Cool Tools and Technologies for Developers
A main theme for our Summit Hackathon this year will be Wearables. They offer great opportunities for developers—but as with any new platform (and in this case, in many proprietary form factors) it can be tough for developers. Fortunately, there are better tools than ever to help.
With the growth in APIs, many developers are looking to integrate them to help differentiate their apps. One great tool to help with RESTful APIs is the Spring Framework (spring.io). It is focused on Java-based apps and seems to have an enterprise focus—providing not just a client to consume web services, but guidance on building APIs. However, from a consumer developer perspective, they also make it easy to integrate social feeds from Twitter or Facebook.
One technology more targeted at consumer developers is Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL). Their specs and technology are focused on the HD video and digital interfaces to connect Smartphones to HDTVs. I first came across them when I was trying to display some demos. As users are looking to share more content on multiple screens, this is an easy way for developers to enable this. More than this, MHL is investing to help developers who integrate their technology to promote their applications.
As discovery and marketing remain a big consumer concern, another useful tool is Fiksu. Their framework can help devs segment and target their ideal user base. Many big developers already have and use these capabilities—but it’s also very helpful for smaller devs. With the large amount of competition, the integration of such tools that integrate big data and provide useful guidance is critical.
There is an emerging category of tools that helps developers test their apps and support their customers better. AT&T touted Crittercism early, but now there are others like Crashlytics, Vessel (formerly Zubhium), and HockeyApp. They all provide methods to collect crash reports and gather customer feedback. All these have been growing quickly in popularity as developers are noticing their strong utility.
Then for gamers, social networks are important for discovery. I think many are familiar with PlayPhone or Gree, but some emerging players in the space include HeyZap, Papaya Social, and PlayHaven. In some of my recent speeches I have talked about the large need for developers to use social engagement to aid distribution and about the continuing relevance of network externalities. Although it would be easier if there were one dominant network, developers should probably look at joining a few of these.
Another tool I like is the Little Eye performance analysis tool. This is similar to our Application Resource Optimizer that can help developers improve battery life and that is really important to our customers. Then there have been a proliferation of cloud tools—one I think is interesting is the Cloud9 IDE. This allows developers to code in the cloud and make collaboration easy. Finally, for those developers who need funding they should check our appbackr. It is great that there is a crowdfunding site focused just on developers— it’s really a great way to help new developers get started.
Image by Jenn Durfey on Flickr. Some rights reserved.