How to Define Your Developer Community

To help your developer community, you must first define what the community is.

I’m active in the Flutter community as a member. I’ll use this Google-led developer community as an example of how companies can define their developer community.

The navbar of the main Flutter site shows what the Google team working on Flutter mean by community.

Before clicking on the Community tab, let’s first figure out what is not considered “Community”.


Docs are the most important thing in the navbar. Docs are organized into 6 sections.

The showcase section looks slick.

Top Developer Community Sites Managed by Google


The rest of the navbar has community information.

The three icons to the right of the search icon represent three critical platforms that Google manages within the larger list of community resources:

  1. Twitter with 150,000 followers
  2. YouTube with 318,000 subscribers
  3. GitHub with 125,000 stars

Real-World Use of Flutter Developer Community

Of the information in the navbar, this is what I personally use as a member of the community:

  1. Docs - use Flutter API docs every day. The documentation is excellent.
  2. YouTube - I look at tutorials from the FlutterDev YouTube channel once a week. I am not a subscriber.
  3. GitHub - I look at issues once every two weeks, usually only when something is broken. I almost never open an issue myself. I comment on issues about twice a year.
  4. Twitter - I don’t follow their Twitter feed.
  5. Showcase - I never look at their showcase.

Mixing Managed and Organic Developer Community Platforms

The community tab has the real gems that will help us define what a developer community is.

These are the communities listed in order of priority by Google.

  1. GitHub issue tracker
  2. Google Groups
  3. Stack Overflow tagged [flutter] - 94,302 questions
  4. GITTER - 13,101 people
  5. Meetup
  6. twitter
  7. Medium
  8. slack
  9. YouTube
  10. reddit
  11. Discord
  12. Google Forms
  13. Hashnode - 3,300 followers, 527 posts

Top 6 Most Useful Developer Social Platforms in 2021

Of the 13 groups listed these are the groups I use in order of frequency:

  1. Reddit
  2. YouTube
  3. Medium
  4. GitHub issues
  5. Stack Overflow
  6. Discord

Reddit versus Stack Overflow

The reason I prefer Reddit over Stack Overflow is because Reddit lends itself more toward opinion. Stack Overflow is a question and answer format with a single answer. For the correct answer, I first turn to the official Flutter documentation. If I can’t find the answer, GitHub issues seems to give more recent information on problems and workarounds. Surprisingly, the answers on Stack Overflow feel a bit old and may not keep up with the latest version of a package or Flutter itself.

The opinions on Reddit are more useful to me because I tend to ask questions on strategy where there is no single correct answer. For example, I asked about architecture patterns for Flutter applications and received many great responses.

Reddit is also a great place to share deployment stories. People will often contribute, “what they did,” which may not necessarily be the best practice, but it may be more real-world and more feasible.

Benefit of Focusing on a Small Number of Developer Social Platforms

If your API or technology project is smaller, you should focus on a small number of developer social platforms. Although there is no cost to start a blog on Medium, a discussion on Discord, and a sub-reddit, spreading your community across too many platforms will make the audience diffuse and reduce the quality of community responses.

A great open source platform you can install yourself is Discourse. It is a forum that lends itself well to discussion and opinion. There are also plug-ins that make it usable as a knowledge base and documentation portal.

Example Small Developer Community

This strategy involves posting tutorials on your blog and YouTube. You then monitor Reddit and Stack Overflow to see if people need help and then direct them to the existing solution or technical material you’ve prepared in advance. For example, point them to changes to the API documentation if they’re using an old API.


There’s a lot out there. Keep calm and carry on!


Limit the scope of your community definition to increase the quality of technical responses. Ultimately, the quality of the contributions your company makes will be the biggest factor in building a successful developer community.