The resolutions all developers should make (and keep) in 2013

Shane Schick

Maybe 2013 will be a lucky year for developers, unless they don't do the things they need to do to be successful. Yes, January may be a pretty arbitrary time to set goals, but why not jump on this particular bandwagon and use it for the motivating force that it can be?

Every developer will have his own set of opportunities and challenges, but in the spirit of being helpful FierceDeveloper offers the following ideas to get you started on your 2013 action plan:

Be consistent on social media: Don't leave Twitter accounts inactive for months. Don't let users stumble across your site only to find a blog that hasn't been updated since you were in alpha. If you have a video demo of your app, think about a sequel as new features and functionality are added. Even weekly posts across various channels can be enough to have an impact. Social media is an inexpensive and effective tool for connecting with an audience and engaging with them, but not if you give up on it the way so many consumers give up on their New Year's fitness regimens.

Toot someone else's horn: Developers can usually be counted upon to talk up their own app, but if you're in this business it's probably because you love other apps and games, too. Mention these on your blog or at conferences. Avoid direct competitors, obviously, but if you identify the leaders in your segment--like health and wellness apps, for example, or word games--you'll demonstrate credibility about your market savvy and possibly forge new ties with like-minded developers.

Fill out your evaluation forms: If you attend a conference or even a hackathon where feedback is requested, provide it. Let this be the year we stop complaining about bad keynotes, lackluster workshops and ill-conceived networking events, and start working more collaboratively and constructively with those who produce them.

Champion privacy publicly: 2013 could mark a time when governments issue even more draconian laws about how developers could manage consumer data and permissions around collecting and storing it. Rather than wait for the worst, work with the App Trust Project or simply strive to create as good a privacy policy as the app you submit to the app store.

Work it like you've got an MBA: The best apps come out of developers' passions, but before you start coding, draft a real business plan this time: something that includes thoughts on how to best handle discoverability, monetization and engagement. Assess what kinds of differences the plan makes to the end result, and then tweak as needed.

Risk everything (by imagining you have nothing): At least once a month, put aside an hour where you imagine a world in which all the distractions are removed. Don't think about your day job. Put aside whether your app is going to be a hit or not. Forget about the mistakes or failures you've made as a developer. If you had no other obstacles and a clean slate, what kind of app would you make? Now start making it.--Shane