If there is one thing I have learned about the world of software development and standardization of methods, patterns and even languages, it’s that if you come to the developer, you win.
What does that mean, exactly? For software development tool makers and standards bodies, it means that you have to treat your users like consumers. This means ease of use, comprehension and support are the most important things when dealing with developers.
Obviously, developers love many things. They love beer and pizza. They love extremely powerful tools like the one-two punch of C and GCC. Developers love familiarity and appreciate anything that can save them time.
Over the past decade, the idea of what makes a developer a developer has solidified, and the world has grown to include millions of them. But there have been times when the developer was not the focus of a development tool effort.
The days of WS-* and SOA were such a time. Certainly, everyone would say they were thinking very closely about developers and were trying to provide them with powerful solutions to problems that would potentially arise from a service-based world.
But in the end, the entire shebang was replaced by REST as a method of communication between services. Why? Because it was dirt simple. When given the choice between an option that requires only a single-sentence description, and a book-sized standard, the sane developer will always choose the simpler of the two.
That’s not to say extremely complex solutions and standards aren’t necessary, but only to say that getting your API, your SDK, or your new language adopted by developers in the millions requires such thinking.
And this is the world in which many enterprises will soon be living. Developers are the most precious resource in our business economy right now. Every type of entrepreneurial endeavor can be made more efficient, more profitable, more defensible given the proper use of software. It’s the modern-day equivalent of high seas sailing ships for 16th-century European nations: The bigger your fleet, the more of the world you can control.