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What is Rapid Application Development Software - RAD?

Development is a totally different world compared to marketing or sales. Businesses of all sizes need software applications for their processes, but many companies don’t know how to create applications without coding. Rapid Application Development (RAD) software programs are a help in such cases as they provide predesigned frameworks and app builders with simple drag-and-drop functionality. Show moreThey use a different methodology compared to common ones such as waterfall, DevOps, and agile. RAD software offers benefits such as simple adaptability, early systems integration, constant user feedback, compartmentalization of system components, and the ability to generate productive code quickly. Start by checking our leader Google App Maker, and other recommended solutions in this category.Show less

How was this ranking made?

In order to prepare this ranking of best Rapid Application Development Software - RAD we have examined 76 leading apps currently present on the market, contrasting their features, how easy are they are to learn, client service, offered integrations as well as mobile device support with our unique SmartScoreTM rating system. This list has been developed by Louie Andre, our SaaS expert dedicated to the Rapid Application Development Software - RAD category.

List of Top 12 Rapid Application Development Software - RAD

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1. KiSSFLOW

Our score: 8.5 User satisfaction: 100%

A unified, no-code digital workplace solution designed to help businesses manage, optimize, and track all operations. The powerful workflow software platform provides process management, project management, case management, and collaboration tools.

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2. Google App Maker

Our score: 9.7 User satisfaction: 100%

A low-code development environment that enables businesses, IT developers, and enthusiasts to build their own apps to scale internal operations or accelerate workflows. App Maker simplifies app development thanks to its drag-and-drop UI design, innovative templates, and the declarative data modelling.

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3. GitHub

Our score: 9.6 User satisfaction: 98%

A leading software development platform that provides a robust web-based graphical interface, access controls, and numerous app development collaboration features. Over 40 million IT developers and businesses use GitHub to move ideas forward, discover and review code, build and share software, and manage projects.

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4. Microsoft PowerApps

Our score: 9.5 User satisfaction: 97%

A reliable application development platform from Microsoft, a reputed IT giant. Power Apps is designed to help IT developers and organizations build professional-grade, low-code apps that streamline their processes and solve pressing needs. With the platform, it's easy to build apps that include advanced functionalities like AI components.

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5. Salesforce Lightning

Our score: 9.4 User satisfaction: N/A

An easy-to-use app development platform that simplifies application development for everyone, including users who don’t have programming experience. The graphical user interface, which is built for speed, enables business users, developers, and admins to spin up apps fast and reuse code across components.

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6. BitBucket

Our score: 9.2 User satisfaction: 96%

Bitbucket is a web-based hosting solution for projects that use either the Mercurial or Git revision control systems. This makes it attractive to both professional developers and coders. The application also provides a distributed control system to facilitate easy scaling and easy collaboration.

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7. OutSystems

Our score: 9.0 User satisfaction: 100%

OutSystems is the fastest and most comprehensive way to create, deploy, change, and manage custom mobile and web applications. With its rapid application development approach, developers enjoy a faster time to market. The same also applies even when they make alterations to an app that has already been deployed.

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8. GitLab

Our score: 9.0 User satisfaction: 89%

An all-in-one DevOps lifecycle platform that provides a complete CI/CD toolchain enabling users and IT developers to plan projects, create apps, manage source code, and share their apps. It offers a git-repository manager with issue tracking, wikis, and continuous integration/deployment pipeline.

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9. Buddy

Our score: 8.7 User satisfaction: 96%

Buddy enables web developers to build better apps faster and with less effort. To accomplish this, Buddy taps delivery pipelines created with more than 120 ready-to-use actions for building, testing, and deploying software. This allows developers to set up, test, and deploy easily and quickly.

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10. Alpha Anywhere

Our score: 8.6 User satisfaction: 92%

This complete mobile app development platorm allows businesses to build useful applications without the technical proficiency typically required by other similar applications. This approach allows these businesses to speed up delivery of targets while enhancing efficiency and productivity.

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11. Knack

Our score: 8.5 User satisfaction: 98%

Knack is an elegantly designed database builder that allows companies to make the most of their data and translate it into smarter and more billable business decisions.

