The acronym RAD (Rapid Application Development) was popular back when I started developing back in the early 2000s. Tools like Microsoft Access allowed developers and non IT users to quickly develop solutions customized for their needs. The upside was a bespoke application and quick development turn around time. The down side was that development techniques and processes fell to the wayside, resulting in some pretty interesting solutions that often became difficult to maintain. In addition, the limitations of these platforms was revealed as solutions went enterprise wide and more and more functionality was demanded and added. Scalability was also a major issue for solutions with many and dispersed users (Citrix anyone?).

Developers and business gradually began to realize that RAD tools were not suitable for enterprise grade solutions, and moved towards .NET and Java frameworks to build desktop applications. Then the internet revolution hit us, and everything needed to be web enabled. The .NET and Java frameworks became the mainstays of web development for enterprise applications, and the concept of RAD seemed to fade as a legitimate development technique.

The release of K2 smartforms just a couple of years ago has challenged the notion that enterprise applications cannot be developed rapidly. Together with K2’s smartobjects technology and blackpearl workflow engine, the K2 platform offers a complete suit of tools to quickly build and deploy custom business process automation solutions. One of the most impressive features of developing with K2 is how quickly not only the initial development can be, but how quickly changes can be made to solutions once deployed.

A rapid development timeframe not only means solutions can be developed more quickly and cheaply, but it also means that businesses do not need to commit to long term solutions if they are not ready to do so. The idea of “disposable apps” has started filtering into the business place. Instead of spending time and money doing a market scan and then buying, customizing and installing a off the shelf solution, businesses can instead think more short term and build applications with K2 to plug gaps. If a longer term solution is eventually implemented, the money spend developing the K2 solution has already paid for itself and was not wasted effort.

As a developer K2 offers both the flexibility and features to address almost all business requirements. It allows me to get solutions in front of the business in a matter of days, not weeks or months. There is nothing more rewarding as a developer than exceeding your clients expectations by delivering a solution they love in a timeframe they didn’t think possible. You can also keep smiling when they come and ask you for changes, as you know its not going to be as painful as it could be.