Rapid Programming

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Definition: Rapid Programming

RAPID is a high-level programming language used to control ABB (ASEA Brown Bover, a Swiss manufacturer of robots) industrial robots. It stands for Robot Application Programming Interface Delegate. It is a set of data structures that simplifies the process of communicating among multiple diverse robots and their control and command systems. It uses some English words like IF and FOR. RAPID was introduced by ABB in 1994 along with S4 Control System, superseding the ARLA programming language.

The features included in the language are:

1) Routine parameters:

• Procedures - used as a subprogram.

• Functions - return a value of a specific type and are used as an argument of an instruction.

• Trap routines - a means of responding to interrupts.


2) Arithmetic and logical expressions

3) Automatic error handling

4) Multi-tasking

5) Modular programs


Like other languages, one needs have a detailed knowledge of RAPID to completely understand it. The RAPID editor that comes with Robot Studio 5.15 is used to write a code. The editor provides a development environment very similar to Microsoft Visual Studio, but for the RAPID language. It gives suggestions and helps us in writing a robot program. Default arguments can be filled in automatically in the editor which in turn provides instantaneous feedback on the correctness of the source code. A RAPID reference manual is also in place (on pressing F1) that opens at the correct page and allows to delve into the details of the instruction which we are unsure of. The RAPID data editor displays the data in an Excel-like table and provides excellent overview. Unlike the RAPID editor, that is part of the Basic functionality of Robot Studio, the data editor is a Premium feature that is available for subscribed users exclusively.

A simple RAPID program to calculate the area of a rectangle:


MODULE Main Module

VAR num length;

VAR num width;

VAR num area;

PROC main ()

length: =10;

width: =5;

area: =length*width;

TPWrite “The area of the rectangle is” \Num:=area;




RAPID is basically a compatibility layer permitting robots to exchange information in different languages and allowing other operators to heterogeneous communicate with robots in an uniform way. The RAPID specification also includes APIs (Application Programming Interface) and definitions for messages and services that support supervisory telerobotics operations over near-Earth time delay. Currently, the RAPID system can be viewed as a software reference implementation for remote operations.


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