Many folks talk about developer enablement today because it’s a key success factor for a platform company. If you haven’t watched this video by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, you want to check it out. Also, my previous blog: CO2: The Formula For A Successful Developer Ecosystem.
To empower developers, we got to figure out who the developers are and what they want. It’s hard, if ever possible, to identify every developer in VMware community. But it’s normally easy to find out the types of the developers. In my observation, there are two types of developers (The title of this article is not that accurate, but it’s a title anyway) in VMware community.
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Computing Infrastructure Developers
These developers are normally with an IHV or ISV developing software to integrate their products with VMware or the other way around. A typical case is to expose a storage management system as a plug-in to vSphere Client, or include vSphere management in an existing management system.
No matter what they do, they are interested in VMware APIs at different levels, for example vSphere API, vCloud API, etc. To make them happy and productive, a good API story and technical support is the key.
General Software Developers
These developers are scattered everywhere in the industry, from high tech to traditional business. They use VMware just as any other end users, therefore they don’t necessarily need to use VMware APIs. They are actually the early adopters of VMware technology from the days of VMware Server (a.k.a. GSX).
You may think they don’t have anything needed from VMware. Actually they may. Because virtualization could impact software lifecycle, especially the software packaging and deployment phases, there are certain things virtualization can make a difference. For example, packaging applications as a virtual appliance or as a ThinApp is a good way to easy deployment. The key is then to offer good tooling to simplify and streamline the whole process.
It’s NOT enough to have a point product there, because most companies already have build and release process in place. No one wants to add a breakpoint, meaning you have to integrate with them seamlessly.
Population wise, the second type of developers are far more than the first. As VMware moving up along the software stack, it becomes more important to serve the general software developers.