Whatever happened to the Six Apart Professional Network?

When Movable Type 3.0 was released on May 15 a professional network was planned and better communication with developers promised. The Plug In to Movable Type 3.0 Developer’s Contest came and went and to developers not attending the BlogOn awards ceremony it seems the network remains silent. The contest page has not even been updated with the list of winners. Two months later and Six Apart may have succeeded at getting developers out of the woodwork. Designers, consultants, IT/IS managers, and enthusiasts are still untapped areas of the idealized network. Movable Type 3.1 highlights the ability of independent developers through its plugin pack. The new version and its plugin pack provides a great opportunity to work with developers to benefit the platform. It’s time to make a move, reach out, and build a better platform. I would love to help build the network and work on some solutions of my own. Hey Anil! Hire me! What does Six Apart need to do to build a better network and expand its platform?
  1. Create an official site (or subdomain) for the Six Apart Professional Network. There will be categories for plugin developers, tool developers, specification developers, designers, and consultants. There should also be a rants and raves section to collect information on how Movable Type and TypePad are used.
  2. Certify plugins, designs, and tools as certified for TypePad, Movable Type, or both. Pass a series of validation tests specific to the version of a product or specification and receive a nice looking logo to display on your own page and within your Professional Network profile.
  3. Classify all submissions for easy directory access.
  4. Create a rating and review system for community participation and active screening.
  5. Assign a Six Apart consultant to answer any questions from members of the developer network regarding demand for software or services.
  6. Allow community input regarding default templates. The current templates do not validate as strict XHTML and use inconsistent attributes (onClick vs. onclick for example). Designers have an interest in maintaining a strong default template for easy skin creation. Help the experts do the work for you.
  7. Six Apart road show. Take a domestic road trip, stopping at Apple Stores and other technology locations along the way. Introduce people to TypePad and Movable Type and the world of blogging in general. Meet with Professional Network members and general enthusiasts at each stop on the tour to educate them on how to get started and what the network can do for them.
  8. Hold community meetings. WordPress does a good job at this.
  9. Create an advisory committee of the most active members of the professional network in their respective disciplines. This committee could be designated a title such as Professional Network MVPs.
Six Apart should reach out to developers, designers, and solutions providers and become a community heavyweight. They have willing participants who need to be motivated and appreciated. Tap that asset.