Competing for developer mindshare

21 01 2010

Microsoft focused on it for many years.  The Professional Developers Conference was where to be as a developer.  It felt like BillG’s show.  There were great tools to show off, lots of hype about where Microsoft’s platforms were going to be in 18-24 months, and a feeling that you could build anything with their software. As Bill moved away from Microsoft, so did that feeling.

I didn’t feel that focus on developers from any other company.  Then in 2008 Apple introduced their SDK for the iPhone.  Suddenly, from the company that has long loved creative types I felt love for the developer.  And pretty quickly we saw the results of that, in thousands of applications.

Then came Google, with their first developer conference in 2008.  Once again, I felt some love, a real desire to court developers.  Since then we have seen so many companies make headway in opening up their tools and platforms to software developers.  Today Amazon announced a development kit for the Kindle.  Suddenly, developers are being courted by many different platforms.

Here’s what I think.  We are seeing a second wave of the Internet frenzy of 10 years hence.  Applications are getting smaller, more pointed, and easier to integrate with each other.  And I think we will all benefit from this.  Developers will not end up creating bloated sofware of which users will use a small percentage of capabilities and features.  Users will be able to buy just the specific pieces they need, not a bloated package to boil the ocean.

I’m excited about the coming year, to see the great platforms and the applications that will get built on them.

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