Can developers find strength in numbers?

Maybe the solution to the device fragmentation quagmire bedeviling mobile applications development lies in bringing an end to developer fragmentation. At least that's the thesis put forward last week at Sun Microsystems' annual Java Mobile & Embedded Developer Days Conference, where Sun technical evangelist for the mobile and embedded developer community Terrence Barr proposed the creation of an industry-wide mobile developer alliance that would address issues like device fragmentation, the user experience, security policies and deployment while seeking to improve relations with operators and OEMs.  

"The idea is to bring developers together to give them a common voice and try and work on some of the fragmentation and issues that the industry has," Barr said in an interview with InfoWorld, stressing the alliance is envisioned as an agnostic effort and not Java-specific. "It's not necessarily [about] battling your enemies, but it's about getting everybody on the same page," Barr said. "At the end of the day, [developers] are the ones who have to make all this stuff work." For now, at least, the alliance remains in beta: In a follow-up email to InfoWorld, Barr writes "As expected we did not come to any definitive conclusions or action items but we agreed there are a lot of opportunities we need to investigate and that the discussion will continue online in a yet-to-be-determined open forum."

On the immediate horizon is Verizon Wireless' promised Open Development Conference, which the operator announced last week will take place in New York City on March 19-20. According to Verizon, the conference will focus largely on device development, and will explore the technical standards devices must meet to operate on the company's network. "Before consumers can have open access, you have to have open development," said Verizon's newly-minted vice president of open development Anthony Lewis in a prepared statement. "In hosting this conference, our aim is to jumpstart the development community by sharing information needed to develop devices for our network that achieve our network performance goals while making it easy for them to deliver devices." Looks like developers and operators are about to become far better acquainted, industry alliance or otherwise. -Jason