Rocky Road For preDevCamp, But It Keeps on Trucking | webOS Nation

Rocky Road For preDevCamp, But It Keeps on Trucking

by Jason Robitaille Sat, 30 May 2009 10:11 am EDT

There was a bit of a bump in the road this past week for preDevCamp.  The story goes something like this.  The preDevCamp guys (@whurley, @giovanni, and @dancrumb) have been asking Palm if they would like to directly support them.  So earlier this week, when Palm invited them to a meeting, the trio were more than eager to hear what Palm had to say.

The trio were given the usual non-disclosure agreements (NDA), so that they wouldn't talk about any super secret Palm secrets they might learn of.  This is where the trouble started.  See, NDAs are like fight club, you don't talk about them.  Unfortunately, that's not quite what happened, the team tweeted:

somethin's a brewin' - call scheduled 4 wed w/ @palm_inc & @préDevCamp (@whurley, @dancrumb & @giovanni) shhhh....NDA's involved & all. :-)12:21 PM May 14th from web

Innocent mistake as it was, it seemed to be enough for Palm to claim breaking the NDA and subsequently canceling the meeting.  This is where the confusion started, as it seemed to some that Palm was backing out of any support of preDevCamp.  Whurley, Giovanni, and Dan each wrote their own blog posts on the issue, criticizing Palm's developer relations.  To that extent, both Whurley and Giovanni backed out of working on preDevCamp and setup an "unregister" button on the preDevCamp website for those who wish to back out as well.  In other words, Palm slipped up a bit and may have seriously hurt their relations with some of their most passionate potential developers.

We at, wanted to hear both sides of the story, so we contacted Palm who told us the following:

Folks, we’re 100% supportive of preDevCamp and anybody who is interested in developing for webOS.

We just aren’t ready to pull the trigger on everything publicly yet. So it’s tricky for us to navigate around confidentiality and find a way to engage that works for everybody.

But we’re committed to continuing the conversation. Taking the NDA out of the equation was intended to open the door, not close it.

Since then, Palm did come out publicly at their Palm Developer Network Blog, writing:

  • Palm supports preDevCamp 100%
  • We overreacted to the whole disclosure issue.  We’ve been in stealth and super secret mode for so long now, we needed a real world conversation to see how we needed to work things so everybody can operate in their own environment.
  • As messy as it feels right now, the passion of the community is incredibly positive

Furthermore, Lisa Brewster, the developer heading the San Diego preDevCamp, "had a very productive phone call with Pam, @palm's VP of Dev Mkting" and Giovanni has written a more positive follow-up blog post. Thankfully, it looks as if everything is getting back on track. 

If you think about it, it does make a bit of sense for a loose-knit group like preDevCamp to not operate under NDA -- developer communities work best when everybody is allowed to share everything they know in an open and transparent way (as anybody who remembers the @#@%% NDA for the iPhone's SDK can attest).  Getting inside information is great, obviously, but it's not as great as a vibrant developer community with real support from the company who makes the OS they're developing for. That's the real goal here and by all appearances it's happening.

We all at have been conflicted about the whole preDevCamp/Palm brouhaha and it's disappointing that these miscues happened, but we're glad to see relations normalized.

Oh, and for those wondering, preDevCamp has been officially scheduled for June 13th.  If you haven't already, you can still sign-up at  Let's just hope the SDK is out by then or it might be a little anticlimactic, eh?

Update: Giovanni responds below in the comments. Thanks Gio.