Developer Compensation? (2014)

Dear SmartThings,

You need to put something in place NOW to compensate the developer community. I keep thinking of @625alex 's achievement of the Web Dashboard, and @geko 's Smart Alarm; IMHO, the best SmartApps I have seen to date. And while I have no use for Smart Alarm, I have this overwhelming urge to send @625alex a few bucks for his cleverness and tenacity.

I can’t help but think what other cool things we might have in place if Devs could actually receive some compensation for their sweat equity. In fact, I am a little shocked nothing is in place already.

In some communities people use PayPal and accept donations. Works pretty good.

But it is voluntary and doesn’t really “attract” developers. @625alex maybe isn’t even looking for compensation. Most of us here at this point are simply doing things for themselves and sharing with the community.

We all know the discovery mechanism for SmartApps is pretty much non-existent and needs addressing, add an app store type mechanism in conjunction with that and it would not only be an additional revenue stream for SmartThings, it would attract more serious development.

just my 2¢

Or perhaps we could be really progressive, and right underneath the “author” definition in the code there could be a bitcoin address for donations to be sent to.

I have thought about this many times. As an ex-programmer, yes there is such a thing (30 years was enough), I don’t want to learn any more IDE’s or languages. I think there should be an app store for ST where we can buy app’s for a few bucks. There should also be a queue for devs to pull projects from for the app store. I want to just post a simple (for the initiated) project like turn on lights with motion but only between sunrise and sunset (yes I know this exists) and have someone from the pool pick it up, write it and post it to the store for sale. Stuff like this a few hours away with experience and code snippets.
Other things like DSC alarm native integration I would be happy to pay 20-30 bucks; there are a lot of these systems and the devs could make some decent coin.

This is an excellent idea, but…

Right now, finding anything is a royal pain. And to be fair, the search mechanisms for both The App Store and Google Play (really Google!?) are inexplicably broken. This needs to be addressed at the same time as the purchase mechanism. The opportunity to queue a project should only be offered if a suitable app does not already exist.

My goal would be to not burden the user with 95 different apps that do the same thing (like the app store and google play does). All apps should be approved by SmartThings, and rejected if they already exist. This fosters creativity and new ideas instead of also rans and marketing efforts (Devs officially inflating ratings, etc.).

Of course this presents some challenges in designing a search mechanism for comparing an apps functional criteria. And how does a developer, who has set out to do something they feel is original, determine that it has been done already?

I am curious to hear how you all would handle this in a perfect world. I have some initial thoughts of a kind of rule based search mechanism, which would be fine for some things, but wholly inadequate for something like Alex’s Web Dashboard.

Another thought would be to filter results based on the devices available in a users setup, or possibly let them start by selecting which one of their devices the want to involve in an app, and walk them through the possibilities that currently exist.

This “can” get pretty complicated pretty fast; or do we just want it now and KISS?


To be clear the vision is t put into place a marketplace where developers are compensated for their contributions if they choose to be. Like everything else it is a matter of priorities. One one thread, it is platform stability, on another it is a tablet interface, on a multitude of others it is “integrate this device” — we just can’t do it all at once even though we want to do it all.

Not everyone likes pepperoni. Eliminating apps that are too similar would swiftly destroy the marketplace. Competition fosters innovation and will regulate the pricing. If they only allowed one sunrise to sunset app, the developer could charge whatever he or she wanted and I really don’t want to pay 29.99 for that feature.