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Vendors now offer end-to-end products to build, preview, test, deploy and manage mobile apps throughout their lifecycles -- but IT pros should understand all of the advantages of rapid application development before making a purchase.
Rapid mobile app development (RMAD) is a streamlined approach to app building that uses preconfigured components to support low-code or no-code development. This makes it possible for an organization to get business apps out faster and easier, without requiring in-house development expertise.
With the right RMAD product, organizations that plan to deploy business apps can save time and money. Whether an organization uses an RMAD product on premises or subscribes to an RMAD cloud service, it can reap the advantages of rapid application development. Both approaches require fewer administrative and development resources than building an infrastructure from scratch.
Licensing or subscription fees are still a factor, but for many organizations, the savings in resources and time are worth the investment.
Advantages of rapid application development include reducing the risks that come with standing up a development and deployment infrastructure from the ground up. Organizations don't have to re-architect existing infrastructures, restructure current workflows, build new security models, set up special distribution processes or take any other steps that come with the do-it-yourself approach.
An effective RMAD platform also makes it easier to integrate with existing enterprise systems and services without having to develop custom connectors or APIs. Most RMAD products use standards-based technologies that enable integration between the mobile app and other systems, such as directory services, identity management or enterprise resource planning platforms, as well as middleware, back-end servers and database management systems.
Develop with or without a developer
Another advantage to rapid application development is that it supports the concept of the citizen developer. Individuals such as analysts, data stewards or other business users who don't have development expertise can navigate an object-based development interface that provides templates, forms and drag-and-drop components for building apps. At the same time, most RMAD products also provide some level of customization that enables developers to edit the code.
The RMAD approach to development is not for every organization or for every app. Organizations that require highly customized native apps, such as many customer-facing apps, will likely need more control over their development and deployment processes than an RMAD product can provide. But for basic business apps that need to get out quickly and on a limited budget, RMAD can be ideal.