developed through extensive communication among product managers, designers, developers and users of the application domain. As the models approach completion, they enable the development of software and systems.

So how can you combine RAD and MDD? This is where aPaas comes into play.

How does aPaaS fit in this picture?

Application platform as a service (aPaaS) is defined as application infrastructure functionality, enriched with cloud characteristics and offered as a service. aPaaS is a genre of cloud hosting platform developed for designing, creating, installing and managing tailor-made business applications. It also includes resources such as infrastructure, data security, data management and user interfaces. In simple words, it is a sole environment that allows speed and agility across the whole application process.

When developing or modifying applications on an application platform based on MDD, developers no longer have to concern themselves with low-level functions. Instead, they can focus on interfacing directly with their platform, rather than having to drill down to the system functions of the machine. They don’t even have to write a single line of code.

The platform makes it easier to track and log changes throughout a system and it is also able to operate as an interface between applications and infrastructure, thereby creating a more fluid, better secured, and simplified computing model.

For example, a company should start by defining the models on the platform. These models are immediately available so they can use them in the processes that the company wants to build. With a simple drag and drop interface, they can then create those business processes that make the company unique. They can even design the user interface and still haven’t written any code.

The system itself will be only as productive and secure as the software and hardware involved. That is why aPaaS solutions are hosted in secure data centers and comply with the highest possible security, data integrity certifications and, laws.

So how can RAD help your organization?

Companies have to deal with dynamic market needs, increasing customer expectations, and higher service levels. By combining RAD and aPaas we enable your company to fulfill these needs with fast and flexible IT solutions at a fraction of the costs and delivery time, compared to classic development projects.

Our approach

Based on our experiences we have learned that the best way to start with RAD is based on these three principles:

  1. Start small. Start your RAD journey with one simple process. This way you will build up experience, align risk management and meet with governance.
  2. Learn. Learn from the previous experiences and use these ‘lessons learned’ and “best practices”  to enter the next phase.
  3. Scale up. Now everything is in place to scale up. Any organization can now move forward and start integrating other systems, enhance or fully automate current business processes and add new features.

The combination of RAD and aPaaS can help your organization in unlimited ways. You can create anything from CRM systems to client portals and from order management systems to the automation of business processes. What will be your first project?

Who are we?

EsperantoXL ignites the creativity required to develop innovative new applications and processes by combining visual data modeling, synergetic development, and agile project management.

We will make your organization scalable and flexible based on your own IT infrastructure, using RAD and aPaaS. By building on top of your existing systems, we’ll make sure you get the most out of the latest technologies. We’ve been doing this with great results for the past 15 years by automating business processes and quickly developing and managing new applications. What’s our secret? It’s really very simple: we combine a flexible and highly professional team with a strategic and effective approach.

Interested to see how we can help your company or support your IT strategy? Send me, Ewoud Stuurman, an email at e.stuurman@espeantoxl.nl or message via LinkedIn and I’m glad to help. You can also visit www.esperantoxl.nl and leave a message.