Software designed in and for a particular social situation or context. Clay Shirky explains how this works in practice, with some examples taken from his class at NYU. See discussion here, including sceptical comment by Lucas. See also comments by James Governor.
Situated software resists the traditional software engineering pressure
towards generalization, and apparently disregards the economics of
scale/scope. Instead it works solely within a collaborative
socio-technical system (the "community"); the conditions for the success
of the software (including meaning and trust) are co-created by the
members of the community.
One of the earliest forms of situated
software was the spreadsheet. Power users built themselves complicated
structures using Visicalc or Lotus 123 or Excel. These were essentially
non-transferable artefacts with many hidden assumptions, but they served
a useful purpose within a given context.
This illustrates the
fact that situated software is assisted by the existence of tools and
platforms that provide generalized support for situated software. This
is one interpretation of the software factory idea.
In the Boxer
Model of Collaborative Composition, situated software appears to be a
clockwise-dominant process, contrasting with the anticlockwise-dominant
processes of traditional software engineering.
Related Concepts: Situated Action (Lucy Suchman). Situated Software Architecture (P Taylor).