You say, “Potato,” I say, “Multi-Source Development”

Which is more appealing, 'hybrid development' or 'multi-source development'?

I’m trying to keep the carbs down, so in my house we wrestle more with the tomAYto/toMAHto distinction. A quick lunchtime survey in the Black Duck lunchroom suggested to me that developers may be less carb conscious, but they were into semantic distinctions. I stumbled into a critique the marketing team’s coining the phrase “Multi-Source Development.” Developers today are taking a fundamentally different approach to writing code. Gone are the

days of starting with a blank screen and typing 10 PRINT “HELLO WORLD!” Enabled by modern languages and object-oriented coding, creating applications and products today is much more about assembling pieces stitching them together. Hardware development followed a similar evolution. Early digital developers went from AND and OR gates to D flip-flops and one-shots to microprocessors to systems on a chip. But hardware guys never went extinct, their value-add just shifted to being good at finding the right parts and putting them in clever ways to solve customer problems.So, back to the lunchroom discussion. “Hybrid development” was proposed as rolling off the tongue more easily than “multi-source development.” Yes, but doesn’t hybrid just imply combining two things? Anyone developing code today is getting components from many places: Other in-house projects, outsourcers, third parties…and, of course, open source. “Mixed-source development” was popular because it gets across the message that code components from whatever the source are being mixed together in a single application. And an advantage is that Microsoft uses the term. Yeah, but on the other hand Microsoft uses the term. That’s when I went back to my office.So what is the best term to describe mixing together components from multiple sources with proprietary code to most efficiently create applications to address real customer problems? Maybe we should call it (drum roll please) “Software Development.”

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