Seamless Integration

(Photo credit: The Bees)

There’s an unwritten rule in the software business that any integration between two systems must be described as “seamless,” the result being that the word no longer has any meaning.

My favorite seamless integration storyline took place years ago when IBM had a joint marketing pact with Vignette, and offered “seamless integration” between the WebSphere application server and the Vignette content management system. In fact, the two systems weren’t integrated at all by any definition of the word “integrated” that I know about. We had to write our own interfaces to move data between them.

The funny thing is, that is seamless integration if you think about it, in that there’s no seam between two things that are not connected at all.

For example, my shirt neatly integrates sleeves, cuffs, pocket, collar . . . but not seamlessly. There are seams all over the place. Whereas the shirt is seamlessly integrated with my pants. I can stuff the shirt in there and if I don’t move around too vigorously, it will stay there and not come out.

What’s so bad about seams, anyway?

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