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12. AgilePoint NX

Our score: 6.3 User satisfaction: N/A

An innovative and top-ranking low-code application development platform that assists companies in building and deploying form and process-based apps, multi-tenant SaaS apps, IoT apps, mobile apps, and LOB composite systems quickly and at an affordable price.

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Rapid Application Development Software - RAD Guide

Table of contents

RAD software enables companies to develop useful software applications for their needs without coding expertise. There are tons of quality solutions in this category. So how do you do informed comparisons to select the best rapid application development software tool for your needs? We help you in this task with this buyer’s guide that mentions the important factors and features you should look for.

Get to know each product with free trial

A great way to start your search for the best rapid application development software platform is by signing up for the free trial or demo offered by top vendors. Leading rapid application development software providers offer this facility to enable users to learn about their tool’s top features and also do a general comparison with other popular programs. We recommend you to check the possibility of availing a free trial for the following leading platforms: OutSystems,  Zoho CreatorVisual LANSAFilemaker Pro, and Nintex. These rapid application development tools have received impressive rankings in our rapid application development software reviews.  

Targeted Businesses

Rapid application development tools can be utilized by users in any industry including:

  1. HR professionals
  2. Project managers
  3. Team leaders
  4. Social media managers
  5. Data specialists

and others.

Examples of Rapid Application Development Software

  1. OutSystems: A popular RAD program that empowers developers to create and deploy custom enterprise applications quickly and easily. It offers helpful features like full-stack visual development and single-click deployment to facilitate faster development of enterprise applications. The software offers complete DevOps automation and can be deployed on-premise or in the cloud.
  2. Zoho Creator: An online app builder that you can utilize to develop specific web tools. It provides an intuitive drag-and-drop interface and a range of customization tools. With Zoho Creator, you can create custom apps for data collection, design your personal workflows, and set up unique rules to drive your business. The best part is you don’t need programming skills to use this software.
  3. Visual LANSA: The original low-code development solution. It has been designed by an expert and experienced team of software developers who have been in this business for more than 30 years. The software helps users to future proof their development work against changing technology features such as scalability, security, databases, operating systems, form factors, user interfaces, and more. You have the option of deploying it on-premise or in the cloud.
  4. Filemaker Pro: Empowers businesses to create file-sharing applications without coding skills. You can enjoy flexibility in structuring apps that reflect your identity to publish for the web, Windows PCs, and Apple devices. The best part is the software’s interface is user-friendly and easily navigable despite offering a wide range of features. These features include layout tools, theme styles, quick charts and reports, cross-platform access, and quick find.
  5. Nintex: This company provides online workflow automation solutions for businesses. The programs automate processes between popularly used collaboration and content management systems, thereby connecting mobile users, cloud workflows and on-premise solutions. Your company can use this software to automate its business processes easily and quickly. Finally, the platform seamlessly integrates your workflows with the email, content, instant messaging, and social media programs you use to connect all your documents and data.
  6. Alpha Anywhere: A robust rapid application development platform designed to help IT developers and businesses to build enterprise-grade mobile apps. It blends a suite of powerful features, embedded business logic, and a sophisticated offline operation to help users create apps to streamline business activities.

Types of Rapid Application Development Software

There are 2 main types of RAD software:

  1. Low-code development tools. These provide the base code upon which users with moderate coding skills can build. Frameworks are given for common apps such as project management, document forms, or payment processing. Lay users can utilize templates and frameworks to select their application’s functionality and shape. They can then hand it over to a more skillful developer who can add visual elements and functionality for your company needs.
  2. No-code development tools. These are ideal for lay professionals with no coding skills. They can easily develop and customize apps using drag-and-drop construction tools. This type of software presents icons, tables, and forms that can be dragged into a visual editor. With this platform, you can effortlessly create simple one-page forms as well as multifunctional workflows that move seamlessly from one tool to another.

