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Friday, May 13, 2005

Platforms, OpenAPI's & Developers

Marc Hedlund has an excellent column on Attracting Developers to Your Platform . Marc offers some guidelines to attract developers to platform and open APIs. Excerpts with edits:
1.Make it completely easy for a developer to play with your tools. One-Click Playtime should be the goal.
2.Deployment should require a developer to agree to the rules of the market, but it should not require the developer to seek approval for their creation.
3.They make it, they own it. Any code they write is theirs, and they can take it away, back it up, sell it, and modify it to their hearts' content and without your approval.
4.Resist the urge to compete with your developers. Apple is terrible at this - a great MacOS X shareware app is likely to be in the next major release of the OS (e.g.: Audion/iTunes, Watson/Sherlock, Konfabulator/Dashboard,). Even if it isn't really "likely," the perception that Apple does this too much is discouraging for Mac developers and bad for the Mac market. If you have to own something a developer has made, acquire it from them and give them a nice payout.
5.Let them compete with each other.
6.Don't put an upper limit on developers' success. The best incentive for a developer to contribute code to your market is the possibility of supporting themselves through it - the dream of the self-employed coder working whenever and from wherever and doing well at it.
Very practical and relevant at a time when so many players are making claims of standards and providing open API's for developers to extend and develop applications and add-ons around the platform.

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"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"