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How do I develop a Developers User Group?


We are a software house and need to get the various POS compaies that we work with, there developers input on our software.  Do any of you have some information about how to develop one and the general verbage about the benefits of a "user group".

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Monday, July 26, 2004

User Group for your software?

hmm.  I never worked at a tools vendor before, but I have founded a programming user group.

If it's in your companies interest to start this, I'd start with a short developers conference.  You can actually make money with this, but do it as a loss.  2 to 3 days of presentations and discussions.  Then set up a discussion group and start planning the next conference ...

If I read your post wrong and you are just looking to form a local user's group of programmers, I'd suggest aligning yourself with a parent group like the Perl Mongers and doing at bit of advertisement with the local colleges.

Good luck, (Matt H.)
Monday, July 26, 2004

Depending on the type of development we create mailing lists that users and developers can contribute to.  Some of them are purely informatory, name-release@ and so on.  But others are used as a means of getting information back from them.

That and the issue tracking site which is open to all of them.

For a more structured relationship with third party developers where you have a platform that they can develop to, you need a formalised relationship.

So, once you have all the documentation and training materials you need created, you invite developers to join the Developer Group.  There's an Annual subscription and they need to have undergone whatever training you believe they require so that they can call themselves a 'UnaPaloma Developer', and you probably give them a plaque they can hang on the wall.

You give them additional services such as validating their third party application and including it in your catalogue or web site, again for a cost.

The basic benefits that the developer gets include full documentation to allow them to develop their add ons, access to good technical developer support (and I mean good), automatic enrollment on marketing beta cycles and invitations to real technical beta releases.

The costs for membership and the services shouldn't be particularly to make a profit out of it.  Your fundamental goal in having a Developer Group is to grow your product, to get it into vertical markets or provide solutions that you alone don't have the resources to develop but at the same time you win, and begin to win big, on every installation you wouldn't have otherwise won.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, July 27, 2004

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