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Built it and they didn't come: The right way to build and maintain developer communities



The problem of attracting developers to a community is resulting in growing levels of consternation for many companies. The successes enjoyed by existing developer-based communities producing tangible results do not necessarily show the critical steps required to build such a community from the ground up. By examining the elements of a successful developer community and the archetypes of the necessary participants, I clarify the process by which developers are enticed into, and kept active within, a community. This process is analyzed using qualitative analysis of developer communities and several example communities. This paper challenges community-building methodologies, corporate culture, and the prevailing attitudes surrounding current attempts at developer enticement. Typical approaches are usually seen as insincere or lacking in value, but with appropriate community management and a slight shift in messaging and transparency, true organic growth can be achieved. © 2011 Alcatel-Lucent.

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