The first year of the Application Developers Alliance, the Washington, D.C.-based organization that was formed, in part, to provide representation for software engineers and application developers, has proven quite productive.

Founded in January 2012, the Alliance’s membership has risen to more than 20,000 individual developers and about 120 companies. President Jon Potter and senior vice president Jake Ward said they cofounded the Alliance because they believed there was a real need for coders’ voices to be heard.

“We’d seen representative organizations pop up around the country that represent the companies that employ developers,” Ward said. “Those organizations focus on the software as an industry, without recognizing the importance of the individual coders.”

The Alliance helps developers with what Potter said was developers’ most pressing need right now: to know how to take an idea or app and turn it into a business. This is true for developers at startups, he said, as well as for those at brands that are trying to extend their marketing reach or deliver products through a mobile setting.

“The questions we hear are, ‘What are my revenue streams? What are my options? Who do I talk to? What’s been done? What’s succeeded?’ ” said Potter. “And that information is the type of thing that we have bundled together and put into DevsBuild.It, our resource center that is a library of content for our members, from our members, and curated and created by the Alliance.”

DevsBuild.It was launched in December 2012, is still in beta, and is free to individual developers. The Alliance said it answers development-related questions that developers have, but it doesn’t address coding at all. “We like to say it’s everything but the code,” Ward said.

The Alliance hosted more than 50 events in 2012, including a countrywide mobile app series. It said it plans to host a separate series this year on software patents, as well as additional conferences, summits, workshops, meetups, hackathons and webinars.

Four working groups were also launched in its first year. The groups focused on business and revenue; emerging technologies and research; health and medical apps;  and mobile payments. They are comprised of Alliance members and shape Alliance programs, policies and resources. They provide core expertise and guidance to the Alliance and its members through commissioned research, white papers, policy recommendations and best practices proposals.

Two more working groups—focusing on kids and education, and media and entertainment—are scheduled for launch this year.
The Alliance has also helped developers last year, Potter said, by providing advocacy in Washington on policies involving privacy of data in mobile apps and on mobile devices. He also said it worked closely with consumer groups around consumer privacy disclosures. In 2013, the Alliance plans to continue providing advocacy on these and other emerging software development topics.

Individual developers can join the Alliance for free by visiting Membership gives them access to the Alliance’s members-only DevsBuild.It resource. There is a fee for companies to join the Alliance, with a pricing structure based on the number of employees. Last year, for example, Potter said that the cost to join ranged from US$200 to $75,000.

All corporate members receive the same benefits regardless of the size of their organization or the annual fee it pays, Potter said. Corporate Alliance members receive a dedicated page on DevsBuild.It to customize content and distribute materials to the Alliance’s members. Other corporate benefits include business development opportunities, marketing support, events and programming, market research and intelligence, participation in Alliance working groups, service discounts, and policy advocacy.