Good to talk to Chris Bell of WildPackets about networking again (apparently the much-maligned Token Rings are still out there - happy memories).
WildPackets' Omni platform is a universal real-time protocol analyser with a GUI interface: its founder came out of Novell, got fed up with the command line and originally developed his product on the Macintosh.
Anyway, Chris was really there to talk about his Developer Network and the WildPackets SDK - which I think has applications beyond the niche world of network management.
The SDK has always been there, but not advertised much and supporting those that did find it was a bit of a PITA. Now, however, the Developer Network (https://wpdn.wildpackets.com/ - you need to register; and have a maintenance contract for full membership) is actively supported by WildPackets technicians and provides community support.
Wildpackets is also promoting an open "user experience" quality metric - the Apdex metric (Application Performance Index) from an alliance of network management players
Which is where general developers might come in. There is increasing pressure on developers to design for mangageability and operational transparency - not to just throw an application over the wall to Ops.
OTOH, you don't really want applications developers playing with network protocols they're not used to. But the SDK and the community, in conjunction with Apdex, might help address this - designers can specify performance and user experience goals, and exception reporting of usage patterns, for specialists to code into tools using the SDK (perhaps made visible to applications users as "traffic light" proactive warnings and the like). And, there's a community in which they can talk feasibility with these same network management specialists.
Just a thought. I wonder what WildPackets thinks of having general developers in its community? Anything that reduces the gap between applications developers and operations is good in my book.