MDA: IBM Rational unveils RAD tool

Like others, IBM’s Rational Software Division is returning to a concept from an earlier era -- the Rapid Application Development, or RAD, tool. IBM is categorizing Rational Rapid Developer as an “Architected Rapid App Development” environment (ARAD). The visual, model-driven development environment is aimed at making life easier for developers working on J2EE business apps, according to IBM reps.

The new ARAD tool targets enterprise developers, enabling them to build apps that have a strong underlying architecture, reps said, and making it easier for them to build high-quality, standards-based apps that can scale.

Forrester analyst Liz Barnett sees the tool as part of a trend to give programmers model-based development environments. “The focus today is on model-based development, which has the potential to provide some real productivity gains,” she said.

Time pressures and budgetary concerns have been driving software development toward tools that emphasize productivity, Barnett noted. “Managing costs and timing are absolutely critical today,” she said. “Tools like this are addressing those issues in a direct way by automating the development of a lot of code.”

Widely seen as the first fruits of IBM’s purchase of Rational Software, the ARAD tool has been in development since before the acquisition, initially by Shelton, Conn.-based NeuVis Inc. Rational acquired NeuVis in 2002.

“This [tool] has been in the works for a long time,” said Forrester’s Barnett, “both at NeuVis and at Rational. And it has been in the hands of beta testers for a while. I think it’s safe to say that it has been fully baked.”

IBM is pricing its new Rational Rapid Developer tool at $5,995 (U.S.) per user license.

Read the related stories “MDA: Tools for the code generation” and “MDA: What is in the standard?” by Johanna Ambrosio

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at


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