Key Features of Rapid Application Development Software

  1. Collaborative visual development. Empowers business experts as well as professional developers to create apps without code. They can visually model full-stack apps that include logic, UIs, and data models. In addition, they can combine with reusable components to create apps more quickly.
  2. Attractive mobile and multi-channel apps. You can build apps and run them anywhere, without multiple code bases and tools. Design native experiences and attractive and responsive user interfaces. Make use of predesigned themes, layouts, and templates, or custom design your own. Develop offline apps with local data synchronization, logic, and data storage. These apps can be updated dynamically without republishing.
  3. Build smart and connected apps. Create context-aware, proactive smart apps and integrate them with any cloud service or system using web APIs, visual data mapping, and a connector kit.
  4. Built-in DevOps. Facilitate continuous delivery with built-in DevOps or use APIs to integrate with your existing DevOps toolset. Create cloud-native apps and deploy to the cloud of your choice.
  5. Cloud native and multi-cloud deployment. Deliver web-scale apps with a cloud-native, stateless architecture. They can be deployed on-premises or on any private, public, or virtual private cloud.
  6. Quality and security. Use the automated test suite to correct technical defects and functional flaws during development. Analyze your apps against the ISO 25010 Software Quality Standard to maintain high quality. Ensure full protection by using fine-grained audit trails, two-factor authentication, and identity management.
  7. Openness and extensibility. Extend your apps with custom code if you need to. Make use of open and accessible models via API and platform SDK.

Benefits of Rapid Application Development Software

  1. Fast delivery. You can divide the project into modules and treat each module as a separate prototype to save time. Test each prototype separately and combine all the components together to build the final app. This enables faster delivery with fewer bugs.
  2. Quicker market analysis. You can test each prototype separately and survey the prospects for improvements. This enables you to make any required change to just one model of the app and not the whole development process.
  3. Incorporate user feedback. The conventional waterfall development model is plagued by late delivery and the app might become obsolete by the time it is launched. The RAD model analyzes the needs of users and further development is done only if there is a market requirement.
  4. Easy to make changes. Multiple app elements are processed simultaneously. This makes it easier to make changes as there is no process type of management. Unlike the waterfall model, you need not take a regressive step if changes are required for the product.
  5. System integration. All modules are integrated and synced from the beginning. This enables faster delivery and minimizes the number of bugs.

Increased adoption. More enterprises have begun to explore the opportunities offered by RAD software for their development needs. The RAD model has become a serious subject of consideration among app influencers, development leaders, and architects who wish to enhance app development productivity. Not just lay users, but even professional app developers have begun using RAD solutions to build sophisticated enterprise apps.

Enhanced scope of RAD programs. RAD vendors are graduating to full-fledged development and deployment of app platforms. Professional developers are utilizing their skills and vast experience to add best practices in app creation, deployment, and DevOps. They are including features such as real-time integration, cloud deployment, automated testing, code branching, and DevOps integration. In addition, IoT platform integration is emerging as an important use for applications.

Potential Issues

Following are common issues faced in using RAD software:

  • The tool may be helpful only for larger projects
  • The app development project may fail if the developers are not committed to producing the software on time.
  • RAD software may not be appropriate if there are high technical risks involved. This can happen when the new app uses the latest technology or needs a high degree of interoperability with existing platforms.
  • Requirements may not be uniform in the RAD model because developers and users can diverge from one iteration to the next.
  • Leverages bleeding edge technology which can escalate the technical risks.
  • Finally, the third-party components used in RAD may not necessarily offer the required functionality.

5 Stages of Rapid Application Development

Step 1: Project Planning. This is a critical stage that requires you to define and finalize the project requirements. Here, you involve all the stakeholders to come up with specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely (SMART) goals. You also scope out the project timelines, budget, and expectations that will guide you through the development lifecycle. 

Step 2: App development. Once you define the project requirements, next is to put your blueprint to work. In this stage, you give the developers and designer the green light to begin developing prototypes. The development team works closely with all the stakeholders and clients to deliver final products that match the exact specification. 

Step 3: Modifying the product. Another critical stage in the app lifecycle. Basically, the changes you need to make boil down to the end-user recommendations. When you convert your beta systems into functional models, you should then gather feedback from the end-users. From there, analyze the feedback to uncover what the user requirements are. This way, you’ll make the necessary changes to create stunning products that wow the user. 

Step 4: Testing. Next, you rigorously test your app to ensure it’s working as per the requirements. If you notice any part that’s half-baked, get it redone or revamped for smooth functioning. 

Step 5: Deploy your app. Finally, present your app to the intended user.

