Wednesday, July 25, 2007

RAD without tears - how enterprise web 2.0 fulfills the promise

Like many other technology fashions, the Rapid Application Development (RAD) process made many extravagent claims which crumbled under the demands of real-world development. The goal of RAD is to create a series of prototypes which incrementally close in on the ideal customer

The problem is not so much the RAD (or Agile, or Extreme) process itself, but the limitations of the tools used to implement them. There has always been a moment of truth in RAD tools when the team moved from prototyping to "real" development.

If the prototyping is done with a lightweight tool like Visio, the moment you move to a heavyweight tool like J2EE, you lose your agility to respond to user feedback. The ideal solution would be a tool that can create deployable prototypes.

Why do Enterprise Web 2.0 tools have the potential to support RAD where other worthy technologies have failed? There are several reasons:
  1. Drag-n-drop web app creation: the ability to create a rich interface quickly makes the prototyping part of RAD much easier;
  2. Assembly-based development: the ability to assemble lightweight applications that invoke more heavyweight web services keeps the development team nimble;
  3. Web-based delivery: users are much more likely to provide feedback if it is easy for them to access and try out prototypes. Web-based delivery ensures better communication between developers and users, particularly for a distributed team.
  4. Standards-based deployment: many traditional RAD tools like PowerBuilder and MS Access produce applications which don't meet corporate security and managability standards. Web 2.0 tools fit more naturally with IT requirements.
Along the same lines, I delicious-ed (to Haig-ize a verb) across an interesting link by Siorc proclaiming that Web 2.0 is the new RAD. I think his theme is right, but the more precise statement would be that enterprise Web 2.0 tools have the potential to fulfill many of the promises made by RAD.

1 comment:

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