Rapid-application development (RAD), also called Rapid-application building (RAB), is both a general term, used to refer to adaptive software development approaches, as well as the name for James Martin’s approach to rapid development.
In general, RAD approaches to software development put less emphasis on planning and more emphasis on an adaptive process. Prototypes are often used in addition to or sometimes even in place of design specifications.
RAD is especially well suited for (although not limited to) developing software that is driven by user interface requirements. Graphical user interface builders are often called rapid application development tools. Other approaches to rapid development include the adaptive, agile, spiral, and unified models.