Things to Do When You Adopt the RAD Approach

  • Don’t keep the approach under wraps. Bring it to the discussion table and share all the relevant details with all your employees. Make sure they understand the projected benefits of the RAD approach and the roadblocks it may hit. Also, don’t forget to listen and address all the issues raised by the employees.
  • Additionally, define team roles and ensure everyone is ready to meet the project timelines. 
  • Lastly, don’t rush into making a decision regarding the best RAD platform for your business. Take your time and research extensively to find a solution that will meet your operational and budgetary requirements.

List of Rapid Application Development Software - RAD Companies

Order by:

Newest
  • Newest
  • Score
  • User Score
Product name:
Category:
Smart Score:
Price:
User Satisf.
User reviews:
Buddy reviews

Buddy

Rapid Application Development Software - RAD
8.7
$75
96%
ONGO reviews

ONGO

Rapid Application Development Software - RAD
8.0
By quote
100%
PHPRad reviews

PHPRad

Rapid Application Development Software - RAD
8.0
$50
100%
Code VAUCH reviews

Code VAUCH

Rapid Application Development Software - RAD
8.0
$350
-
TestingWhiz reviews

TestingWhiz

Rapid Application Development Software - RAD
7.7
By quote
-
Cypress reviews

Cypress

Rapid Application Development Software - RAD
8.6
Free
97%
Bobile reviews

Bobile

Rapid Application Development Software - RAD
8.5
$15
-
Modo Labs reviews

Modo Labs

Rapid Application Development Software - RAD
6.4
By quote
80%
Twilio Platform reviews

Twilio Platform

Rapid Application Development Software - RAD
8.3
$0.0008
93%
Xojo reviews

Xojo

Rapid Application Development Software - RAD
7.0
$49
98%
The m-Power Development Platform reviews

The m-Power Development Platform

Rapid Application Development Software - RAD
6.8
$1,500
-
Fuse Framework reviews

Fuse Framework

Rapid Application Development Software - RAD
6.9
$125
97%
Alphinat SmartGuide reviews

Alphinat SmartGuide

Rapid Application Development Software - RAD
6.0
By quote
-
Metavine Platform reviews

Metavine Platform

Rapid Application Development Software - RAD
6.0
By quote
100%
Graphite GTC reviews

Graphite GTC

Rapid Application Development Software - RAD
6.1
By quote
100%

Things to consider when you invest in a SaaS

First, be clear about the reasons why you wish to use a SaaS solution. You should also have a good understanding of your existing infrastructure and business processes. This information will assist you to effortlessly integrate the SaaS platform with your existing infrastructure without any difficulty.

The second consideration is a follow up to the first one. Ask yourself what you want the SaaS product to do for your firm. Then, be clear about the functionality the system should have. For instance, if you want improved data collaboration between different business sections you need a solution that can be accessed by multiple users. However, if you need a competent system that is similar to an on-premise program, you need to invest in a SaaS product that can be accessed by only a few users at a time.

After you choose a suitable vendor, do not sign an agreement before you take a good look at the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The SLA will clearly define what the SaaS provider is offering and the reimbursement they will pay if they do not deliver the agreed services. Read and understand the SLA thoroughly to know what you are getting into and to avoid issues later.

Frequently asked questions about Rapid Application Development Software - RAD

What is the best Rapid Application Development (RAD) software?

The best Rapid Application Development (RAD) Software is Alpha Anywhere, a reliable mobile app development platform. Boasting robust development tools and sophisticated offline operation, the platform makes it super easy to build and deploy enterprise mobile apps. Beyond this, Alpha Anywhere allows you to remain in control of the IT environment and app integrations.

The best part is that Alpha Anywhere allows you to build apps that streamline operations and support virtually any business process. From field service and data collection to ERP, employee management, and medical application, the apps can handle mission-critical aspects of your business. In addition, it’s easy to integrate the apps with API, database, and workflows to expedite business activities and improve decision-making.

What are the benefits of Rapid Application Development (RAD) software?

