IBM will today open a software code exchange, aiming to give developers a way to share code and tap into the collective expertise of the developerWorks community.

IBM's Code Exchange will be used to help developers design applications to run on IBM's instant messaging platform Sametime, said Kathy Mandelstein, director of IBM's worldwide developer marketing and developer relations, speaking at the Developer Relations Conference in California.

Sametime features web conferencing and video sharing on its IM platform but independent developers can sample code to develop plug-ins, Mandelstein said.

"This helps people who might have a special [feature] but the functionality's not there yet there to create their own plug-in. They can share their APIs with others and get feedback," she said.

Managers of software development communities at several major technology companies, including Intel, Microsoft and Motorola are at the conference.

Motorola calls its development network Motodev and encourages its members to develop applications to run on Motorola mobile phones or set-top boxes, said Claudia Backus, director of marketing for ecosystem and software platform at Motorola.

"Developers are looking for knowledge of course, [but] they don't want just technical knowledge. They actually want us to help them go to market and be successful in selling their applications," Backus said.

Companies such as Microsoft, Nokia and IBM each have millions of independent software developers worldwide who need support, said John Andrews, chief operating officer and president of Evans Data, which hosted the conference.

"Those developers are critical to the success of all those technology companies because they are the ones who drive the innovation," Andrews said.