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Both practitioners and academics often frown on pragmatic and opportunistic reuse. Large organizations report that structured reuse methods and software product lines are often the way to go when it comes to efficient software reuse. However, opportunistic that is, nonstructured reuse has proven profitable for small to medium-sized organizations. Here, we describe two start-ups that have opportunistically and pragmatically developed their products, reusing functionality from others that they could never have built independently. We demonstrate that opportunistic and pragmatic reuse is necessary to rapidly develop innovative software products. We define pragmatic reuse as extending software with functionality from a third-party software supplier that was found without a formal search-and-procurement process and might not have been built with reuse in mind. We define opportunistic reuse as extending software with functionality from a third-party software supplier that wasn't originally intended to be integrated and reused.
Date of Publication: Nov.-Dec. 2008