Agile development is all the rage these days, largely because businesses want to build applications faster than ever. But that’s difficult to achieve when applications involve millions of lines of code that has to be written by developers using programming languages such as Java or Ruby on Rails. Not only is that approach painstakingly slow, all the lines of code are prone to error.
Instead of taking months or even years to develop or update applications, Progress Software president and CEO Phil Pead says most business applications can be developed in days or weeks using the company’s Advanced Business Language (ABL) tools.
Speaking at the Progress Exchange 2013 event in Boston this week, Pead says his goal is nothing short of making RAD relevant again by helping organizations that develop applications using ABL to bring them to market. In so doing, Pead says that the company is trying to ignite a viral movement around RAD tools that will be embraced by organizations that need to develop and update its applications.
To facilitate that process, Progress Software is making its full suite of RAD and data integration tools available via a Progress Pacific cloud computing platform that the company launched earlier this year. This week, Progress enhanced that platform with additional real-time data integration capabilities and self-service reporting tools.
RAD tools based on 4GL programming languages has fallen out of favor with developers who generally prefer to write code using more popular programming languages, such as Java. But from a business perspective, if RAD tools can allow others who are intimately familiar with a particular business process to use visual tools to construct 70 to 80 percent of an application before having to call in a developer, then Pead contends that business is going to have an inherent advantage in its ability to bring new applications to market.
Ultimately, it is updated applications that take advantage of new business opportunities that will determine business agility. By moving RAD tools into the cloud, Pead says the time it takes to build applications and then integrate them with data sources is now even shorter.
Progress Software is a long way from rekindling a movement back to RAD, but for businesses that can’t afford to invest in an army of developers but that still need a maximum amount of agility, RAD tools make a lot of sense. These tools will also prove valuable as the data integration elements of building an application can now be automated via the cloud, as well.