- Rapid Application Development (RAD) method gains newfound attention among cloud leaders looking to differentiate PaaS offerings
- RAD helps enterprises plow through backlogs of web/mobile apps which modernize or replace legacy systems.
RAD is not a new methodology, but it is garnering attention among PaaS providers looking to expand their advanced services to address groups of mobile/web developers. This week during VMware VMworld, I delved deeper into the topic with application platform execs to explore how vendors can better address developers in search of high-productivity tools.
The current momentum behind this methodology is spurred by enterprise developers’ need to produce mobile applications of engagement quickly. Vendors including Outsystems, Mendix, Oracle ADF, Force.com, Rollbase (acquired by Progress Software), and Microsoft (LightSwitch) are building technologies and platforms around this concept. The common thread appears to be a collection of development technologies comprised of high-productivity tools which provide less developer control, but support rapid build, deploy and run capabilities for business apps on a scale that’s several-fold faster than traditional app delivery. Solutions are typically based on an IDE, which runs locally and connects to a platform that runs on a cloud-based server (such as Amazon EC2) or on-premises. Integration toolkits extend the legacy app environment through reusable objects, and application lifecycle helps manage the whole process and ensure iterations and app changes. Some have noted the technology is born of the old PowerBuilder developers who used GUIs and WYSIWYG tools to create tablet apps quickly.
The RAD-oriented approach is gaining newfound attention among cloud leaders which see it as a way to differentiate their cloud services. Amazon, VMware vCloud Air/CF, Oracle Cloud, SAP HANA, IBM SoftLayer/BlueMix, and Microsoft Azure are investing in the space to address this growing set of developers. Similar to the way PaaS providers are embracing MBaaS for its ability to integrate new mobile apps with various backend data sources, we’ll see more partnerships around the RAD methodology. Developers are increasingly under pressure to produce “short tail’’ apps, such as mobile, very quickly, and with the ability to make iterations and app updates equally fast. They are looking for app platforms to help tackle their application backlog and speed the delivery of custom enterprise Web and mobile applications which modernize or replace legacy systems. The key value proposition comes down to speed to delivery, provided through support for the full application delivery lifecycle as part of an integrated platform.
Bottom line is consolidation will continue in the application platform marketplace, and the lines are blurring between various mobile/web platform services.