Over on his new blog Scott wrestles with the pending future of Smart Clients and points to this interesting link from Soma, a Microsoft development manager on development transparency:
“My vision over the long haul is to be able to share every spec that we write, be able to share every build that comes our of my main build lab, be able to share our internal discussions around feature tradeoffs and get your input so that we make the right tradeoffs, etc. – in summary, treat my customer community as a key extension to my development team.”
Soma breaks down some different ways to get the community involved. They sound terrific.
One additional idea I’ve been advocating is to bring in influential community developers at key points. For instance, as a new API is being designed and developed, invite in a few developers and let them at it. Work closely or side-by-side with them (yes, sometimes literally) to grow their ideas into community apps or commercial products–much like a couple of developers would do themselves in the community. It would be a unique community-oriented twist to “open” development. I imagine IP issues will be a concern but it could be a great way to gain rapid adoption of new technologies. Think of what something like this would have meant for the Tablet PC, or OneNote’s expanding API, or other new Microsoft products and services.