In a bid to raise awareness of their products and strengthen relationships with developers, vendors are offering increasingly comprehensive developer programs.
BEA Systems, vendor of Java server WebLogic, launched its BEA Developer Program last month. The program is targeted at "all sorts of developers, including competitors, individuals, small development shops, even students", according to Mike Stone, national partners manager at BEA.
Developers can sign up free on the BEA Web site, and gain access to extensive information resources, from special interest discussion groups to libraries of code samples.
Stone said the purpose is not only to raise awareness of BEA products, but also to foster an environment conducive to sharing code and advice, in order to further knowledge of Java and J2EE.
"At the end of the day BEA needs skilled resources," Stone said.
The BEA Online Developer Centre will help developers share information directly with each other and receive expert advice from BEA. In addition, the most active members of the program will enjoy incentives through the BEA Miles-Per-Hour Program.
Stone said other vendors, including Sun Microsystems and IBM, also have well-developed developer program offerings.
"The Sun developer program is very good - it's primarily aimed at the promotion of Java. The IBM Program is in its infancy from the Web server perspective.
[The key differentiation is] we've been very open with our technology from day one, which has enabled us to be more nimble in response to feedback and build our product more quickly," Stone said.
IBM's developerWorks program includes technical support and marketing, with online content and resources targeted at open, cross-platform standards and technologies like Java, XML and Linux. In addition, software developer IBM business partners receive support through PartnerWorld for Developers, a worldwide program designed to help them reach broader markets, lower their costs of doing business, and take their products to market faster.
-IBM developerWorks: www.ibm. com/developerWorks -IBM Partner World: www.developer.ibm.com.