It seems that the idea of having a professional association for REALbasic has some legs. Many people have left messages and contacted me privately offering their support and giving us some ideas. Thank you!
A question that was asked to me privately was one that I think bears repeating: Why should should you join a REALbasic developer association? What does it do for you?
An association is an advocate for you. Individually, none of us mean much to REAL Software. An organization for professional developers using REALbasic might have a *little* more sway with RS. I’m not saying it will, but the chances are better. Some have mentioned having the organization buying into the Developer program and determining what to use the hot fixes for. I’m not entirely sure that it’s the best use of whatever funds the organization has, but it’s worth looking into.
Another idea that’s been floating around is to provide a survey of all RB users and present this survey data to REAL Software. RS probably has hundreds of enhancement requests and this is one way that we could influence their decisions for upcoming versions. Obviously there’s no guarantee that they’d listen, but a bunch of professionals could pull more weight than an individual.
An association is an educational tool. In the ideal world, RS would have a ton of white papers and general how to examples on their website. Often their examples are so simple that most people don’t find them useful. An association is a good place to learn more about the specifics of the language and product. This could mean a code repository of some sort.
I think it’s entirely possible that the association would eventually do some sort of certification program along with study guides. Imagine having a spiffy “REALbasic Certification” logo on your website. It gives you more credibility in the eyes of potential customers.
An association is a marketing tool for REALbasic. REALbasic is a great cross-platform tool but it is sometimes tough to convince customers that anything with ‘basic’ in the name can be taken seriously. A professional association tells the world that, yes, RB is serious and that there are professionals using it. This would also help with people who think that RB is just for hobbyists.
An association is for like minded individuals. One of the reasons why I like going to Real World is to talk with other REALbasic developers. I can’t do that everywhere because REALbasic just isn’t used by a lot of individuals. An association gives me one more place to share and ask questions without the ubiquitous forum monkey badgering me on why “RB Sux”. I don’t have time for that – my time is too valuable to waste on that garbage.
An association can be a marketing tool for you. I envision a website that you can go to and find, in a single click, all of the association developers for hire, where they’re located, how many employees and other useful statistics. As far as I know, there is no such website. You would no longer have to rely upon REAL Software for your marketing contacts.
Also, imagine having a spiffy logo for use on your website as a member of this professional association. It gives you more credibility in the eyes of potential customers.
An association can be a money saver. As association could negotiate deals to save money on magazines, books, tools, libraries, controls and classes about and for REALbasic. Become a member and get a 10% discount on “X” plugin or “Y” utility. That alone could have a membership pay for itself.
Those are some quick and dirty ideas on why a professional REALbasic association is a great idea and what it can do for you. What are your thoughts?