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Application Development

What Is Application Development?

Application development is the process of creating software that supports a business function. It consists of tasks relating to each of the seven stages of the application lifecycle. This starts with planning and gathering business requirements; continues with designing, development, testing, and deployment; and ends with the maintenance of your finished software application.

Traditional software was hosted on hardware devices owned and managed by the enterprise using the application. Today, firms are increasingly turning to the Software-as-a-Service delivery model in which the application is hosted on the cloud and accessed via a browser: with SaaS, the enterprise typically pays a per-person, per-month fee, and all ownership and maintenance costs are eliminated.

Application Development Approaches

The next challenge is to decide how you want to develop your application.

Waterfall Development

Traditionally, all organizations deployed the ‘waterfall’ approach where teams would define everything at the start of a project, then build it, then give it to customers.

The waterfall approach has pros and cons. It is meticulous: a lot of work goes into defining and scoping projects requirements, and a project manager oversees the entire process. But it also requires large teams and is slow: long lead times mean that business requirements or the competitive environment might have completely changed by the time the application is launched.

Agile Development

In many ways, RAD is the forerunner of the Agile development methodologies now used by more than 70% of companies. Like RAD, Agile is highly iterative, but rather than focus on complete applications, it concentrates on creating functional capabilities that can be aggregated together to fulfill business requirements. Agile is based on 12 principles, including simplicity, customer focus, and embracing changing circumstances.

Agile uses the scrum framework to guide application development and utilizes ‘sprints’ in which a diverse team focuses on delivering a particular function within a finite time. Agile is closely associated with DevOps: more than a methodology, DevOps is a mindset that seeks to accelerate application delivery by breaking down the barriers between the development function and the users it serves.

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