First of all, the transition from WSAD to RAD was purely a naming one. WSAD was delivered prior to IBM's acquisition of Rational, and RAD 6.0 was simply the next version of "WSAD" released under the Rational brand. RAD is entitled as a free upgrade to all active WSAD customers; there is no new cost - describing the transition from WSAD to RAD as complex or costly is either uninformed, or intentionally misleading.
The RAD value proposition is it's ability to improve the productivity of developers across the entire development life cycle. Some examples:
- Some other products provide simplistic support of UML, that requires iterative generation of java code, followed by import actions to keep the diagrams and code in sync. This round trip engineering approach was available back in Rational Rose, and is a long way from state of the art now. RAD provides much more than that - for example, we provide UML visualization, which allows you to view, edit, and update Java code using UML views. There's no separate model to get out of sync; you're editing the live code, but in UML.
- All modern IDEs include support for database interaction and definition, but RAD has the benefit of working with the DB2 developers to provide exceptional support (for all major databases); RAD includes graphical views of your data topology, a SQL scrapbook, impact analysis tools, the ability to write user-defined functions (UDFs) & stored procedures, and phenomenal support for embedded SQLJ.
- RAD has in-depth support for application profiling, analysis & testing; you can execute, monitor, and trace the flow and performance of your application, right out of the box.
For additional information, please see Tim’s complete response on the WEbSphere Community Blog.