“Rapid-development language” is a general term that refers to any programming language that offers speedier implementation than do traditional third-generation languages such as C/C++, Pascal, or Fortran. Rapid-Development Languages (RDLs) produce their savings by reducing the amount of construction needed to build a product. Although the savings are realized during construction, the ability to shorten the construction cycle has projectwide implications: shorter construction cycles make incremental lifecycles such as Evolutionary Prototyping practical. Because RDLs often lack first-rate performance, constrain flexibility, and are limited to specific kinds of problems, they are usually better suited to the development of in-house business software and limited-distribution custom software than systems software.
RAD (rapid application development) proposes that products can be developed faster and of higher quality by:
Using workshops or focus groups to gather requirements.
Prototyping and user testing of designs.
Re-using software components.
Following a schedule that defers design improvements to the next product version.
Keeping review meetings and other team communication informal.
There are commercial products that include requirements gathering tools, prototyping tools, software development environments such as those for the Java platform, groupware for communication among development members, and testing tools. RAD usually embraces object-oriented programming methodology, which inherently fosters software re-use. The most popular object-oriented programming languages, C++ and Java, are offered in visual programming packages often described as providing rapid application development.