When do developers have the time to code any more?
CES, MWC, SXSW, Blackberry World, Google I/O, CTIA, and many more. It seems like there are multiple events every week—and the numbers are increasing. I am writing this from the Glue Conference in Denver which is focused on the cloud.
The comments from one of the speakers here got me thinking about this (James Governor of Redmonk). He talked about foraging and app development (and contrasted it to farming). Essentially, it is more important than ever for developers to get out and forage with their development. A lot of this can be done on their own—with great sites like Stack Overflow and Github (along with developer.att.com of course). But also the importance of them to get out and learn about best practices and short cuts—along with latest APIs and technologies. (Another keynote was from John Musser of Programmableweb—API growth continues its explosive growth both in numbers of APIs and usage).
Now, a lot of these people who travel to most of these events tend to be the similar group of evangelists and industry types (there are always familiar faces). However, I can tell there are groups of developers (most noticeably—we are starting to integrate hackathons into events as much as possible and we are having good success at almost all events). I think developers know they need to keep up with technology and network, but must be forcing some tough decisions on platform support and enablers—and this is difficult.
If you look at some of the apps that are becoming successful, they are often mashing up a few APIs in unique ways. We will be doing a case study in future on one of these, Aftership. This makes a lot of sense—if you look at when developers often become successful, it is when a new platform launches or when these use an enabler in some unique way (a presentation I did in past went through this in detail). So, when you combine the strong interest in mobile with the heavy growth in APIs, there are more possibilities than ever for developers. The many variables and rapidly evolving technologies are a challenge, but offers great opportunities for those developer-foragers who best figure out how to adapt.