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Rapid Application Development: where low-code platforms come to life

Explore how low-code platforms work in rapid application development, so you can make an informed decision. Learn by doing? Start using Kettufy straight away.

Explore how low-code platforms work in rapid application development, so you can make an informed decision. Learn by doing? Start using Kettufy straight away.

Build for free, forever. Only pay if you go live. 

Build for free, forever. Only pay if you go live. 

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What is rapid application development?

Before we bring low-code platforms into this conversation, let’s get clear on what Rapid Application Development is, why developers choose it, and when it’s most commonly used.

Defining rapid application development

The rapid application development model (RAD) is a software development methodology that relies on quick development, feedback and iteration loops instead of linear timelines. 

RAD prioritizes resources towards prototyping based on user testing, rather than planning. In traditional models, users are involved at the very start and end. In RAD, they are integral to almost all stages of development.

If traditional development cycles can be compared to writing a long letter and sending it by post, RAD is more like a back-and-forth phone call.

Use cases for rapid application development

Some of the most common reasons teams use the rapid application development methodology include:

  • Developing internal tools
  • Projects with short timelines
  • Products with experienced users
  • Projects with a broad or evolving brief

Typically, RAD is faster and cheaper than traditional development models. It’s popular with teams of limited resources, tight deadlines or multiple projects.

Understanding the phases of rapid application development

There are five distinct phases to the RAD model. Some developers might use different terminology, but the purpose of each phase is usually the same.

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The names can change, but RAD projects will almost always follow these 5 phases before launch.

The five phases of RAD in detail

The first phase of Rapid Application Development is to understand the needs, requirements, and data flows within the business. This phase establishes the guard rails for the project, ensuring that what is built is relevant.

In this phase, user roles will also be established. For example: administrators, customers, and guest users.

The team may develop flowcharts and maps at this stage, to model common behaviors for different user roles.

Data modeling is a crucial phase of Rapid Application Development. In this stage, the developers identify, design, and structure the data used within the system.

As well as identifying individual entities, the developers will also scope out their relationships and interactions. For example, a user (one data entity) creating and saving a file (another data entity).

The developers will also work on subcategorization and adding data attributes (e.g. user name and user profile photo) to ensure each entity behaves as users expect.

In the process modeling phase, the development team will map out the expected flow of data and interactions between entities. A lot of this work will be on modifying, creating, and retrieving data entities.

Process modeling gives the developers a scope of what needs to be built, according to the needs of the users and within the confines of the data available.

Another key part of this process is deciding upon the logic and rules used within the application, which will be the foundation of automations and interactions in the live app.

In this phase, the developers start developing. The aim here is to build quickly, efficiently, and with components that are easy to iterate upon.

Components and modules - whether for UI (e.g. buttons) or UX (e.g. automations) - are crucial in Rapid Application Development. The quick prototyping cycles are dependent on pre-coded elements that can be added, removed, or adapted at speed.

As well as building the UI, the developers will need to make sure the data flows work as intended and that no steps are missing.

Testing and turnover are the crux of RAD. It might be rapid, but this process is also measured and controlled. Changes are made quickly but incrementally, so that processes don’t break nor are new problems created.

The application is handed over to users who will start exploring and trying to use it for its intended purpose. Though their feedback is likely to be extensive, the process of responding to it is more methodical.

As the iterations continue, the application gets closer to its functioning and usable state. After further testing and prototyping, the application will be ready to be pushed live for the entire user base.

Why choose rapid application development?

The advantages that come with rapid application development benefit dev teams of all industries, sizes and scenarios.

More efficient devs

RAD lets small teams build like big ones. A tight-knit dev team can deliver more projects at more regular intervals than they would be able to using other approaches.

Deep collaborative work

Rapid application development builds communication across business lines. Developers, designers, and stakeholders work in tandem and improve their cross-functional skills.

Ease of maintenance

RAD projects typically use pre-built components, as found in Kettufy. Isolating these components for updates or edits is easier than rewriting large sections of bespoke code.

Speed of release

RAD lets you launch applications much faster than traditional methods. If you need to launch quickly or work on multiple projects at once, RAD can be a game-changer.

Catching issues early

You’re more likely to identify major bugs with RAD. Users interact with the application differently to developers, so you can catch any surprises before publishing.

Better user experience

An application built using the RAD model will be highly user-focused. The app has been developed based on real user behavior, rather than assumptions or existing patterns.

Start prototyping with Kettufy

As a purpose-built low-code platform, Kettufy is perfect for rapid web application development.

We only charge (per page view) when your web app is published. You can start building for free today.

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Using Kettufy for rapid web application development

Low-code platforms are all about quick building, iteration, and deployment. They’re a natural fit for the rapid web application development process.

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Step 1: Get straight to work

You’ll have every component and functionality you need from the moment you sign in. And they’re all free. No need to create a new library, just start building.

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Step 2: Easy, instant iteration

Rapid prototyping is a fundamental feature of Kettufy. With a visual development interface, you can make changes incredibly quickly and deploy them from staging with ease.

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Step 3: Bring it to life

Logic in Kettufy helps you connect entities and elements in powerful ways. Kettufy web apps are far more dynamic than you might expect and can run complex automations.

Kettufy is trusted by Everest

“Kettufy helped us to create web applications in weeks instead of months!"

“Kettufy helped us to create web applications in weeks instead of months!"

Benjamin Wölfing /  AC, Everest

Learn about low-code and RAD

Kettufy documentation library

Study our hub of guides and how-tos if you want to learn about the features and functions of Kettufy.

Kettufy videos

If you’re more of a visual learner, you’ll enjoy our video tutorials of some of the Kettufy’s key features.

Kettufy and low-code platform FAQs

Watch our video tutorials, read our product documentation, or check our FAQs for answers to the most common questions about Kettufy and low-code platforms.

Rapid application development (RAD) prioritizes user testing and short iteration cycles above detailed planning. 

After initial research determines the scope of the project, developers build a prototype and dedicate most development time to the feedback gained from user testing.

As a method for building apps and web apps, it’s considered to be faster, leaner, and more efficient than traditional models.

Small teams, companies with short deadlines, or developers with multiple projects might find Rapid Application Development to be valuable.

RAD uses shorter timelines and faster iterations than traditional methods, so these projects typically require fewer resources from developers - without sacrificing quali

No, it’s not exactly agile. Rapid application development has a lot in common with the Agile methodology, but they are not the same or connected.

Projects using either methodology will prioritize testing, iteration, and collaboration.

RAD is a specific approach to software development, whereas Agile is a broader methodology that can be used in many different scenarios.

RAD, Agile, and Waterfall are distinct methodologies for software development.

RAD is specific to software projects and uses rapid prototyping, iteration, and user testing. The product takes shape in line with feedback from testers, rather than a strict initial plan.

Agile is a broader set of principles that emphasizes iteration, collaboration, and incrementality.

Waterfall is a traditional, linear methodology. Only when one phase in the project timeline is complete do the developers move to the next phase.

A Rapid Application Development framework can be thought of as a technological platform or toolset.

For example, Microsoft Power Apps or Kettufy can be considered RAD frameworks, as they provide developers with the tools and environment for building, developing, and launching RAD projects.

Identifying the best Rapid Application Development tool is subjective, as it depends on what you are building, features needed, and your experience as a developer.

A good RAD tool will:

  • Allow you to prototype quickly and often
  • Offer a large, existing library of components
  • Have a native feedback function for user testing
  • Provide strong security measures for data within the application
  • Integrate with other platforms and software (ideally via API)

If you find a tool that provides all of the above, it will be one of the best.