What is Software Prototyping?
Prototype is a working model of software with some limited functionality. The prototype does not always hold the exact logic used in the actual software application and is an extra effort to be considered under effort estimation.
Prototyping is used to allow the users evaluate developer proposals and try them out before implementation. It also helps understand the requirements which are user specific and may not have been considered by the developer during product design.
Following is a stepwise approach explained to design a software prototype.
The initial Prototype is developed in this stage, where the very basic requirements are showcased and user interfaces are provided. These features may not exactly work in the same manner internally in the actual software developed. While, the workarounds are used to give the same look and feel to the customer in the prototype developed.
Review of the Prototype
The prototype developed is then presented to the customer and the other important stakeholders in the project. The feedback is collected in an organized manner and used for further enhancements in the product under development.
Software Prototyping - Types
There are different types of software prototypes used in the industry. Following are the major software prototyping types used widely −
Throwaway prototyping is also called as rapid or close ended prototyping. This type of prototyping uses very little efforts with minimum requirement analysis to build a prototype. Once the actual requirements are understood, the prototype is discarded and the actual system is developed with a much clear understanding of user requirements.
Evolutionary prototyping also called as breadboard prototyping is based on building actual functional prototypes with minimal functionality in the beginning. The prototype developed forms the heart of the future prototypes on top of which the entire system is built. By using evolutionary prototyping, the well-understood requirements are included in the prototype and the requirements are added as and when they are understood.
Incremental prototyping refers to building multiple functional prototypes of the various sub-systems and then integrating all the available prototypes to form a complete system.
Extreme prototyping is used in the web development domain. It consists of three sequential phases. First, a basic prototype with all the existing pages is presented in the HTML format. Then the data processing is simulated using a prototype services layer. Finally, the services are implemented and integrated to the final prototype. This process is called Extreme Prototyping used to draw attention to the second phase of the process, where a fully functional UI is developed with very little regard to the actual services.