There is no doubt that Rapid Application Development (RAD) can deliver benefits to businesses both small and big. Here are some of the notable benefits of RAD software:

  • Rapid app delivery. Rapid Application Development (RAD) provides low-code or no-code development, easy data integration, and instantaneous testing and deployment. This way, they significantly reduce app creation time, allowing you to launch apps in a matter of weeks. 
  • Make changes as needed. In addition, RAD platforms allow you to keep up with the pace of front-end technologies. The platforms allow you to make frequent changes as called for by consumer expectation and technological evolution.
  • Stay ahead of the competition. RAD is the real deal for a business that wants to gain a competitive advantage. Unlike the conventional app development framework, the RAD approach allows you to collate and analyze consumer feedback. This way, you can make changes to meet market demands and remain aligned with the latest mobile app trends. 
  • Seamless integrations. RAD software allows you to integrate the required modules right from the beginning. As a result, your applications exhibit seamless integrations and better synchronization of data.
What are the features of Rapid Application Development (RAD) software?

RAD platforms are not built equal and thus they often exhibit differences especially in their feature sets. All platforms, however, feature a near-identical backbone structure made of similar overarching features. Here are the key features of RAD software:

  • Application templates. They provide pre-designed app templates that represent the most popular or basic use cases. The customizable templates enable quick, nimble app development and modification. 
  • Visual app development support. Furthermore, RAD platforms leverage the low-code or zero-code/no-code app development approach. Their visual development framework means that developers or business users don’t have to write lines of code to build apps. 
  • Collaboration and lifecycle management. In addition, RAD platforms are designed to support organizational models and processes throughout the application’s lifetime. So, in addition to streamlining planning, development, and deployment processes, they help you make the necessary changes based on the end-user feedback.
  • Cross-platform compatibility. Moreover, RAD platforms allow you to create apps that work flawlessly across numerous mediums. This means that the app can be used across web browsers, cloud services, desktop, and mobile devices.
What is the easiest Rapid Application Development (RAD) software to use?

RAD platforms are designed to be easy to use for all users including those that don’t have programming experience. That said, some systems are comparatively easier to use than others. We’ve analyzed numerous platforms and found the following to be the easiest to use:

  • Microsoft Power Apps. It enables all users to quickly build and share low-code apps. With drag-and-drop simplicity and pre-built templates, everyone can rapidly build and launch apps that streamline their operation.  
  • Salesforce Lightning. This is another easy-to-use platform that enables users to spin up apps for any use case. The best part is that you can reuse source code across components so you don’t have to start building every app from scratch. 
  • DaDaBIK. With this RAD platform, no coding is required to create online database applications. Instead, you start from a database (PostgreSQL, MySQL, or SQLite) or an Excel file, and use the visual interface configurator to create stunning apps. 
What is a good free Rapid Application Development (RAD) software?

Here are the three best free Rapid Applications Development software: 

  • GitHub. This is a powerful RAD platform that offers all the tools you need to create a robust business app. The best part is that the platform offers a generous free plan for teams and developers. With the plan, you can have unlimited collaborators, 2,000 actions minutes per month, and leverage up to 0.5GB on GitHub packages storage. 
  • BitBucket. It is free to use for teams with less than 5 collaborators. With the free plan, you get up to 500 build minutes per month, 1GB of GIT large file storage, and a variety of basic features. 
  • GitLab. The platform provides a free plan for small businesses and individual users who want to develop, deploy, and manage applications. With the free plan, you get 2,000 CI pipeline minutes per month. Also, you can have a team of unlimited collaborators and run unlimited public and private projects.
Louie Andre

By Louie Andre

B2B & SaaS market analyst and senior writer for FinancesOnline. He is most interested in project management solutions, believing all businesses are a work in progress. From pitch deck to exit strategy, he is no stranger to project business hiccups and essentials. He has been involved in a few internet startups including a digital route planner for a triple A affiliate. His advice to vendors and users alike? "Think of benefits, not features."

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FinancesOnline is available for free for all business professionals interested in an efficient way to find top-notch SaaS solutions. We are able to keep our service free of charge thanks to cooperation with some of the vendors, who are willing to pay us for traffic and sales opportunities provided by our website. Please note, that FinancesOnline lists all vendors, we’re not limited only to the ones that pay us, and all software providers have an equal opportunity to get featured in our rankings and comparisons, win awards, gather user reviews, all in our effort to give you reliable advice that will enable you to make well-informed purchase decisions.

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