Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Weekly Buzzword: Integration

Ah yes - integration - sounds greek, or latin, or something - sophisticated, no doubt. But what does it really mean?

Well, I would guess it means at least a couple of things.... going back to the theme about how software developers are rigid and talk, think, and dream in 1's and 0's - probably the simple answer would be - integration is just connecting to systems. It's like plugging a plug into a light socket - simple, straight forward - not a lot of room for interpretation.

Ok - let's go back to thinking like human beings again.....the above referenced analogy works.... insofar as you recognize that not only will you be plugging the two things in - you'll be inventing the light socket and the plug from scratch, with less than two napkins worth of drawings to help you along your quest...

So what does this mean in the real world? It means there are shades of grey, dummy. Integration isn't just connecting the two pieces it's fashioning the connectors - if you need to - or maybe reusing partially applicable connectors. At any rate - it's not black and white.

So we have a responsibility here - don't let non-technicals blow it off and say - oh yeah, we're just integrating.... make sure they (or you) think first. Inversely - don't let them say OH MY GOSH WE HAVE TO INTEGRATE - make sure they (or you) think first. After you think - then you have the right to casually blow it off or to get extremely apprehensive - whichever is appropriate.

In FACT - another action item could be taken from this week's buzzword: maybe we should design a few subclasses, revealing a little more information about the actual activity that is taking place in your "integration".

That is all.

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