rapid prototyping

Throwaway or rapid prototyping refers to the creation of a model that will eventually be discarded rather than becoming part of the final delivered software. After preliminary requirements gathering is accomplished, a simple working model of the system is constructed to visually show the users what their requirements may look like when they are implemented into a finished system. It is also a rapid prototyping.

Rapid prototyping involves creating a working model of various parts of the system at a very early stage, after a relatively short investigation. The method used in building it is usually quite informal, the most important factor being the speed with which the model is provided. The model then becomes the starting point from which users can re-examine their expectations and clarify their requirements. When this goal has been achieved, the prototype model is ‘thrown away’, and the system is formally developed based on the identified requirements.

The purpose of a prototype is to allow users of the software to evaluate developers’ proposals for the design of the eventual product by actually trying them out, rather than having to interpret and evaluate the design based on descriptions. Software prototyping provides an understanding of the software’s functions and potential threats or issues.

Prototyping can also be used by end users to describe and prove requirements that have not been considered, and that can be a key factor in the commercial relationship between developers and their clients.