Building Developer Platforms

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 from 4:45 – 5:30pm in B201


How do you transform your site or service into a platform others build on top of? How do you clear the path, lower the barriers, and make it easy for new developers to get started?


While working on the Apps Framework team at Jive Software, I built a PaaS-like system for Jive Apps. These apps are based on the OpenSocial standard, which consist of a Gadget XML file and all associated front-end assets including HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and image files, backend-optional.

Inspired by frameworks like Rails and services like Heroku, I set about building a system for reducing the friction of bringing new developers onto the platform and getting them building new apps quickly. The system consists of several components: a command line tool which creates applications and communicates with the backend to perform various tasks, the Git version control system for tracking changes to source code, and the backend server, which provides an API, hosts the Git repositories as well as the apps, and communicates with other systems to register apps in the apps market, install apps on a sandbox, and helps developers manage OAuth services, collaborators, and SSH keys.

This talk will discuss how the system was built, what components were used, and how you might build such a system yourself.

Speaking experience

Previous talks:
- Building Jive Apps @ JiveWorld 2010
- Agile JavaScript Testing @ Open Source Bridge 2009
- Using OpenLayers - a JavaScript Mapping API @ WhereCampPDX 2008
- Auto-scaling EC2 @ RailsConf 2007 jointly with Amazon during the early days of AWS

Slide decks:

Agile JavaScript Testing

SproutCore - A next generation javascript framework

All About Sammy - The Client-side JS framework inspired by Ruby's Sinatra