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Rational Unified Process (RUP) is a software engineering tool, which compounds development aspects such as manuals, documents, codes, models, etc., with the procedural aspects of development such as techniques, mechanics, defined stages, and practices within a unified framework. This software related methodology is used for product designing, object orientation, web-enabled program development, etc., and was acquired by Rational Software Corporation, an IBM division, since 2003.

Explanation

This methodology is fast becoming a popular software development program to map business process and practices. Development is phased into four stages. RUP methodology is highly flexible in its developmental path, as any stage can be updated at any time. The first stage or inception centers on assessing needs, requirements, viability, and feasibility of the program or project. The second step or elaboration measures the architecture of the system's appropriateness based on the project needs. The third stage is the construction phase, wherein the actual software system is made, by developing components and features. This phase also includes the first release of the developed software. The final stage is that of transition, and marks the end of the development cycle, if all objectives are met. This phase deals with the training of the end users, beta testing, and the final implementation of the system.

Six Best Industry Practices of RUP

RUP is designed to incorporate the six best software industry practices for software development, while stressing strongly on object-oriented design. They are basically six ideas, when followed while designing any software project, will reduce errors and faults and ensure optimal productivity. The practices are listed below:

Develop Iteratively
Loops are created to add extra information or to facilitate processes that are added later in the development stage.

Requirements
Gathering requirements is essential to the success of any project. The end users' needs have to be built into the system completely.

Components
Large projects when split into components, are easier to test, and can be more methodically integrated into a larger system. Components allow the use of code reuse through the use of object-oriented programming.

Design Model Visual
Many projects use Unified Modeling Language (UML) to perform object-oriented analysis and designs, which consist of diagrams to visually represent all major components.

Quality and Defects Management
Testing for quality and defects is an integral part of software development. There also are a number of testing patterns that should be developed, to gauge the readiness of the project for its release.

Synchronized Changes
All components created by separate teams, either from different locations or on different platforms need to be synchronized and verified constantly.

RUP's developmental approach has proved to be very resourceful and successful for a number of reasons. The entire development process takes into account the changing requirements and integrates them. Risks and defects can not only be discovered but addressed, reduced, and eliminated in the integration process. As defects are detected, errors and performance bottlenecks can be rectified by making use of the several iterations (loops). RUP provides a prototype at the completion of each iteration, which make it easier for the developers to synchronize and implement changes.

Rational Unified Process methodology is designed to work as an online help that provides content, guidelines, processes templates, and examples for all stages of program development. To be a certified solution designer, authorized to use this methodology, one needs to get a minimum of 62% in IBM RUP certification examination.