What is Prototype Modeling in Software Engineering

Peter Martinez updated on 2024-06-06 13:45:22

In the Software industry, there are hundreds of new designs and ideas emerging daily. All these ideas won't come to market necessarily due to a lack of investments, resources, and a few other factors. One of the main reasons for this is the prototype. The prototype model in software engineering is the main factor that acts as a fuel in any software development. This model is very beneficial in the cases where project requirements are unknown or requirements need to be built while working on the project itself.

What is Prototype Model in Software Engineering

The prototype is a software development methodology in software engineering wherein the prototype is built, tested, reworked, and processed until an acceptable prototype is achieved. It is considered to be a base of the final system. Prototyping software engineering is a trial and error method that happens between a developer and the client. It is one of the popular software development life cycle methods wherein the requirements of the project are unknown beforehand, customers are not sure about the requirements and product or the software is developed, refined, and tested continuously as per customer feedback.

This prototype needs to hold always the expected logic as it is just a replica of the product which needs to be developed in the future. It is created with very limited functionality. A developer's proposals are evaluated and tested well before and can be tested before implementation. Prototype engineering can help in understanding the user-specific requirements which may be noticed by a developer. Prototype engineering is the best idea for complicated large systems wherein there is no existing system or a process that can help to understand and determine the requirements. Since the primary goal is to build an overall working system, many of the details are not built in the prototype.

Types of Prototype Model in Software Engineering

Engineering prototypes can be of different types based on the design and product to be built. Major ones are explained below

  • Throwaway or Rapid Prototyping
    This is also considered as the close-ended approach where very little efforts are needed to develop a prototype with a minimum analysis of the requirements. After knowing the actual requirements, the prototype is discarded and the development of the actual product starts. Continuous feedback from the customers drives the changes in the requirements and the prototype is continuously changed and developed until the proper requirements are obtained. This technique is best for exploring ideas and getting feedbacks instantly about the requirements of the customers.
  • Evolutionary Prototyping
    It is also called as breadboard prototyping and developed based on the actual prototype with very minimal functionalities in the beginning. The designed prototype will become the heart of the further prototype which will be designed with which the entire system will be built. Requirements with clarifications and understandings are added and other requirements are added now and then whenever they are being understood and clarified based on the customer's feedback. This helps in saving a lot of time and resources as well. Scratch development of the prototype every time is tedious, expensive, time-consuming, and frustrating. Projects with newer technologies adapt this methodology.
  • Incremental Prototyping
    The final product is divided into smaller prototypes and each one of them is designed and developed individually. Later all of them will be merged to get a single product. This methodology reduces the feedback time between the client and the developers.

  • Extreme Prototyping
    This methodology is mainly used in the web application development domain. The prototype is developed in three phases. Firstly all the existing pages are presented as a basic prototype in HTML format. Then using the services layer data processing is simulated. Finally, all these services are integrated and implemented to get the final and presentable prototype.

Stages of Prototype Model in Software Engineering

The prototyping model of software development is a complex process that has several steps as explained below.

  • New system requirements are defined in detail. This is done by contacting different users who represent all the possible departments or the areas of the existing system
  • A very basic design is created to understand the requirements
  • From the basic design, the very first prototype is designed which represents the approximate characteristics of the functionalities of the system
  • This prototype will be thoroughly evaluated by the users who make note of all the possible strength and weaknesses of the prototype
  • The developer will collect these things and analyzes them to enhance the prototype.
  • Again this second prototype will be evaluated in the same manner as the prototype
  • These steps are conducted on how many ever times required until the desired requirements are met
  • The system will be developed using the final prototype
  • This final system developed will undergo numerous tests and will be under routine maintenance to prevent large scale failures

Advantages and Disadvantages of Prototype Model

Software prototyping in software engineering has its pros and cons. A few of them are discussed below.


  • Errors can be detected in the early stage of the development as the users are actively involved in the process
  • Prototyping is considered as a risk-reducing activity many missing functionalities can be identified
  • Customer satisfaction can be ensured well before the customer feels the product
  • Better software solutions can be achieved with quick user feedbacks
  • Innovation and flexible designing is possible
  • Easy to understand and helps in effective communication between the team members
  • A well-developed product can be reused by the developers in the future for complicated projects


  • Slow and time-consuming process
  • Since the prototype will be of no use once the product is ready, time, money and resources invested will go waste at the end
  • Prototyping may increase the chances of excessive changes in the requirements. Hence there will be poor documentation
  • Developers may find it difficult to accommodate the change requests by the client
  • Few customers may not be interested in longer iterations cycles
  • A well-designed prototype can give a misconception to the client that their final product will be delivered sooner
  • Clients may also lose interest in the end product if the prototype is not convincing

The Best Tool to Make Prototype

Wondershare Mockitt is one of the best prototype model tool in software engineering which provide an abundant set of assets for free. Abundant set of widgets and icons which are available for free and is continuously updated. Templates such as finance, education, e-commerce, and other sectors are freely available. An in-experienced person also can start designing with these features. Drag and drop features enable users to create interactive gestures and interfaces. Framing of real device demonstrations is easy. Collecting feedback from clients is very simple. Editing with multiple users is easy and making changes with cloud collaboration is possible. All the team members can collaborate with ease. This tool is compatible with windows, mac, and android

prototype model in software engineering

Many dynamic effects can be built even without prior coding knowledge. Customization of the widgets is easy and the same can be reused in different projects with just a click. Sharing is east with just a URL or a QR code. The code on multiple platforms and specifications can be easily accessed by the developers. Rapid prototyping techniques in software engineering can be easily implemented. Importing designs from other platforms like a sketch is easy and make prototyping easy.